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Latest F1 News in brief
  • Hamilton feats not special - Piquet Jr
  • Montagny rues Ralf's Toyota struggle
  • Alonso turns heat onto McLaren chiefs
  • News briefs from Magny Cours
  • Press slams DC for Hamilton comparison
  • Red Bull build McLaren-like F1 simulator

Hamilton feats not special - Piquet Jr
(GMM) F1's rookie championship leader Lewis Hamilton is doing nothing that any good graduate from the GP2 series could not also achieve.

That is the belief of Renault test driver Nelson Piquet Jr, who was McLaren driver Hamilton's closest rival for the GP2 crown last year.

Also 22, Piquet Jr thinks his Renault colleague Heikki Kovalainen would also be shining at the wheel of Hamilton's race-winning MP4-22 -- and vice versa.

"What Hamilton is doing is good for the drivers who are coming up from GP2," Brazilian Piquet is quoted as admitting by the newspaper Globo Esporte.

He added: "But if Lewis was in the place of Kovalainen he would be doing the same job (as the Finn) -- an error here, another one there.

"He would be trying his best with a car that is not the quickest and pushing it over the limit to get better results.

"It is much, much simpler to drive a single-seater that is the fastest in the field and capable of being always first or second.

"(Nico) Rosberg is another good driver who hasn't yet had a good enough car."

Piquet insists that there is no "secret" to Hamilton's success, which has so far featured two rookie wins from pole this month.

"He is fast and the car is a lot faster than any other car," Nelsinho explained. "It also does not break down.

"If this continues to be the case, of course he can finish every race in the podium. There is no secret to it."

Montagny rues Ralf's Toyota struggle
(GMM) Test driver Franck Montagny says Toyota colleague Ralf Schumacher's problems this year have also hurt him.

The Frenchman explained at Magny Cours that because racer Schumacher is struggling with the TF107, most of the private testing miles have been assigned to Ralf.

"We only have one car, so unfortunately for me all of my planned days have been taken away," Montagny said on Thursday.

"That's the deal; when you sign the contract you know it can be like this. You hope it's not, but there is the possibility," Montagny, who spent all week at Silverstone last week despite not actually driving the F1 car, added.

Alonso turns heat onto McLaren chiefs
(GMM) Fernando Alonso expressed frustration with his McLaren chiefs after arriving at Magny Cours as rumblings about a 'civil war' within the team continue to groan.

The reigning world champion, who has finished the last two races behind his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton, rebuked managing director Martin Whitmarsh for telling reporters in Indianapolis that his pitwall swerve during the US grand prix was borne out of frustration.

Repeating his insistence that he was merely cooling his car and cleaning his overalls, Spaniard Alonso said: "That was very difficult to understand -- why he said that."

The Spanish newspaper Diario As, meanwhile, quoted him as elaborating: "That is the worst thing of all. It is a very unfortunate commentary by one of my own bosses."

The 25-year-old also flatly denied team principal and chairman Ron Dennis' recent claim that Alonso and Hamilton have agreed to not privately talk about each other to the press.

"It is not true. It is not true," Alonso insisted on the scene of the French GP, adding that he did not know why Dennis and Hamilton have openly repeated the claim.

News briefs from Magny Cours
(GMM) 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell will at Silverstone next week drive a modern BMW-Sauber on the German team's 100-metre 'Pit Lane Park' track. The action is to take place near the Beckett's corner.


BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica criticized curators of the Montreal circuit for worsening his accident during the recent Canadian grand prix. "A car should not go airborne just one meter after it leaves the track," the Pole said at Magny Cours.


Significant parts of the Magny Cours layout have been resurfaced for what will probably be the rural circuit's final French grand prix this weekend. "If the asphalt is completely new, that is always a challenge," Williams' Alex Wurz said.


F1 visitors on Thursday found conditions at Magny Cours to be unusually cool and dark. The probability of rain for Sunday is as high as 80 per cent.


Nick Heidfeld said he is completely recovered after leaving the Silverstone test last week with a twinge in his back. "I just played it safe because I knew that in two weeks' time we have a race," the BMW racer explained.


Ralf Schumacher admitted in France that he did not congratulate his former Williams teammate Juan Pablo Montoya for recently winning his first premier NASCAR race. "I don't have his phone number," the Toyota driver claimed.

Press slams DC for Hamilton comparison
(GMM) The British media has slammed compatriot David Coulthard for daring to compare his driving to that of championship leader and 2007 rookie Lewis Hamilton.

The Daily Mail denounced Red Bull racer Coulthard's claim as "outlandish" that 22-year-old Hamilton, with two career wins so far compared with David's thirteen, is only at the front of the pack because his McLaren is the best car.

"Alluding to how Hamilton's McLaren is jet-propelled compared to his Red Bull, (Coulthard) is in no mood to concede he is on the wane at the age of 36," the newspaper's formula one correspondent Jonathan McEvoy wrote from Magny Cours.

Scottish veteran Coulthard, who has scored 4 points so far this year, last won a grand prix in 2003.

He said at Magny Cours: "I am driving every bit as well as Lewis Hamilton. I just don't have the car to show it.

"I can do something remarkable. Winning here and giving Michael Schumacher the finger was remarkable because it was difficult.

"I still get those remarkable results but they are not in the public eye. I am getting more out of the equipment than it should deliver on occasions, finishing third last year in Monaco."

Red Bull build McLaren-like F1 simulator
(GMM) Red Bull Racing is building a McLaren-style state-of-the-art formula one driver simulator, according to reports.

Bild newspaper in Germany said the Milton-Keynes based team, so impressed with rookie Lewis Hamilton's form after training with the top-secret McLaren machine over the winter, is now tweaking the 3D-software for its own design.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's top F1 contact Helmut Marko is quoted as saying that the equipment, understood to have got the nod of former McLaren technical director Adrian Newey, should be operational by the end of the year.

Referring to Hamilton's McLaren 'supersimulator' training, Marko said: "He becomes so acquainted with the car on every circuit beforehand that he can slam in a quickest time on his second real lap."

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