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Indy-pendence day for Hamilton

NEWS STORY
17/06/2007

With almost two hours to go before today's United States Grand Prix gets underway, we have a strong feeling that although Lewis Hamilton is starting from pole position - just one week after claiming his maiden F1 pole at Montreal - the Englishman will not repeat his Canada feat and win here at Indianapolis.

We have this funny feeling that today's race is going to be Fernando Alonso's… and no we promise not to edit this bit out later.

The Spaniard had been quickest in every single session, and even in the dying moments of qualifying had to have it nailed, but then something went wrong, or did it? Somehow, we have the feeling is very much on top of his game this weekend.

Ron Dennis has said that there is no agreement between the drivers, and no strategy, team orders or what have you. In other words, the Mac Lads are free to race. If this is so, then our money is on the World Champion.

Then again, Dennis is no doubt still smarting from last year's race when his two drivers (Raikkonen and Montoya) eliminated one another, in what turned out to be the Colombian's final race for the team.

Although the Ferraris are lined up behind the silver cars we don't expect them to be challenging for victory, not unless something goes seriously wrong for the Woking team. Though both Massa and Raikkonen are claiming that today's race will be different, suggesting that the Maranello outfit is relying on its race pace, we are not convinced.

In fact, were we of a gambling bent our money might even be on BMW to pull a surprise. Heidfeld is confident that he could have qualified ahead of the Ferraris, while Vettel, in his maiden F1 GP weekend, is clearly a star of the future.

Having shown real improvement in Canada, Heikki Kovalainen looks to have finally found his form and should be good for further points today, as should Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella. The French team isn't in a position to challenge for wins, but desperately needs to be best of the rest behind McLaren, Ferrari and BMW.

Jarno Trulli is up there, but then again he always is. Qualifying at the right end of the grid then spending the following afternoon getting in everyone's way. No disrespect to the Italian or his team but we remain entirely unconvinced.

The Red Bulls are clearly the fastest cars in a straight line - according to the speed traps - however, they are losing heaps of time in the all-important infield section. Then there's the Milton Keynes based team's less than impressive reliability. Clearly they are getting there, with each race seeing an improvement, but it will be some time before we see them regularly mixing it with the likes of Renault and BMW, far less Ferrari and McLaren.

Williams will be disappointed with fourteenth and seventeenth, but we wouldn't be surprised to see at least one of the Grove drivers in the points later today, especially after last week's morale booster in Montreal.

For Honda it will be another afternoon of damage limitation and interviews through gritted teeth. The Brackley based team is placing great hope in this week's test at Jerez, hoping that various new components will spark a mid-season revival. The fact that the team's benchmark in Spain will be Super Aguri (all the other teams are testing at Silverstone) will either be good thing or a bad thing.

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