The popularity of Lewis Hamilton is immense. On Sunday we saw an army of fans in supporting T shirts cheering on the young British driver at an uncharacteristically overcast Monaco GP. The race is one of the most historically rich on the entire Formula 1 circuit and subsequently is a favourite with fans and drivers alike. As the McLaren team, adorned in company T shirts and other gear celebrated in the pit lane, the jubilation of Lewis Hamilton was clearly evident as he crossed the line. In what can be considered one of the most unpredictable races of the season, the dominance of Ferrari during qualifying surprisingly did not convert into a race win. But what were the major factors in a race that will be remembered as one of the greatest challenges any one of the drivers has ever had to face?
Clearly the race went wrong for Ferrari, the hoards of Ferrari fans on the grandstands soon had to cover their red T shirts when the rain began to downpour at the beginning of the race. The last minute tyre change resulted in all the competitors having to convert to the intermediate wets. For Raikkonen this was especially costly; not only did his over exuberance on the throttle result in Lewis Hamilton grasping second place as they pulled away , but due to the Finn's team not changing tyres quickly enough, he had to take a drive through penalty early in the race, practically ruining his chances.
Lewis Hamilton has always enjoyed a large amount of support in Monaco, and the large amount of McLaren T shirts in the crowd did not change this trend. Despite the support, while Hamilton looked to be consolidating second, a mistake on the entry to Tabac saw Lewis gain a puncture in lap six. This mistake however played into the Brit's hands as he was able to fuel for a one stop strategy and slot back out into the race in fifth position. Hamilton then clearly switched to another gear and focussed on a race that was in treacherous conditions. Taking advantage of the rest of the pack's two stop strategy, he was able to pass rivals Raikkonen and Alonso as they pitted in; his extended fuel load meant that he was able to stay out and snatch the lead from Massa later in the race.
It was at this point that Lewis Hamilton once again proved his mettle as a racer in a piece of driving that was described as Senna-esque. As he built a gargantuan lead over all of the other racers it was only the last safety car that posed a problem, Hamilton however easily dispatched the competition once racing was commenced. As he pulled into the winner's paddock, his first reaction was to find the group of McLaren T shirts and hug his brother, who had been watching from the grandstands. Apologising to his team for the puncture early in the race, the army of McLaren T shirts were not concerned. In a day that had tumultuous weather conditions and some fine drives from many in the field, it was Hamilton who came out on top, now sitting three points clear in the driver's championship.
As always Lewis Hamilton remembered his own team, adorned in McLaren T shirts during the post race press conference. His first thanks was for their speed in fixing his puncture in the sixth lap, he added that the strategy they developed also helped his race immensely. While this has been a great track for McLaren, commentators were still surprised to see the Ferrari front row lock out overhauled. As the procession rolls onto Canada, a race won by Hamilton last year, all eyes will be on the young Brit to see if he can once again match, and beat the Ferrari cars.
Motor sport expert Thomas Pretty like many of the fans adorned in Lewis Hamilton T shirts was jubilant to see the young Brit take the win in Monaco.