After a month away from racing, McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen may have hoped that the break would shake their junior teammates out of the impressive form shown in Bahrain. But when the season resumed in last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, it was the less-fancied (and lower paid) of the quartet who again outshone their 'franchise star' teammates.
Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa © LAT
The gulf between the teammate salaries is so great, yet the difference in their on-track performances so marginal, that the championship has almost evolved into two intra-team battles, Alonso versus Hamilton and Raikkonen against Massa.
Following another disappointing loss to his rookie McLaren partner, Alonso has stated that being beaten by Hamilton worries him less than losing to Ferrari. It could be dismissed as the two-time champion attempting to divert attention from being effectively upstaged by the 22 year old, but it nevertheless rings true.
McLaren may lead the Constructors' Championship by nine points, and they may have both their drivers atop the Drivers' Championship table. Yet they are also astute enough to know that the results so far in 2007 have flattered them.