You would have to be made of stone not to feel ever-so-slightly sympathetic with the plight in which Heikki Kovalainen seems to be grappling with in his role as Lewis Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes team-mate.

Heikki2 The last two races, Silverstone and Hockenheim, have seen Hamilton take two dazzling victories, propelling himself into the lead of the World Championship, while circumstance and a degree of misfortune ended with the genial Heikki posting no more than a couple of fifth places.

Frankly, the situation at McLaren puts me in mind of the situation which developed in the Lotus-Renault squad when Ayrton Senna arrived on the scene as running mate to Elio de Angelis in 1985.

Elio started the new season with fresh optimism after his former team-mate Nigel Mansell switched to Williams, but the pleasant Italian had reckoned without Ayrton's towering genius behind the wheel. The Brazilian swept into Lotus and immediately took command - as indeed he very nearly did three years later when he joined Alain Prost at McLaren.

In a sense, you can see much the same scenario developing this year at McLaren; Lewis currently seems to get better with every racing mile he covers and, over the Hockenheim weekend, he made a remark which was surely calculated to send a chill down the spine of every other driver on the grid.

"A lot of people ask me how I do what I do," he commented. "I say I don't know how I do what I do. I just do it."

The last time I heard a quote like that was from a bloke called Michael Schumacher.

 

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