Hamilton hits the heights

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Lewis Hamilton made history with a record-breaking run over the first three grands prix of his career. His third and two second places make him the first rookie to reach the podium in each of his first three races, and he also became the first driver ever to
lead the world championship in his debut season, albeit as part of a three-way tie.

After round three in Bahrain, the McLaren pilot was joint leader of the driver rankings, tied on 19 points with team-mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen. It stands as a unique record in the history of F1. 

Jacques Villeneuve came close to leading the points in 1996 when he led the season-opening Australian Grand Prix for much of the distance in his Williams but ultimately he lost out to team-mate Damon Hill. Villeneuve kept the points pressure on Hill for the remainder of that season but never at any stage got level.

In the first season of the championship, 1950, Alfa Romeo team-mates Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio each headed the series, so statistically they both led it in their first championship year, but only because anyone who led it would have been doing so in their first appearance, as it was  the series’ inaugural year. Neither Farina nor Fangio were actually grand prix rookies that year: Farina made his first appearance in a GP in 1936, Fangio in 1948. 

Giancarlo Baghetti famously won on his championship debut, at Reims in 1961 in a semi-works Ferrari. But this was the fourth race of the season and his victory still left him well adrift of the points leaders.

Although speculating about a Hamilton world title bid in his first year may prove premature, his points position at this stage is actually a very fair reflection of his sensational form in the first three grands prix.

French GP competition

Your chance to win a holiday at the French Grand Prix, including tickets, accommodation and ferry crossings

Motor Sport has arranged a fantastic competition to win a VIP trip to the 2007 French Grand Prix from June 29 to July 1.

Two pairs of lucky winners will receive return Channel crossings from Dover to Calais with Sea France, three nights’ accommodation in a twin room in a two-star hotel near the Magny-Cours circuit. 

The prize also includes access to the Grand Prix Music Festival at the circuit on the Saturday night, and grandstand tickets to the F1 action on both Saturday and Sunday. One person from each winning pair will also get a helicopter tour of the circuit courtesy of THS, the Grand Prix de France official helicopter transporter, making this a unique competition which any Motor Sport reader would love to win. 

For a chance to win, simply answer the following question: Who has won the French Grand Prix the most times? 

A. Alain Prost
B. Fernando Alonso
C. Michael Schumacher. 

Send your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to Motor Sport French Grand Prix Competition, 26-30 Old Church Street, Chelsea, London SW3 5BY.

The closing date for entries is Thurday June 7. Winners’ names will be drawn at random from the correct entries. Employees, or their families, of Motor Sport and the organisers of the Grand Prix de France are not authorised to participate. Tickets will be sent to the winners two weeks prior to the grand prix.

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