It’s a three-way tie at the top of the F1 championship as the season passes its halfway point.
So which of the three drivers leading the F1 title race – Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen – will be leading come the season’s end?
Or will it be Robert Kubica, currently only two points adrift? Or someone else?
I still think the smart money is on Kimi Raikkonen to be champion. The Ferrari is, on balance, the faster car, and the team don’t make strategic blunders the likes of which we saw yesterday all that often.
Over the past three races Raikkonen has been right at the front but factors not entirely under his control have conspired again him: bad tyre choices (Silverstone), faulty exhausts (Magny-Cours) and kamikaze assaults from fellow championship rivals (Montreal).
On a normal day, in normal conditions, Raikkonen is still the man to beat.
Lewis Hamilton will be on a massive confidence high after yesterday’s result. If, from this point on, he cuts out the mistakes and drives like he did on Sunday every weekend, he will be a formidable championship opponent.
But even then, the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 is not as quick as a Ferrari F2008. Oh, and the constructors’ championship is Ferrari’s to lose. Which means Felipe Massa is at least as strong a championship contender as Hamilton.
Robert Kubica has done stunningly well to stay as close to the leaders this long, and until yesterday had barely put a wheel wrong all year. And you have to think that spinning out on shallow grooved tyres in heavy rain is among the more forgivable mistakes a driver can make.
Nonetheless BMW have increasingly looked off the pace of Ferrari and McLaren since Kubica’s breakthrough win at Montreal.
So, under normal conditions, I’d expect Raikkonen to hold onto his title. But we’ve had plenty of ‘abnormal’ races in the first half of the season, so why couldn’t that happen in the second half?
After all there are two unknown tracks yet to come, plus Fuji, which the teams have little to no experience of in dry conditions…