How is it that McLaren and Ferrari are so closely matched in pace? We now realise that Hockenheim was the exception rather than the norm. McLaren and Hamilton are not going to run away with the title. That dominance must have been particular to the track and the conditions on the day. The two teams are neck and neck. This weekend, all that separated Massa and Hamilton (besides Lewis’ illness) was a couple of tenths a lap – and this can probably be accounted for by the extra fuel he carried. Hence Ron Dennis saying ‘we lost the race in qualifying’.
But remember last year McLaren were told to remove any elements on their car that may have been copied from or influenced by last year’s Ferrari design? How well was this process monitored? Despite such apparent initial divergence, the cars are extremely close on pace again. In certain conditions, or on certain tracks, one of the other will have the advantage. The difference that there is, then, which will decide the championship, and which surely we should be celebrating, is made by the driver alone. Surprisingly it is Massa, not Raikkonen, achieving this at Ferrari so far.