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Could Kovalainen actually beat Hamilton?


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Poll: Could Kovalainen actually beat Hamilton? (315 member(s) have cast votes)

  1. Heikki will indeed beat Hamilton (173 votes [54.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 54.92%

  2. Lewis will hold his position as #1 driver over Kovalainen (142 votes [45.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.08%

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#1 Piif

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:52

Since last year, Hamilton has been held up as the next bonafide superstar of F1 - after all, he kinda beat double World Champion Fernando Alonso in his rookie year. Another guy that had his rookie year last year - in a much lesser car - joins the team for this season. So far in testing (after the initial tests), Heikki has been faster than Lewis every single time. This of course is just testing and the races will tell the real difference but do you guys honestly think Heikki could beat McLarens golden boy at his home turf?

I'm beginning to think so.

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#2 bogi

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:55

Why not?

#3 former champ

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:57

possibly. Who knows? I can see them having a year long tussel for supremacy as they are both very fast young guns with a point to prove. The most exciting driver pairing IMO.

#4 Orin

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:57

If Hamilton is less comfortable with the McLaren (though I'm not sure if that's the case), then Kovalainen has a great chance to do to Hamilton exactly what he did to Alonso. However, in the last test I saw reports that Hamilton was banging in extremely consistent lap times (as opposed to earlier in the year), so I suspect whatever issues he had early on have been overcome. I rate Kovalainen very highly, I think they'll be very evenly matched over the course of the year, but I think Hamilton will have the edge.

#5 race addicted

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:22

I doubt Kovalainen is quicker than Hamilton. I think he'll establish himself being closer to a couple of tenths behind.

#6 MichaelPM

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:26

One thing is for sure, Heikki has less to lose and more to gain which is an advantage Hamilton had over Alonso last year.

#7 noikeee

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:35

Only in the occasional race. Hamilton will be quicker overall and Kova will become an unofficial #2.

#8 kismet

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:40

Yes, he could.

#9 Owen

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:47

I think it may be close but Lewis will outperform Heikki more often than the other way round over the course of a season. Makes for good viewing though!

#10 lukywill

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:51

heiki hasn´t a chance.

hamilton is the leader at mclaren: till he change to another team or till they find themselves worried with lack of results.

#11 F1Champion

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:53

Remember last season Heikki had to drastically alter his driving style. It wasn't a case of braking as late as possible and taking as much speed into a corner like he did with the Michelins. I think Australia was a prime example of this, he was driving as if he still had those tyres, in addition the car wasn't too good at that point either.

But Heikki is fast, the Renault team are sure of this and when he was testing with Renault his speed was up there with Alonso. Since Alonso and Hamilton were evenly matched I'd imagine that Heikki will do similar things. He'll have a better car in 2008 than he did in 2007 and it will be easier to drive so I'd expect good performances from him.

#12 Internet

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:57

I don't rate Kova that highly to be honest. I mean he spent 2 whole years as a test driver at Renault and when he got his chance as a race driver he barely beat Fisi. On the other hand, Hamilton who had nowhere such F1 experience was able to compete with the best straight away.

#13 Durant

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:57

On the face of last year no chance but the equation has changed now that aids have been removed. Hamilton will remain very fast but what about consistentcy and mistakes?

#14 F1Johnny

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 13:57

I think HK will run Hamilton close, very close and will beat him on quite a few occasions. Lewis will initially be too aggressive with the no TC setup and make mistakes while HK will keep it on track. By mid year Lewis may eke out a small lead, but it could go either way over the course of the season.

#15 FonzCam

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:06

I would vote for probably/maybe/equal if it was an option.

I don't think there is that much separating the two, Kovalainen has a little more overall F1 experience but Hamilton has more experience at the very sharp end. Based on their GP2 records there's not a whole lot to split Hamilton and Kovalainen (you can add Rosberg and Piquet to that group too). Kovalainen had a bit of trouble starting out in the Renault while Hamilton was fantastically confident and consistent from day one, some of this will be down to the cars in that Kovalainen was under pressure to overdrive the Renault in a way that Hamilton was not. In the same car with equal treatment I will be disappointed if Kovalainen doesn't keep within at most a tenth of Hamilton in absolute pace.

I'm expecting them to be within about 20 points of each other by the end of the season (this could be either luck or judgement), maybe a few more if towards the end of the season only one is still able to win the championship so the other takes on a supporting role.

#16 Gareth

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:09

Originally posted by MichaelPM
One thing is for sure, Heikki has less to lose and more to gain which is an advantage Hamilton had over Alonso last year.

Very true.

I think the second half of last season showed Heikki to be a quality driver. I'd expect a very close fight.

#17 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:21

I was expecting the poll options to relate to the question. They so blatantly do not I decided not to vote...

I think "yes, he could", where is this option?

#18 VoidNT

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:25

It would be fun to watch if he can.

#19 scheivlak

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:25

Originally posted by Tenmantaylor
I was expecting the poll options to relate to the question. They so blatantly do not I decided not to vote...

I think "yes, he could", where is this option?

:up: :up:

I find these stupid trash polls so, so annoying.....

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#20 man from martinlaakso

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:37

I think, that a realistic scenario would be, that HK could beat LH about 5 - 6 times in this year, but most of the time Lewis will be faster than Heikki. I respect Heikki, but Lewis has a bit more natural speed. It is true, that HK has been faster then LH in the tests, but I think, that Heikki has done a lot more very short stints with little fuel.

#21 Jacquesback

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:38

Could he? Yes.
Will he? No.
:rotfl:

#22 xman

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 14:47

I think that Heikki will struggle the first couple races, but when Heikki gets the car to his liking, I believe Lewis and Heikki will be quite equal in terms of speed. Lewis is McLaren's golden boy and has the team built around him, but I have no doubts of Heikki's natural speed and talent. This pair should be exciting to watch.

#23 Tigershark

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:19

No driver is unbeatable so obviously, yes, Heikki could beat Lewis. Hamilton has the advantage of a year extra with the team, as well as having grown up inside the McLaren family. However, despite all their flaws, McLaren seems quite able to provide their two drivers with similar performing cars - and allow them to fight it out if it isn't pointlessly putting a good result at risk (as in Monaco 2007). Heikki has certainly been fast over the winter, and might benefit from having to deal with a less polished R27 before moving on to the MP4-23, whereas Lewis had a more comfortable first year in the fantastic MP4-22. It should be another interesting team battle for Hamilton, hopefully with a lot less drama this time around. :up:

It's too bad the poll options don't offer the same balanced positions one might assume they would after reading the thread title. These options enable the old 'pick a side and never admit any wrongs' style of "discussion". :(

#24 tidytracks

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:23

Originally posted by xman
I think that Heikki will struggle the first couple races, but when Heikki gets the car to his liking, I believe Lewis and Heikki will be quite equal in terms of speed. Lewis is McLaren's golden boy and has the team built around him, but I have no doubts of Heikki's natural speed and talent. This pair should be exciting to watch.


Nail, head, hit. I will add no more other than a robust thumbs up :up:

#25 robnyc

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:24

Originally posted by paranoik0
Only in the occasional race. Hamilton will be quicker overall and Kova will become an unofficial #2.


x2

#26 nowayback

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:26

didnt reply to poll either. lewis will be the clear no 1 from the start, with all the advantages. HK would have to be quite a bit faster to even compete with lewis. to macca heikki is just a points collector. they want and need lewis to be their no 1.

#27 Hacklerf

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:28

Can he beat Lewis? Yes

Will he beat Lewis? YES

#28 Buttoneer

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:31

Originally posted by Tenmantaylor
I was expecting the poll options to relate to the question. They so blatantly do not I decided not to vote...

I think "yes, he could", where is this option?

Agree. But never waste a vote. You can fuel arguments for years to come by helping to skew the results.

#29 Ricardo F1

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 15:46

Poll is pointless but Heikki certainly has the speed to push Hamilton hard. He could well beat him.

#30 DriveFastLiveSlow

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:02

I think Heikki has a change. Last year LH was the underdog, but now he has all the pressure on him to perform. Last couple of races last year did not impress, as LH dropped the ball under pressure. A couple of good races from Heikki in the start of the season could make all the difference needed.

Heikki seems to be a genuinely nice guy and is capable to win people at Macca on his side. Also, no annoying relatives running around the garage.

Still, LH must be considered the favourite.

#31 Crashand

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:13

I give him 20% chance of beating Hamilton over season.

#32 SlateGray

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:19

Ron will not allow the golden child to be challenged by HK, if there was some way to insure all things would be equal at Mac and if Hamilton could manage to stick to the plan and not betray the team and his new teammate then ya HK would best Hamilton no problem but that will not happen.

#33 emburmak

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:20

Originally posted by Jacquesback
Could he? Yes.
Will he? No.


Have to agree! Supported him to win 2005 GP2 but the way he cracked under the Rosberg assault disspointed me. Thought he would give GF a roasting last year--didn't happen. It seems that HK has always flattered to deceive. Against LH, his will have his moments but it will more akin to MS vis RB or MH vis DC, than KR vis FM. :cool:

#34 Internet

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:22

Originally posted by SlateGray
Ron will not allow the golden child to be challenged by HK, if there was some way to insure all things would be equal at Mac and if Hamilton could manage to stick to the plan and not betray the team and his new teammate then ya HK would best Hamilton no problem but that will not happen.


At least with McLaren, HK is guaranteed equal equipment. Unlike in Renault, where Alonso will have the latest development parts on his car while Piquet is forced to run behind him in a slower older car.

#35 Fatgadget

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 16:58

Originally posted by Internet


At least with McLaren, HK is guaranteed equal equipment. Unlike in Renault, where Alonso will have the latest development parts on his car while Piquet is forced to run behind him in a slower older car.


:eek: :eek: :eek:

#36 Clatter

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 17:15

Originally posted by Tenmantaylor
I was expecting the poll options to relate to the question. They so blatantly do not I decided not to vote...

I think "yes, he could", where is this option?


Agreed. :up:

#37 Buttoneer

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 17:28

Originally posted by Internet


At least with McLaren, HK is guaranteed equal equipment. Unlike in Renault, where Alonso will have the latest development parts on his car while Piquet is forced to run behind him in a slower older car.

At the end of 2006 the development parts were conspiring to slow the car down because they were not tested properly. Being on the bleeding edge might just work against him.

At least, that's what some will be able to claim.

#38 Fausta

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 18:14

Originally posted by Piif
Since last year, Hamilton has been held up as the next bonafide superstar of F1 - after all, he kinda beat double World Champion Fernando Alonso in his rookie year. Another guy that had his rookie year last year - in a much lesser car - joins the team for this season. So far in testing (after the initial tests), Heikki has been faster than Lewis every single time. This of course is just testing and the races will tell the real difference but do you guys honestly think Heikki could beat McLarens golden boy at his home turf?

I'm beginning to think so.


Maybe sometimes Heikki will be better, but unfortunately I think Lewis will come out on top by the end of the season.

#39 Man of the race

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 18:32

Originally posted by Internet


At least with McLaren, HK is guaranteed equal equipment. Unlike in Renault, where Alonso will have the latest development parts on his car while Piquet is forced to run behind him in a slower older car.


If that happens, that is because Piquet lacks guts, not because Alonso has a better car.

As for Heikki, yes, it is possible, but Lewis is quite good. It will be a (positive) challenge for both of them. They form a good and a fair team.

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#40 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 19:41

Originally posted by SlateGray
Ron will not allow the golden child to be challenged by HK, if there was some way to insure all things would be equal at Mac and if Hamilton could manage to stick to the plan and not betray the team and his new teammate then ya HK would best Hamilton no problem but that will not happen.


I agree. If there was real parity at Mac, my money would be on Heikki.
But, you never know. I´ve a feeling that Hamilton, without the input of someone like Fred, might lose his way trying to lead the team, which could increase the pressure on him and force mistakes.

#41 p432rpp

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 20:07

I think on pace they'll be pretty close with perhaps the edge going to Hamilton. On race day I think hamilton is the more determined racer and will end up with more points by the end of season.

It was all smiles at Mclaren this time last year, don't think many would have predicted what happened during that season! I predicted Alonso would be clearly fastest for the first 1/3 of the season and Hamilton getting stronger later on, maybe having 1 or 2 races where he could run Alonso close!!

#42 Evenstar

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 20:12

Originally posted by p432rpp
I think on pace they'll be pretty close with perhaps the edge going to Hamilton. On race day I think hamilton is the more determined racer and will end up with more points by the end of season.

I concur, Heikki is pretty good but it may take him a while to win against Lewis on a normal day (no weird penalties and crazy stuff). I do believe Heikki will beat Hamilton on some occasions though, he can be just as fast but the racing instinct Lewis has is far greater.

Originally posted by p432rpp
It was all smiles at Mclaren this time last year, don't think many would have predicted what happened during that season! I predicted Alonso would be clearly fastest for the first 1/3 of the season and Hamilton getting stronger later on, maybe having 1 or 2 races where he could run Alonso close!!

I honestly still can't believe how messed up it all ended, it should have been one of the best seasons ever without any of the rubbish. Oh well.

#43 IannDC

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 06:22

Originally posted by Gareth

I think the second half of last season showed Heikki to be a quality driver. I'd expect a very close fight.


I noticed that, too. He is a fast learner and if everything is equal, it is going to be another interesting year at McLaren.

#44 LuckyStrike1

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 10:30

Maybe he could but Ron Dennis wouldn't allow it.

#45 Fatgadget

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:00

One thing that puzzles me was why Kovalainen was out of sorts during the first half of last season.Was it Flav giving him shite equipment or was it just him being shite?

#46 Big Block 8

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:38

Originally posted by Fatgadget
One thing that puzzles me was why Kovalainen was out of sorts during the first half of last season.Was it Flav giving him shite equipment or was it just him being shite?


I'd say a combination of lack of experience and the Bridgestones being out of sync with the 07 Renault. As he was a rookie, it took him longer to get on top of things, than it took from Fisi.

#47 IannDC

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 11:52

Flavio also had high expectations of him, and Hekki wanted to impress eagerly, but fumbled and stumbled at the beginning.

#48 undersquare

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 12:38

Originally posted by Fatgadget
One thing that puzzles me was why Kovalainen was out of sorts during the first half of last season.Was it Flav giving him shite equipment or was it just him being shite?


Pat Symmonds is quoted in Autosport journal this week saying that the model of the Bridgestone tyre they used in the windtunnel for the 07 car was wrong. This led to an aero error so that "we gave Heikki a car that was pretty much different at every corner he turned into". Also there was something else he didn't want to go into.

That's why Heikki was so much better later in the season as they fixed the car. Fisi he said looked better by simply not driving at the limit, to allow for the variability.

Also I suspect a year's F1 testing with limited running is not as good preparation as a year in GP2 + winter testing.

#49 race addicted

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 13:04

I'm surprised it's this even between them, but as has been mentioned the poll options was very black/white.

#50 Nobody

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 14:22

Originally posted by p432rpp
On race day I think hamilton is the more determined racer and will end up with more points by the end of season.


We haven't seen Heikki with the equpiment to challenge for the win, let alone the WDC, and although Hamilton is indeed a very tenacious racer, we have not seen Lewis fight Heikki over the same piece of road, let alone at the very front.

Heikki seems a very determined character to me. A great battle ahead I hope.