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Brundle: Did Hamilton slip cost championship?

Lewis Hamilton's off-track moment midway through the Korean GP may be the point at which his title hopes faded for good, according to former driver Martin Brundle.
Lewis Hamilton's moment at the start of lap 35 in Sunday's Korean Grand Prix could prove crucial in his bid to win the 2010 F1 world championship, according to former driver Martin Brundle.

The Briton, now a member of the BBC's broadcast team, believes that, without the error on cold tyres after the race's third and final safety car period, Hamilton would have been in position to capitalise on Sebastian Vettel's engine failure ten laps from home, and put himself even more firmly back into the title fight.

Although second place allowed the 2008 champion to close to within 21 points of new leader Fernando Alonso - having been 28 points behind Mark Webber at the start of the weekend - the Spaniard's victory in Yeongam allowed him to open out a significant advantage at the top of the standings. A Hamilton victory, with Alonso second, would have still elevated the Briton only to third in the table, but at a deficit of just seven points to the Ferrari driver's total of 224, whose lead over Webber would be a mere four points. Ironically, Vettel would also have been better off, trailing Alonso by 18 points rather than 25, while Jenson Button would have been 35 points off the lead rather than 42.

"Should Lewis Hamilton have won the Korean Grand Prix? He may well have done had he not braked a little too late into turn one at the final safety car restart and run wide," Brundle wrote in his regular column for the BBC, "That gave Fernando Alonso back the second place he had lost because of a slow pit-stop for intermediate tyres and meant the Ferrari driver, not Hamilton, took the lead when the Renault engine in Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull broke on lap 44.

"It's true that Alonso was faster than Hamilton at the end of the race, when the McLaren's tyres were more heavily worn, but, until then, Hamilton had largely matched Vettel and Alonso for pace, and McLaren had the better strategy having pitted Hamilton a lap earlier than his main rivals.

"Had Hamilton won, that would have meant a net 14-point turnaround for him against Alonso and he would have been right in the heart of the championship battle, instead of 21 points adrift as he is now. This left McLaren slightly flat despite Hamilton's strong second place."

Brundle believes that Alonso's victory may very well be the final stepping stone on the way to a third title many thought impossible after he was given back-to-back drive-thru' penalties in Valencia and at Silverstone.

"Vettel was immense, although Alonso increasingly had him covered, and, for all the laps Vettel led, the Spaniard was the class act of the day," he insisted, "Alonso stayed out of trouble, kept the car on the black bits, and nursed his long-serving intermediate tyres far better than anyone else.

"It was a champion's drive from the man who back in July, when 47 points adrift, declared he was confident he could still win the championship. This was Alonso's third victory in four races, and his sixth podium in the last seven races. He is on a major roll and will now take some stopping."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 race winner, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 2nd position and Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 3rd position
Sunday, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
McLaren MCL32 [credit: McLaren Twitter]
McLaren - Honda MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 F1 launch, [Credit: McLaren]
McLaren MCL32, McLaren-Honda, [Credit: McLaren]
Fernando Alonso - McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren Honda MCL32
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 

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Nigel K

October 26, 2010 10:39 AM

This Martin Brundle fellow should stop idolising Lewis Hamilton and cease in coming out with these idiotic remarks. No, Martin, Lewis' error did not cause him either winning the race in Korea let alone the championship. He was complaining about the performance of his car throughout the race and he was much slower than Fernando. Fernando would have overtook him with no problems. Finishing in second place, 14.9 seconds behind Fernando, was only the fault of an underperforming Felipe Massa who was driving an identical car to Fernando but with much less effect. If I remember correctly Brundle was one of the media commentators who stirred the sh1t something dreadful against Fernando in 2007, in favour of Lewis, so I am not surprised with his silly comments any longer. Shame.

James Montgomery

October 26, 2010 9:55 AM

Did Hamilton's slip cost him the title? Possibly.... Did Vettel's Engine blowing up cost him the title? Possibly..... Did Webbers Crash cost him the title? Possibly.... Did Alonso's Engine blow up in Interlagos cost him the title? Possibly...... We can ask this question all the time, but we will not know until the final result! It's all if's and buts until someone can actually win the championship, then it's time to ask the questions. (Won't that be freeky if my last question comes true??)

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