From Fuji to Shanghai

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Nearing its conclusion, the Formula One season visits Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix. Going into the penultimate race, the constructors' championship has already been decided as McLaren was disqualified from the championship after the Ferrari spying scandal. But while Ferrari has already been crowned as the champion of the 2007 season, the drivers' championship is still to be awarded. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton who narrowly avoided being disqualified for the championship along with his teammate, double world champion Fernando Alonso, is on the verge of winning the coveted title and the chance to rewrite the record books.

The Japanese Grand Prix was held at the foot of the majestic Mount Fuji amid heavy rain shower. Despite the treacherous condition, Hamilton dominated the race, setting the fastest lap time after qualifying for the pole position. Meanwhile, his teammate who was only two points behind him going into the Japanese Grand Prix retired for the first time this season. Thus, Hamilton is now leading the race for the championship with a twelve point edge over his nearest rival.

Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are also considered to be strong contenders for the championship but they are now falling behind the rookie sensation from McLaren. Hamilton now has one hand on the driver's championship. At the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix, he can clinch the title and become the first rookie to win the championship. Raikkonen though, who is 17 points behind the Briton, refuses to give up on the title chase. It is still mathematically possible for the Finn to win the championship but he has to count on Hamilton performing poorly at the Chinese and Brazilian Grands Prix. If the Briton finished fifth or better at the Chinese Grand Prix, Raikkonen will be out of the running.

Other drivers who are looking to perform well at the Chinese Grand Prix are BMW Sauber teammates Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica. Both are driving the F1.07 car with engine supplied by BMW, the same manufacturer of quality . Heidfeld described the track in Shanghai saying: "Turns one, two and three are among my favourite sections in the race calendar. You approach the first turn at high speed, go into it flat out, but then the corner increasingly tightens up and you have to shift right down to second. Making a clean exit will be even more interesting next year when we'll be driving without traction control again. Overall I'm rather fond of this circuit."

His teammate Kubica also described the track as a "nice" one. "Quite a nice track with, again, a very long straight," said the Pole Formula One driver. "Maybe there is an overtaking possibility at the end of the long back straight. This is very long, but it is not easy because before the straight there is a really quick right hand corner and it is always difficult to follow the cars very closely there."

The Chinese Grand Prix is scheduled to be held from the 5th to the 7th of this month. Teams are now in China preparing for the penultimate race of the season which might see Hamilton setting a record once again.

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