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Why Hamilton's fallen out of love with F1
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Why Hamilton's fallen out of love with F1
Posted By:   |  16 May 2009   |  7:47 am GMT  |  116 comments

You will have seen some of the interviews Lewis Hamilton did this week, on Reuters, in the Times and on the BBC.

The Times one caught my eye because it was an open expression of regret that Formula 1 has become a job and that he does not enjoy the political environment around him.

Ham grid
Hamilton has slotted into the space left vacant by Michael Schumacher in Formula 1, clearly massively talented, unloved by his fellow drivers and always seeming to find himself tangled up in controversies. Senna occupied that space before Schumacher.

The Times interview reveals the state of mind of the driver in the third season of his F1 career. He is weary of the politics, no longer enjoys the banter with the media, he is on his guard, feeling caged and also unfulfilled because his car isn’t fast enough to get him in the game.

“It doesn’t feel so good,” he said, “Getting up in the morning and knowing you can’t win that weekend no matter how hard you drive or how good a job you or the team does.

“It’s hard to take but it’s a fact and you have to deal with it. You just have to adjust your expectations and find new goals.”

In other words he now finds himself in the same position as most drivers in F1, who have no chance of winning a race, even though their career up to F1 was probably gilded with victories and championships. Hamilton described some of these drivers as ‘the monkeys at the back’ last season and that went down like a cup of cold sick. Few have any sympathy for him now.

In Spain last weekend he found out how it felt to be at the back, lapped by Jenson Button in the closing stages of the race.

“I have known Jenson since I was 10 years old, ” continues Hamilton. “He has had some tough tough years and I think I can appreciate that even more after this year exactly how he felt. I have a huge amount of respect for how he dealt with it all.”

What is happening at the moment with Hamilton is that he is having to rebuild relationships. Imagine a telephone switchboard, with loads of leads plugged in all over the place. Well Hamilton is unplugging all the leads and taking care over how he plugs them back in again. It is a root and branch reconstruction of some of the key relationships which make up the ebb and flow of his F1 life; his relationship with his team after the lying episode in Melbourne and the human damage which ensued, his relationship with the media, his relationship with his fellow drivers.

The media one is a perpetual battle. Hamilton will have hated being made to go in front of the press in Malaysia to apologise for lying. It worked well and most of the media respected him for doing it, but the trouble now is that whenever he finds himself in the middle of another controversy, there will be the inevitable, “Are you going to apologise, Lewis?”
DSC00267

Exactly the same thing happened with Schumacher. He tired of dealing with the media and always refused to give them what they wanted, when they demanded apologies for things. He was stubborn like that. I bet Lewis will be the same.

Schumacher, despite in later years growing to hate his dealings with the media, was very professional and always did what he had to do, always gave an answer. He found a coping mode, which got him through to the end of his career. He was extremely well advised by Sabine Kehm, a former F1 editor on the German equivalent of the Times.

Lewis has his Dad and the McLaren media department to help him, but no-one who’s done the Fleet Street nasty stuff and who is there to look after his interests alone. He’s lost out because of that, no question.

Lately he’s been trying the disrespectful grunt or monosyllabic answer, particularly to the Fleet Street tabloid contingent and it has got him no-where. They are a thick skinned lot, however, and he will be a big story as long as he stays in F1. I am sure Lewis will slot into ‘Schumacher media mode’ too, once he’s unplugged the leads and plugged them back in again, figuring out out who are the good guys and who are the bad.

To be reworking relationships across so many sectors at once seems to be taking a lot on. At least he has the mental space and time for that this year. He’s not under pressure for the title race. The car isn’t going to give him much this season, it will improve, but it’s one of those McLarens that doesn’t really work, so he’ll be ‘polishing a turd ‘ as racing folk have it, for the rest of the season.

Let’s hope the same cannot be said for his relationship rebuilding exercise.

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116 Comments
  1. Suzy says:

    Funny to hear Lewis saying that he doesn’t enjoy politics when in fact he is one of the most political drivers. Remember when he brought an FIA investigation to his team in Monaco 2007 or when his daddy was running to the FIA when Alonso blocked him in Hungary the same year. Especially in Monaco, that was politics played by Hamilton. But I guess he doesn’t like it when politics turns against him. Same with the media. He is a guy he seems to enjoy being in the media a lot more than most drivers. He also used the media very well too boost his image and sell himself. Now that the media is a bit critical, he suddenly doesn’t like them any more. He suddenly wants just to drive. But I am afraid he can’t have it both ways.

  2. Caron says:

    You’re being very thoughtful and sympathetic here to Lewis and you’re probably right.

    I do think he needs to get a grip and realise what he’s got, though. He’s in the top 20 racing drivers in the world, he’s had two amazing first seasons in F1, he has enormous wealth, he and his family are set up for life, and he gets to live most of the time out of the glare of the paparazzi. I’d say most young men his age would swap places with him in a second.

    Thing is he’s never really learned to lose – there’s a lot to be said for having a career path like Jenson’s.

    The more Lewis expects his career and his team to give him, the less satisfaction he’s going to get – he needs to grow up a bit and start giving back to the team and the sport that has provided him with such a good start to his career.

  3. Ian says:

    ” … an open expression of regret that Formula 1 has become a job and that he does not enjoy the political environment around him. “

    Welcome to the real world Lewis. Although I think a salary of around £10 million per annum should should soften the blow somewhat.

    “Office politics” are often part and parcel of most peoples’ working environments unfortunately and it grates somewhat listening to these handsomely paid, mollycoddled superstars harp on about it.

    Rant over.

  4. StJimmyL says:

    Lewis has started to re-earn some respect…

    James – do you think he’ll stay in F1? I think there is a chance he may leave for pastures new and ‘pure’???

  5. Jason C says:

    While I agree completely that Hamilton occupies the Schumacher space, I wonder if Schumi ever thought there would be no chance of winning.

    Lewis seems to be doing a very good job this year with a bad car, but of course it’s hard to judge when his team mate seems like he’s phoning it in.

    I’m not suggesting he wouldn’t win if he was given a clear opportunity, but what I am suggesting is his head is dropping, and that’s a dangerous thing to happen for a young wanna-be great of Hamilton’s age.

  6. benno says:

    They pay a big price to drive a fast car.

  7. MartinWR says:

    Comparing Hamilton with Schumy is a non-starter, both in terms of negatives and positives. Statistically Schumy is the greatest ever (merely statistically that is). He also revolutionised the sport through his sheer drive, commitment, intensity. Maybe not for the better, but every driver since has had to follow his lead to some extent. Excepting perhaps the (choc) Ice Man, Kimi. Hamilton is a guy who won one championship. In terms of negatives, Schumy has about three well known ones in a very long F1 career, not one in pretty much every other race in a very short one.

  8. jay Y says:

    I think all of us are too caught up in the moment of things..we are too judgemental of other people’s actions; in this case, i personally prefer to let Lewis decide how he would like to handle himself in F1..give Lewis the freedom to define the course of his career. We can always comment on his actions/decisions but we should never take the position that he should do things in a specific way. If we do that, we are robbing ourselves the pleasure of witnessing an F1 champion come into blossom. We dont want another Schumacher blueprint, nor another Senna, nor any other previous F1 champion from a past era; we want a world champion distinctly unique and different in every way possible; this in itself is a reason to rejoice for the sport that we love and care passionately about.

  9. K9 Major says:

    In F1, as in most public domains, perception is everything. Lewis seems to see himself as an Ayrton Senna heir, the rest of the world compares him most often to Michael Schumacher.

    The parallels are obvious, and overly simplistic. Schumacher was unapologetic for what others saw as his faults, used them to beat down those around him both on and off track. The other main difference between them appears to be the way in which they motivate those around them to help them acheive greatness, as I don’t recall Schumacher ever commenting post race in the way Lewis did last week- “what can I do with this car?”

    I for one hoped that this season would be the making of him, a chance to fight from the back and prove his greatness, to answer hs critics, to motivate the team in adversity. So far, it’s a complete mess. History will blame him for the departure of RD & DR, true or not, that is the perception from the outside. He has got himself emboiled in F1 politics for all the wrong reasons, pushed the rules too far and then felt the need to apologise, desperate for people to like him again.

    What separates the great is their ability to deal with all that F1 throws at them, and still come out on top. Lewis says now that he has a huge amount of respect for how JB has dealt with the tough times, and he is now coming out on top. It is unfortunate that Lewis has had to do so much growing up in public, but the end result of this will determine how history remembers him. Again, this is about perception, about which Lewis cares and Schumacher did not.

  10. adrian says:

    Hamilton still just does not get it: from the Times interview “It’s got to be a similar feeling to anyone who goes to jail but feels they shouldn’t be behind bars.” – it’s not, Lewis – you are 100% guilty.

  11. Robert McKay says:

    I’m sure the politics is easier forgotten/ignored/dealt with when the car’s good, the wins are flowing and the championships are possible, which is the real root of this complaint in my eyes.

    This is a character building year. I think these sort of comments maybe show that this is exactly the right time for such a year and remind Lewis that the wins are never guaranteed or his by right and sometimes you just work your butt off all year for 9th or whatever.

    It’s an opportunity to regain a sense of perspective and assuming he doesn’t go too crybaby about it he’ll come out of it stronger.

  12. jonas says:

    He needs to grow up … he’s not a teenager. I am sure that if the McLaren was on the pace and he was winning races he would be more than happy to tell the media that he “used to watch Senna win races that way and now I have done it too”, instead of going in a huff because he got caught lying …

    It almost embarrassing to watch.

  13. JBfan says:

    All that can be said is these times will be more good than bad for him. All the greats have had to suffer this sort of trial. It will only make him stronger.

  14. Sublimeuk says:

    Great insight as usual James and again a much more balanced view than you read in the press or on websites. I particularly like the camparison between Hamilton, Schuhi and Senna.

    It seems Hamilton can’t find any support from anywhere. The British Press have done the usual, built somebody up one year just so they can enjoy knocking them down again for the next three years! I believe he could be quite serious when he says he is considering retiring from F1.

    As an aside, I was at Barcelona last weekend, sat amongst the Spanish fans between turns six and seven and the cheers from the crowd when Alonso was introduced prior to the race was second only to the boos when Hamilton was similiarly introduced.

    Incidently, I stood and cheered when Button crossed the finish line to take an emphatic win, but nobody noticed because they were all cheering Alonso’s overtaking manoevre on a very parched Ferrari!!

  15. PaulL says:

    I think he can help himself by not thinking that everyone’s against him, because he ultimately then pits himself against everyone else – in the media at least. The media’s a story machine, if they dislike you for your racing then too bad, but if they dislike you because you make their life hard then they’ve both got a greater reason to dislike you and also they will publish stuff that portrays your personality negatively which in itself will sell more as a story.

  16. Mari says:

    It’s clear Lewis needs a PR advisor quick. I can’t understand how they could have got this so badly wrong. I just hope they are doing something about it. It’s clear Lewis will still be the story regardless if he is winning or not, so they must get a grip on this area. I don’t blame him for shutting the media out, but it’s not the answer. He should concentrate on the high end of the market like the Telegraph, Independent and a few elite F1 mags and leave the rest to themselves.

  17. Tevin says:

    Face it, he’s a prat. That isn’t obvious when he’s winning but when he’s losing it’s all he is. A prat, pure and simple. And a humourless one at that. I’ll be happy to see the back end of him.

  18. Grabyrdy says:

    It all comes back to the non-job that McL did on him in 2007, letting him believe that he was The Guy instead of putting him firmly in his place so he could listen and learn from the other side of the garage. Now he has to do what he should have done then. Either he’ll come back stronger, or he’ll fade away.

  19. David says:

    Very thoughtful analysis there, but I always believed Lewis walked into F1 a bit too naive, and therefore these relatiosnhips he has to reset are all due to how careless he was with them in his first 2 years of F1.

    The one comment that’s stuck out in my mind about Lewis is when he proclaimed that he would stay with McLaren for life, and that there was no other team worthy of his abilities. You can’t get much more naive than that!

  20. MartinWR says:

    One of the most hilarious manifestations of Hamiltonia occurred before the Spanish. I saw it at the time but didn’t twig what was going on until it was mentioned in a letter to a website later. Martin Brundell stood interviewing Hamilton’s girl friend on the grid. Hamilton senior stood opposite saying absolutely nothing, but presumably trying to ensure by his threatening presence that she said not a single word out of turn. Martin Brundell ignored him completely, and walked off without even acknowledging his presence. Sometimes actions speak louder than words…

  21. rpaco says:

    I think the absence of Uncle Ron is significant, he would have helped stabilise Lewis.

    I agree with James that Lewis is lacking professional media advice and maybe needs to see if Sabine or someone similar is available. At any rate it is obvious that the situation has outgrown his father’s capabilities and a third party outside the family and team is needed to impose a realistic view and media front.

    If he is to move on he needs to step up his PR performance, he is not getting the right input to achieve this at the moment.

    Unfortunately F1 has to do with luck, money/car and talent; Lewis is out of the first, the second has let him down and his talent is not allowed to shine, yes he needs to take a leaf from Jensen’s book and get his head down and graft and look cheerful, keep praising the team and not “diss” the car. This season is a no hope, but he is getting paid a dream salary and has lots to be happy about.

    So Lewis if you, or I suspect your brother read this, it’s time for a painful decision, if your dad is a realist wants the best for you and is not a hanger on, he will realise that he is out of his depth and make it easy for you. He will still be your dad after the split and it should be a better relationship with some of the stress removed from it.

  22. GG says:

    Hamilton’s problem is that for the last two season’s he has had a good car underneath him, and probably thought that he would have for the rest of his F1 career.

    Now he hasn’t; things aren’t so much fun.

    The politics are part & parcel of F1 and he knows that, but because things are bad he wants to distance himself from them.

    His comments don’t help he out either, the ‘the monkeys at the back’ comment will start to come back to haunt him now that he is back in the mid-field.and I pretty sure that although WC the other drives don’t have respect for him.

    He wants to remember the old saying:-”Always be nice to people on the way up; because you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”

  23. Northern Munkee says:

    He’s a young man, who landed a top drive, people forget Kimi struggled when he arrived from F Renault into Sauber, that Schumacher made mistakes when he first went to Benetton, Senna some scrapes at Toleman and Lotus, unlike them he landed a championship winning car.

    He’s had the best of everything since he got into cars, first in terms of teams, and then F1 in terms of team and car. Although privileged in that way, groomed by McLaren, that also comes with its own pressure of expectation, and he has delivered all the way.

    So now he has to learn how to lose, drive what appears to be a bad car. Time to grow up, and learn some lessons, I too think this season may make him a better driver and person.

    He’s not in jail, he’s both incredibly lucky and worked incredibly hard to get to where he has got. He needs to speak a little less, and say a lot less, in the way Schumacher did, which will make us and the media bored, being on message.

    As to chucking it in for pastures new, where else is there to go?

    Anyone who has seen him GP2 and F1 knows he is a racer, and the real deal. But nobody should pretend he is perfect.

  24. Antoine says:

    I remember Lewis saying “Alonso showed me not how to behave” not that long ago (end 2007). A political piece that produced quite alot of inertia.

    He has to accept that it works both ways and that alot of what he is experiencing now is of his own and McClarens doing..

    Driving a mediocre car well without whinging will garner him support and earn him plaudits…

    And what’s happened to Kovy btw, the guy is nowhere…..

  25. Nick says:

    I think one of the most effective things he could do is to replace his father as his manager, get someone new in or do it himself. I appreciate his father has made a lot of sacrifices and done a lot to get him there, but Lewis needs to rebrand himself and turn over a new leaf. His father should realise that his presence does nothing to help his son in the public eye.

  26. josh says:

    I’m not lewis’ number 1 fan but I do respect his skill, especially in the wet. This year’s clearly a championship write-off but surely he’s got half a chance in a very wet gp like Spa with KERS and good reliability?

    Oh and James, maybe you’ll know the answer to this question…

    Why oh why does Lewis’ dad religiously follow him around every grand prix?! He’s always there and I can’t think of any other driver in history whose had anything like that. It’s like he’s still 10 and his father’s there waiting with chocolate at the end to say well done. I think it really climaxed last season when he won in Brazil and the various TV crews were trying to get an interview with Lewis as he walked back from the car to the garage – his dad was shouting his head off and pushing away the reporters!

  27. button_sw says:

    Lewis definitely needs to grow up and take stock of what he has actually achieved in his short career. He is a 24 year old man and the 1st bad car he has probably had in his career he does not like it, well Lewis there is no guarantee of a good car in F1 and the new regulations this year have certainly shaken up the order!

    Lewis does come across as arrogant even if he tells us that he is not and his fellow drivers will not like the fact that he jumped straight into F1 with the best car on the grid so now he is struggling with a dog of a car there will be a few wry smiles up and down the pit lane.

    Politics is part of F1, FACT. If Lewis does not like it get out of the sport but stop acting like a crybaby after every race, you are a World Champion and a Multi Millionaire, it beggars belief!

  28. F1 fan says:

    Lewis doesn’t like it because he’s not winning. You can’t always win, and he was very lucky to be in the best/2nd best car for 2 seasons in a row. He loved racing and the media then, now he doesn’t. Nobody else really complains.

    “Getting up in the morning and knowing you can’t win that weekend no matter how hard you drive or how good a job you or the team does.” Well maybe he should try harder. You always have a chance of winning, nobody gives up like that. If he just got on with his job (like Kimi) but more talkative then he should get on with everyone fine.

    If he races really well (like Oz) without lying then the media will respect him again.

  29. Lebby says:

    It annoys me how much he feels like he is the victim. The media come down hard on him, but the media come down hard on everyone. Massa got a killing in Italy after the first 2 race of 2008 but he didn’t start getting depressed.

    The worst thing is that he feels let down by his team. Who’s been let down more by there team?? Hamilton or Massa????
    You never see Massa moaning or blaming his team, only looking forward.

    That’s why I’ll never rate Hamilton.

  30. Red Andy says:

    Thinking about Martin B and his grid walks again, look at the difference between Hamilton’s attitude and that of Fisichella and Sutil, who Martin interviewed on the grid before the Spanish GP.

    Hamilton seems to believe it is his god-given right to have a car he can win races and championships in, and now that he doesn’t have one he is only going through the same thing the majority of the Grand Prix grid has gone through at every race throughout history – sitting on the start line knowing that you have zero chance of winning the race.

    Fisi in particular has been around for a very long time, in cars at both ends of the field, yet he wasn’t complaining or blaming anyone that his car was so slow. In fact, every time I read or hear anything Fisi says, it sounds like he is just happy to be in F1. Same with Sutil. Maybe Lewis should learn that there is a lot more to F1 than winning.

  31. Dave says:

    If you get in bed with a hooker you have to pay the price.

  32. jed says:

    Hamilton had two years in a top car, which enhanced the perception of his talent coupled with the fact that he was overly hyped by fleet street. I believe this is the reason why he is “unloved by his fellow drivers and always seeming to find himself tangled up in controversies” but i don’t think he has proven himself enough yet to be the heir of schumacher’s place in F1. We have alonso and vettel who are contenders for that title too.

    To me the real world driver’s champion last year was massa and the constructors mclarens. In some twist of faith it went the other way around. I am not doubting lewis’ talents, it’s just that over all the quality of drivers on the grid now are a lot better than previous era, thus, more competitive. It’s such a shame that f1′s future is in limbo now.

  33. Howard Hughes says:

    I remember chatting to Jenson’s ex, Louise Griffiths, in Boujis a few years back, about Jenson. She showed me texts from him complaining about what a dog the Honda was being in testing…but even his candid texts revealed no bitterness or resentment, and the things she was saying that he was saying betrayed no nastiness or sense of entitlement to anything better at all… Thus I have massive respect for Jenson and a great deal of joy at his sudden competiteness after years in the relative wilderness, and relatively little sympathy for Lewis, who, no matter how he tries, always seems to be barely covering a simmering element of some kind of negative behavioural trait beneath his veneer of diplomacy.

    By the way – best.F1.site.ever James.

  34. Chino says:

    The media is responsible for building him up! It is just another case of dad trying to live his life through his son! He sucks he had the best car for the past 2 years and now dad dosnt like it so he is crying!! Being a true F1 champ means working your way up the ranks. He has never done that and therefore does no deserve any respect. Give me someone like Vettel who has actually earned it! F1 is dead due to absurd rules and Max!

  35. pbyrne says:

    I am not a Hamilton-fan, quite the opposite. However I have to take my hat off to the guy for his driving this year. He is wringing every last ounce from that McLaren. I predict he will be very strong in Monaco because the main deficency of the car seems to be high-speed corners and Lewis is always great there.

    However I do believe Lewis would be better served by a professional, experienced media person. Anthony Hamilton has far too much say in his son’s career – he has a history of running to the stewarts/FIA when McLaren would have let things rest – Hungary ’07 and Liegate ’09 for example. He also seems to be behind the heavy-handed and futile attempts to maintain an impossibly sqeeky clean image of his son – the laughable press conference insisting Lewis didn’t use a cuss word in 07 and the whole parlavar about his move to Switzerland.

    Lewis has a bit of growing up to do and his latest comments just show how pouty and removed from reality he remains. Although very different from Mansell there are similarities – a brilliant spectacle inside the cockpit but a pain in the arse outside of it.

  36. chris says:

    Lewis is a proper hard core racer. His current misery highlights the fact that no amount of cash or women can fulfill his desire to win races. If i was in his shoes i would be a miserable moaning SOB. [mod]

  37. Antoine says:

    There’s something about lewis, people seem to love to hate him (if I can put it this way). there’re already more comments and replies on his article than the FIA’s 1…

  38. Jonathan says:

    I almost feel sorry for Lewis as he is seriously boxed himself into a corner with no good way out.

    Suffice to say that he is a very immature 24 year old. This is likely a result of all the “grooming” from the McLaren management over the years, this becoming part of his personality: professional, confident answers.

    It’s such a shame because he is a brilliant racer, but all that grooming has given him this seemingly arrogant personality. I’m sure he doesn’t do it purposely, it’s just normal for him.
    Can you change a personality? Not overnight for sure, but perhaps over a period of years.

    As I said, he’s a VERY immature young man and it shows.
    He’ll grow up eventually, probably sooner rather than later.

  39. P King says:

    I think Lewis is not clever with words, and does not realise that anything he says can be twisted by the media in to a negative story.

    He must learn to stop repeating the same old corporate political mantra “the team did a fantastic job, the guys at the factory did a fantastic job” etc.

    I think Lewis needs to employ a professional PR man to advise him, someone very wise and clever at handling the tabloid press, although NOT someone like Max Clifford.

    At the moment, Lewis says things which are well meaning couched in McLaren’s PR speak, but when seen in print look and read quite the opposite of what he meant. He should take lessons from Button and Vettel on how to say things from the heart, look happy and cheerful, and come across as a likeable person. In other words, Lewis needs to learn presentational skills.

    As for racing, I think Lewis has performed exceptionally well on the track given the poor performance of the McLaren car. I wish him the best.

  40. Lee says:

    I’m a big Lewis fan, but I must admit he has gone down in my estimation this year.

    When it became obvious this years Mclaren was slow, the Hamilton haters said it would be good to knock him down a peg or two: I thought this could be the chance for Hamilton to gain a little more repsect from the sceptics by showing he can take the rough with the smooth and still do a great job in the car.

    I think he has driven brilliantly this year, but I simply can’t argue with the criticism about his attitude, whether you blame it on media hype, bad managment, politics, team mistakes or just him. He is still only a young man, it will be interesting to see how the next few years matures him.

  41. Beetroot says:

    Whether you love or hate Lewis Hamilton, there are two things you cannot deny about him:

    1. He is an extremely good racing driver
    2. F1 would be a far less interesting sport* without him

    (*I think the word sport almost requires inverted commas after the events of recent weeks)

  42. Malcom says:

    James, which specific race did Lewis refer to backmarkers as monkeys, or is this another example of the demonization process of Hamilton. Other popular myths regarding Hamilton include, cursing at Ron Dennis during the 2007 Monaco GP, Hamilton purchasing a $400,000 dollar personalized license plate, or a 90 foot yacht, and Lewis nearly hitting the safety car while following it during the 2008 German GP, all part of the folklore to discredit him. The only source that I can find regarding the so-called ” backmarker as monkeys ” quote is http://www.LewisHamiltonsucks.com.

  43. Carlos says:

    I think it’s for the best that Hamilton was pushed to the brink this early in his career.

    It’s what happened to Alonso in 2007, and presumably Schumacher in the ’90s (I wasn’t a fan yet, back then). Alonso hit bottom in the English-speaking world, but then a year of perceived adversity meant his detractors weren’t rooting against him because he wasn’t going to beat their favorite driver. Since he wasn’t a threat, he was able to build up respect among them.

    It’ll be the same for Hamilton. Watching him overtake people with a slower car earns our respect, and he won’t be as much of an ‘enemy’ to his fellow drivers. Hopefully he takes advantage of it to get closer to them. Joining the GPDA was a good idea.

    He does strike me as political though. Yes, I think he was influential in steering McLaren to favor him in ’07, and most probably don’t, but I point to his relationship with Max Mosley as a clearer example of his political savvy. I can believe that he might not enjoy it, but he isn’t clueless about it.

  44. Michael says:

    James, I love the drawn Monaco banner you have on top of the website

  45. Mattw says:

    It does seem like everyone is knocking Hamilton at the moment, and yes, he does badly need an independent media advisor. However, before we all jump onto the bandwagon, lets get a few things straight:

    1) Right now *I’m getting tired of the politics in F1*, so I’ll forgive Lewis if he feels the same.

    2) So he doesn’t enjoy loosing? Am I alone in thinking that is a good thing? Great drivers never enjoy loosing – that is just the way it is with intensely competitive people.

    3) The media storm over the lying scandal, while understandable has gone out of proportion.

  46. Kenny says:

    The young man can drive the wheels off a race car. With some good advice, the rest should be easy. Step back, dad, and let the pros take over.

  47. Rob Sinfield says:

    I won’t be cheeky and post the link here – but I wrote a story for our site about this Hamilton prisoner comment yesterday.

    Sure – he is having a tough time but there are millions of people worried about how to pay the next round of bills, me included, and frankly his bleating is getting a little tiresome.

    Lighten up or leave Lewis – your call…

  48. Mav says:

    There’s a hell of a lot of hate and strong dislike going on here. Of the 60 or so comments there’s only a couple of positive ones. It’s a common theme too if you look accross the various F1 forums or some of the vile comments posted on “Youtube”.

    What I don’t quite get is where (in F1 terms at least) this is all coming from. Hamilton’s “mistakes” have not hit anywhere near the heights of that of the likes of Schumacher or Senna. Even Alonso (I suspect many who have posted here are supporters of his) has done worse in terms of both “cheating” and throwing his toys out of the pram.

    Hamilton occasionally makes some less than well thought out comments and everyone with an agenda just dives on them, claws out, teeth showing. Yet very few seem to remember any of the better quotes and insight. I remember last year on on one particular forum, one guy posted a “Hamilton” quote then followed it up with “What an arrogant SOB. I can’t believe him. He needs to shut up” etc. Naturally everyone piled in saying pretty much the same, when all of a sudden it was pointed out that the quote was actually by Kimi! Of course, it was ok then. Just the Iceman being his cool self…..

    Fortunatly Lewis’ supreme talent and fantastic Gilles-esq driving style rises above all that pathetic rubbish.

  49. lwtc247 says:

    Hamilton sees F1 as a job now? Well the whimpering liar should shut up put his head down and do what he is gets millions of pounds for. If the little diddums hadn’t decided to lie his fairy-tale “hobby” could would have continued. It wasn’t an error of judgement. It was a calculated tactic.

    He’s not like Schuey or Senna in that he doesn’t seem to be able to overcome obstacles. He doesn’t seem to have their continuous hunger either. He is quite cavalier with respect to the safety of others.

    P.S. I thought you and Martin Brundle last season were great. It was a blow to see that you didn’t shift to BBC team also.

  50. Kerbs says:

    Does anyone else think that LH could do far worse than hiring Martin B as his manager? MB clearly gets the issues and articulates the way out very well when commenting on the Beeb.

    Dad, you’ve done your bit…be a big guy for your family and your boy…and let MB do a better job for all of you. Most of us on here wish this kind of change for the most supportive and sincere of reasons, not because there’s some sort of ‘anti-Lewis’ conspiracy.

  51. suresh says:

    During the Schumi years, he was hounded by the English press for faults, some of which definitely were his own and some, which were not his too !! Words like bully were used to describe him. But now we have Lewis and suddenly there seems to be a nostalgic remembrance of those years, in a much softer way now almost like parental forgiveness !!! The word arrogance is now substituted by aggressiveness !!! Is this not hypocrisy ?? James, you begin your book The Edge of Greatness on Schumi starting with the Monaco 2006 incident. I am sure a 7 time champion deserved a much better beginning in your book. Monaco was a blot without doubt, but could have been handled by you at a later stage. There were lot of other positives that you could have used to begin. So your intent was quite evident and the approach a bit insensitive. I think if you write a book on Lewis, the approach would not be the same !!!

  52. AMS says:

    I think Hamilton is just playing a little game here, something he learned from his father… It is obvious that he is looking for excuses… If else, why didn’t we see the 09 Hamilton last year?!

    And don’t take me wrong, I appreciate him as I considered him as being the most talented driver in F1 right now.

  53. Ross Dixon says:

    Mav, those are the words of someone who speaks sense.

    I am a Hamilton fan I admit and yes some of the things that have happened over his career have been bad/ wrong. However Schumacher did far worse in my opinion.

    I was never a fan of Schumacher. In fact in a sporting sense I hated him. Very much because I was a McLaren fan and he just won everything. That said he was so entertaining and his driving brilliant. However it was moments like Monaco and the parking incident that always caused me to dislike him. That was a pure example of cheating. However this is why we all watch F1. Some like Red cars, others silver ones and so on. we are all passionate about who we support and nothing gets in the way of our views.

    For me, Lewis compares very much to Christiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is one of the best footballers in the world without a doubt. However his attitude sometimes annoys me. The not tracking back and the moaning when he doesn’t get his way, the occasional soft challenge “dive”. These are characteristics similar to those of Lewis. Andy Murray and Morinho would also come into the same description. The make up of a top superstar these days is exactly that. Extremely confident (NOT ARROGANT and these guys can back up there confidence), determined and selfish. Alonso displayed these attributes at McLaren but instead of getting slated like Lewis does it was suggested that McLaren slowed him down, mainly due to Alonso stating this. Fact was he just wasnt quick enough on occasions.

    I am a Brit who has supported McLaren, a British team since David Coulthard a British driver drove for them. Now its the same with Lewis. However I can also admire the other drivers instead of slate them as I am a total fan of supreme sportsmen and “arrogance” is just part of that.

  54. donbrizio says:

    Lewis should stick with his dad, the days when fat white boys where telling black athletes how to run their lives are well and truly over.

    James cool it down your blog is turning into an anti Hamilton forum, if you don’t believe read the messages for yourself.

  55. Chaz says:

    McLaren need to take a leaf out of Brawn’s book. They should take Lewis aside and tell him to hang in there for this year, but that they are going to focus research and development on next years car especially with the additional regulation changes. Lewis should view this years car as the testing model…

  56. InnocentBystander says:

    It’s all a bit rich isn’t it? Surely you Hamilton fans can see why comments like these do him a disservice.

    I admit I’ve never been much of a fan of Hamilton’s off track demeanour. On track I have no problems with him (with the exception of Monza last season), in fact I am quite a fan of his driving style. I was particularly excited at the beginning of 07 to see how this clearly very talented rookie would shake things up in F1, especially as he was partnered with a 2 time WDC.

    Unfortunately his off track antics very quickly lost me. As an impartial (ie not Spanish or British) observer I felt neither Hamilton or Alonso came out of 07 smelling like roses. The British press didn’t do Hamilton any favours by glossing over some of the negative aspects of his behaviour, instead putting most of the blame for the issues at McLaren on Alonso. IMO Alonso went a long way towards redeeming himself last season struggling, and eventually winning, in that lump of a Renault. Hamilton would be well served shutting his mouth and doing the hard work that the rest of the field do as a matter of course.

    In short Lewis needs to grow up and eat a truck load of humble pie.

  57. Mark says:

    When Lewis entered F1 he did not enter it like Vettal and others have in the past. (JV excluded) He was not put in the number 2 slot, or given a sub par car. No he was given a potential WC car and all the support both the UK press and McL could throw at him. While Button and DC (et al) were struggling and trying to work with what they had, LH was given the chance to win a WC right from the start. He had tons of sponsors lined up and both the money and media attention were flowing in.

    Driving alongside him was the man who had had just won 2WC and beaten Shuey while doing it. Did LH try to learn something from one of the best on the grid today? No, both him and McL played this “there are no number 1 or 2 drivers on the this team” game/lie. The whole world could see where the team was leaning but the lies continued. It got so bad that both sides were asking for independent observers to make sure both drivers were in fact getting equal treatment. Who’s fault and to what extend will probably take years to work out but the fact remains.

    LH was given all the chances in the world to win the WC and he did so last year just barely. Now he doesn’t have that chance and others who were once being lapped by LH are now returning the favor. So what do we get out of LH now that things are not so rosy and perfect? Whining and complaining.

    It’s time to show the world who you are. Are you going to continue to whine and complain because you can’t always win, OR will you settle in and help develop the car into a WC potential again? The choice is yours.

  58. Osama says:

    who cares?!!
    there are so many more important things to write, read, and think about in F1 (especially with the current situation) than Hamilton!

    why giving him so much attention in the media, while, in my personal opinion, he’s not worth it, we should hear more about other drivers and what do they think about what F1 is facing at the moment.
    he gets priority over his team-mate, he gets the best sponsorships, not to mention the best car on the grid for the last two years, and now he lost his love to F1!?? what a drama queen!

  59. Breza says:

    This season clearly shows that anybody can win with the right car in the right team. All that Lewis-hype is well out of proportion, I think it’s pretty clear he’s not the next Senna, Schumi or even Damon Hill… He’s not doing himself any favors, doesn’t he? How do you Brits say it…”There’s no “I” in the word TEAM”. That’s the first lesson he has to learn. That team gave him everything: two chances for world titles, they sacked Alonso, but remember, LH is not an expert for set-up like Fernando…
    Kimi, Alonso, Kubica, Massa…all 4 favorites for the title on the beggining of the season are realistic and working hard for every point, but you can only hear LH complaining about something…[moderated]. It’s hard to be corporative puppet with no character. Suck on that and start driving Lewis…

  60. The Limit says:

    The reason for all of this hatred is because Hamilton came from nowhere, and challenged the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in 2007 when he had no right too.
    I remember the same with Jacques Villeneuve in 1996, and that infamous pass around Michael Schumacher. How often do we see a young driver, who few have heard of, take on the big boys and come up trumps? Not often is the answer!
    Yes he is egotistical. Yes he got the thick end of the stick at McLaren over Alonso and Kovalainen! Yes, not many like him! But he is one of the most exciting drivers to watch that this sport has witnessed in many years.
    We must remember, that Alain Prost was never liked by his rivals and had many enemies. He was also very political and, just as with rival Senna, was not adverse to sending another driver on a off circuit excursion. But he won four world titles, the third biggest haul in F1 history.
    Lewis is still a boy, with a awfull lot to learn in an unforgiving spotlight.

  61. Snail says:

    as I don’t recall Schumacher ever commenting post race in the way Lewis did last week- “what can I do with this car?”

    That is because Schumacher was always about the team. You’d never hear him talking about “me” or “I”, it would always be about the “team”.

    Comments such as those you highlight are disrespectful to the team (whether intentional or not). Its not something Schumacher did. He may have been a tough competitor, but very much with the team in mind.

  62. russ mckennett says:

    hate hate hate
    that’s all i read any more

    What’s the point?

    I can’t remember the last time
    I read anything positive
    about or concerning
    F1

    [ Please, can someone help me cheer up Russ - Moderator ]

  63. paul says:

    Agreed Suzy.

    I’d just like to summarise what James has said:
    Like Senna & Schumacher he is good but a [moderated]. When winning is more than everything its not about sport anymore. It could be about killing people or lying through your teeth.
    Hamilton agreed is a talented driver but he isn’t the best ever and he isn’t even the best Brit ever. He jumped into formula 1 into the best car after being bankrolled to lower formula championships. It took him 3 attempts to win an F3 title for example. I believe he has core driving ability but he just isn’t very intelligent and he isn’t a leader of a team. Schumacher and Senna were very clever people who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Could you imagine Schumacher or Senna carrying on round in China 07 with a tyre worn to the canvass because the team told them to. In certain situations the driver needs to make the decision – talking to the stewarts, tyre choices, pit stops. Think of Monza qualifying 08, Nuringburg 07 all situations where a team would expect their driver to step up to the plate not Hamilton he makes the wrong decision or sulks.
    Bring back Mansell and Hakinen entertaining and fair play. Forgot Senna and Schumacher as cheats disqualified from the sport.

  64. Steve says:

    Good guys and the bad guys….what does that mean? Are the good guys the butt kissers and the bad guys the real journalists?

  65. Tom says:

    Lewis needs a proper manager.

    It’ll be fascinating, and instructive, to compare Martin Brundle’s approach to being a racing dad in public, if his son Alex makes it all the way to the top. He’s made a promising start in the first Formula 2 tests.

  66. yos says:

    Have you noticed that Massa’s Father is always there too? And offcourse when it is about the father oF Jenson button screaming and waving his hands in the air with his armpit soaked with sweat… we can’t see them.

  67. MartinWR says:

    It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? However, somehow I can’t quite imagine Martin Brundle turning up at every race his son enters and making a prize laughing stock of himself every time. No, I think he’s got a bit too much upstairs for that, and I also doubt very much that his son is so thick that it ‘ll be necessary to chaperone him. Who knows? Wait and see.

  68. Andy says:

    A couple of other father/son combos on the present paddock comes to mind: the Piquet’s and the Rosbergs. Piquet Sr. appears to voice his opinion to his sons defense on a regular basis, while I can’t recall Keke interfering with Nico’s business, at least publicly. I don’t know if Piquet Sr. manages his son, but didn’t Keke act as Nico’s manager at least in the beginning?

  69. Rich says:

    Keke did start as Nico’s manager but stepped away from the role after a couple of years. I read an interview with him in F1 Racing where he said that after a while the father-son management relationship starts to be more beneficial to the dad than the son. Then it is time for the Dad to step back.

    If you read Joe Saward’s blog he reckons that Nelson Sr is there keeping Nelson Jr in his seat because ‘he knows where the bodies are buried’

  70. Suzy says:

    Well said.

    It’s not like he didn’t give a reason for the media to criticize him. He lied, so he is criticized for that. What did he expect? Plus other drivers too are criticized by the media, but none of them is so whiney about it as Lewis. He needs to grow up and feel a little less sorry for himself!

    Plus I think his dad would be well-advised to step down as his manager and give that role to a professional. It’s never good when emotions are mixed into the job, eg. I don’t think Anthony should have complained to Mosley about McLaren. It could have been dealt with a lot more professionally.

  71. Jonathan says:

    LOl I’m surprised you weren’t lynched

  72. David says:

    …and if we’re honest, 99% of those who go to jail believe they are innocent! Difference between Lewis and them is that he gets paid £10m and jetsets around the world in VIP circles in HIS jail!

  73. Elena says:

    And always dressing in pink and white :-)

  74. G Reynolds says:

    If Lewis’ father behaved in the revolting way Button’s dad did, sticking 4 fingers up and [moderated] the internet would be in meltdown. I wonder how Button’s dad gets away with it, and Hamilton’s dad, who is dignified, quietly spoken and decent, gets flak time and time again.

    Oh, we all know why don’t we?

  75. James Allen says:

    Don’t recall the specific race, but I remember hearing him say it.

  76. Andrew F says:

    Funny that you mention Monaco 2007. This was the race when he made the comment to Steve Ryder at ITV. I presume that you’ll accept ITV as a reputable source?

    There is a grainy, but clear link to the interview at http://shaungymcycle.blogspot.com/2007/05/monaco-gpfantastic-win-for-fanando.html

    And lets not forget his classy comment about Kimi Raikkonen at Monza last year. “We had the same amount of grip, so it was the way he drives. If you don’t have the balls to brake late in those conditions, that’s his problem. I felt there was more grip than he did, and I found it.”

    Getting some professional PR help would be the smartest thing Lewis can do. He certainly has the driving skills but he needs some help outside of the cockpit.

  77. MartinWR says:

    To be diplomatic, I think Nigel expressed himself better in the cockpit rather than out of it, but despite that he was someone you couldn’t help but have enormous respect for, unlike Hamilton I am afraid to say. He overcame unbelievable obstacles to become world champion, breaking his back twice, putting his home on the line, losing everything, and driving crap cars for years, a bit like Jense in that latter respect. He weathered some huge prangs in cars that were far less protective than today’s. So in terms of his racing career, Nigel was just about as far removed from Hamilton as it is possible to imagine.

    I just wonder whether we take into account the fact that Nigel was not the lightest of drivers when we try to compare him with guys like Prost who is tiny, and even Ayrton Sennna. In those days no-one realised just how much a driver’s weight affects the car’s performance, as much as they do today.

  78. PaulL says:

    It was Monaco 2007.

    Steve Rider said afterwards “I hope Lewis doesn’t regret his really somewhat disparaging description of the backmarkers because he needs their help today when the traffic gets busy”

  79. Stephen Singh says:

    It was in his first season of Formula 1 in 2007, referring to the problem at Monaco as being stuck behind the monkeys at the back. Not a clever thing to say in your debut season, Steve Rider and Mark Blundell both said at the time that it’s something he really shouldn’t be saying.

    Lewis seems far more groomed and disciplined than Senna was, so I’m not sure if I would quite put him in that category. I remember seeing Ayrton storm out of the drivers briefing (Ron Dennis had no control to stop him or get him to come back) because all the drivers agreed on the rule about missing the chicane and he didn’t.

    Difficult to read Lewis though. He’ll come out and say the cars terrible to drive, but the teams doing a fantastic job. He’ll say that no matter how hard he pushes and how much the team tries to develop the car, it won’t be enough to be competetive near the front – but then he makes another statement during the week saying that just a small tweak to the car could transform its pace, and is expecting good things. It’s very difficult to read him, as if he’s expressing his disappointment and frustration, but then for the sake of the teams motivation and the PR, says everythings going great and they’re all on the up.

  80. gourami says:

    I think more to the point the cars are more competitive… the top 15 regularly run within a second per lap… and Force India would love to have the problems McLaren are having now… Hamilton just has stop whining… the McLaren isn’t bad, it’s just that Brawn and Red Bull have produced vastly superior cars… maybe if he knuckles down with the team and works on catching them instead of thinking his WC is lost he’d be a lot happier at night… he’s a dill, let’s face it.

  81. Suzy says:

    Criticizing a driver’s words or actions can only be driven by hate? I don’t see much hate here, just criticism. Some come from Lewis fans who don’t seem to think their driver was perfect…

    I personally thought of Lewis when he came to F1 as a breath of fresh air and I was actually sad when he lost the 2007 title. I admit though that my views on him have changed since then as I realized he is actually pretty manipulative. But I still don’t hate him. I think he is a guy with a good heart, but he is a bit lost in his own hype. He may still change for the better or the worse. But one thing is for sure: he is NOT and never will be perfect. And I think the biggest mistake the media and his advisors have made in his first two seasons was that they tried to build up this squeaky-clean, perfect image for him, which evidently can only be fake and and artificial and when people realize that they will be massively disappointed. I see that in the British media right now.

    I agree with you that what Lewis did wasn’t that tragic. Yes, it’s wrong to lie but he hasn’t been the only driver to have ever lied or done bad things. What I can see though is that the British media can’t get over it. Perhaps it’s because of the shock of realization that their boy is not squeaky clean, he is not better than Schumacher, Senna, Alonso, or whoever they criticized so many times in the past. He is just human and not above criticism, like all other guys before him. The Brits now will have to live with that. That’s all.

  82. C.M. says:

    “What I don’t quite get is where (in F1 terms at least) this is all coming from. Hamilton’s “mistakes” have not hit anywhere near the heights of that of the likes of Schumacher or Senna. Even Alonso (I suspect many who have posted here are supporters of his) has done worse in terms of both “cheating” and throwing his toys out of the pram. ”

    I was a fan of McLaren and always both of the drivers, never cared who was racing there Mika, Kimi, D.C. Alonso, Lewis. I always cheered all of them. It was Monaco 2007, when I really started to dislike Hamilton. It was the time when all I saw on F1 sites was “Team let Alonso won” “The race was decided before the race”. Then 1st time I saw what he is all about and things ain’t gone any better since then, only worse.

    I really don’t understand what worse has Alonso done in terms of “cheating” and stuff You talk about?

    I think English and Spanish press has some roles in making them look like some sort of enemies for different sides. Anyway I’m Estonian and it doesn’t matter where you come from, let it even be North-Korea. It’s the person in the cockpit that matters. I didn’t like Schumacher for his behaviour on track and off track with his team orders and making fun of F1. I mean the guy killed the F1 as sport for me in Austria 2002. Looks like there’s no empty space, Schumacher gone, now there’s Hamilton. He may have no personality and act like a kid and use his friendship with people against others but he’s great to watch when on track, that’s the only positive I can say about him.

  83. Fern says:

    Mav, I agree with you, but I have come to the conclusion that none of it really matters. I don’t think Lewis will ever be popular, even if he went on to win 10 more championships. You see he has the life that most want and cannot have, and it should not be him, anyone but him. So whatever he says’ or does, it’s a big headline and write ups on forums all over, usually negative. If he says nothing it’s a problem, if he says something it’s a problem. So he can’t win.

    This year he is not in a championship car, you would think that would make his detractors happy, but no, they rip in to him at any opportunity. What makes it sweet, is that when he makes his comeback ( not this year the car is not up to it), it will crack up his detractors and the press will go mad for him again, which again will infuriate the haters.

    His father is criticized beyond belief, and for what, a devoted, loving father that supported his son to the very pinnacle of motor sport. Many would love such a parent.

    Many want both father and son, gone from F1, but unfortunately for them both are here to stay.

  84. DC says:

    Well said Mav.

    Sure he’s driving a car that isn’t very good, but he’s driving it well, and he is one of the top 3 drivers on the grid, along with Vettel and Alonso (IMHO, of course!)

    My personal feeling is that he is a great guy once you know him, I think he talks before he has thought things through but actually doesn’t mean anything by the comments, he is not purposfully trying to cause offence.

    Both Martin Brundle (see last BBC F1 forum) and James Allen seem to be giving him the benefit of the doubt, is that because they have more access to the real him? Have more experience than us in dealing with him and are able to talk to him in person? Basically they know him better than we ever will reading media reports and watching interviews.

    I think we should give the kid the benefit of the doubt too and just let him race.

    James, I know you’re being a good journalist and not simply printing your opinion but being objective and reporting the facts, which of course is why we read your reports! But what do you really think of Lewis Hamilton? Out of all the talk on here, you will know him better than all of us. Or is it bad form to ask you for your opinion?

  85. Andy says:

    Mav said: “I remember last year on on one particular forum, one guy posted a “Hamilton” quote then followed it up with “What an arrogant SOB. I can’t believe him. He needs to shut up” etc. Naturally everyone piled in saying pretty much the same, when all of a sudden it was pointed out that the quote was actually by Kimi! Of course, it was ok then. Just the Iceman being his cool self…..”

    Could you be a bit more specific? Kimi is not really known for controversial comments, so would be nice to know what this was in relation to. Perhaps a link to the said forum and discussion?

  86. Mutt & Jeff says:

    Mav I couldn’t agree more!

    When Lewis starts crashing in to his main competitors to win a championship I’ll lose my respect for him.

    But to hear ‘often misquoted or out of context’ comments which purely show that he’s a very competitive individual, will do nothing to diminish his amazing racing in my eyes.

    I think this year will be good not only to let Lewis sample a bit of rough with his smooth, but also to stuff a sock in his many enemies mouths with his supreme driving!

  87. K9 Major says:

    On the contrary, I think JA’s article above is balanced and perhaps sympathetic towards Lewis, and has been responded to in a fairly measured way on the whole. What the posts reflect is that many people feel let down by him, ardent fans and critics alike. Unfortunately, his driving is only a part of his public persona. As I said in my earlier post, I really wanted to grow to like him this season, and I feel let down, disappointed that he’s got himself embroiled so deeply in the BS of F1 and still thinks he can “drive” his way out of it. I have never been a fan, but I sincerely hope he finds a way through this because it’s painful to watch at the moment.

  88. pbyrne says:

    I’m afraid that there’s just very little to like about his personality. I respect his driving and the arrogance is partly immaturity – hopefully he’ll become more rounded with advancing years.

    To use an Irish expression though he just comes across as a bit of a sleeveen – sly and two-faced. Senna, Schumi and maybe Alonso had/have their faults but none tried so hard to play the goody-goody whilst sticking the knife into competitors, team-mates and team-members behind closed doors. And Hamilton complaining about politics is a bit rich seeing as his dad reportedly joined forces with Max against Ron Dennis and went behind the teams back in ’07 against Alonso.

    No. No matter how hard I try to be open-minded I’m afraid to say I just can’t stand the guy…

  89. G Reynolds says:

    Yes, I remember that – it was on Planet-F1. The hatred of Lewis is so disgusting and unjustified, and he is judged very differently from other drivers, I put it down to racism. (Yes, the squeaks of denial will be heard from here to Timbuktoo.)

    No other driver’s every word is ripped apart and analysed and repeated and condemned like Lewis’. Other drivers’ family members are either not commented on or warmly mentioned. Anthony happens to be the only black one, and he is relatively low key, especially this year, and yet the comments about him amount to that people loathe looking at him. What a disgrace and this is basically people just hating to see a black man in an F1 garage. They can squawk and put it down to all the other reasons, but that is basically it.

  90. travelrat says:

    Agee entirely … it’s a bit like joining the Army and being made a General straight off.

    Even Schumi started at Jordan, although, admittedly he didn’t stay there long.

  91. Tevin says:

    Sorry Beetroot, but I beg to differ. To people outside the UK, the loss of Hamilton from the sport would mean next to nothing. Yes, he’s news in the UK but the rest of the world couldn’t give a monkeys. He will never be a Schumi, Tiger or Bolt in a global sense.

    1.) Yes, he’s a good driver, but not that good without the right car.

    2.) The sport would forget him in a flash. Why? Because he is personality free. Compared to a Vettel, a Button or even a Webber he has minimal charisma. And with the blow torch applied this year he has shown us his true colours. He wilts and cheats and whines under pressure…never a good look but one that will assure his place as a minor footnote in racing history.

  92. Grabyrdy says:

    Uncle Ron is the last thing Lewis needs, judging how he was handled in 2007.

  93. robatclaxby says:

    Teven, it would be easy for you to see the back of him, get in a racing car on the same track as him, and that’s all YOU would be able to see would be his BACK END. Grow up.!

  94. Nick Robertson says:

    What about the whole Brawn GP story? It’s been a story of Underdogs acheiving great things, and how good minds can beat the corporate teams!

    (Was tempted to say ‘brains beat brawn’, but decided against it!)

  95. Ruben says:

    Having a girlfriend (Nicole) from a pop band (if that’s what you call it) doesn’t exactly help turn the media spectre down either…

    Wonder if now he’s at the back if she’ll stick around?

  96. Ruben says:

    When I see Lewis, I don’t think of Alonso, Senna or Schumacher. I think of Jacques Villenuve (great car first two years… makes him look great.. then not so great car and ALOT of complaining and a steady decline)

    Interestingly, Jacques also had a great team in Indycar where he won prior to F1. Lewis had recent championship teams in both GP2 and Euro F3 prior to his wins there also.

    When I look at what Schumacher and Co did to pull Ferrari up from years of nothing and now without them they are reverting to their old ways… Says something about Schumacher.

    Time will tell if Lewis can do that but right now I’d liken him to Jacques Part II.

  97. Rich says:

    Dismissing a comparison between drivers by comparing statistics is a complete non-starter, expecially those of one at the beginning of his career with those of one at the end of his. Hamilton could go on to beat Schumacher’s records.

    I feel that you are being a little obtuse here Martin. Schumacher had a very controversial season in 1994 with more than just the one monumental controversy [winning the world championship by cheating] that we all remember him for. We remember all of Hamilton’s controversies (for my mind about 5-6 real ones) as we live in a far more media hyperactive age, and because they happened in the last 2 years!

    The one thing Schumacher would never have said is:

    “haha what can I do … I’m driving my heart out but that car is just not good enough”

    Sometimes Hamilton comes off as a real tool in interviews because it is too easy to tell when he is telling you what he really thinks and when he is spitting some PR baloney. I don’t remember any comments like these from Alonso last year when he was struggling in the Renault (I don’t know what he said to the Spanish Press though)

  98. Patrice Ici says:

    “(choc) Ice Man Kimi” – love it, let’s hope it becomes official.

  99. Rich says:

    He also has the Ron-like ability to put his foot in his mouth in press interviews. I especially liked the one in Spain last weekend.

    “I need to … remain humble, just try to continue to do a good job and I hope that over the course of time people will get to know … that I am a good person”

    Can’t you just smell that humble pie?

  100. rich says:

    Agree with you there Martin. In fact the bit about Mansell putting his house on the line made me think. It is actually Anthony Hamilton that has made all the sacrifices for Lewis isn’t it.

    Seems to be a groundswell of opinion here for Anthony to step back. I think we need to turn up the heat and make an online petition….

  101. MartinWR says:

    Rich, I get the drift. It’s like plasticman’s made this investment, it’s paying off and he’s determined to wring every last ounce of payback out of it, come what may. He’s up there with the big players, attending races, lapping up the glamour, and he’s getting guys like RD thrown out of their jobs, a man who spent decades building up one of the biggest, richest, and most successful F1 operations ever. He’s going to stick like the proverbial. I don’t think junior will ever shake him off somehow.

    I just had a thought: Jelena Djokic’s dad! Wow, I wonder if it’ll end like that?

  102. gourami says:

    I’m not sure anyone mentioned race until your post.

    And stage Dads, Mums, Uncles… they’re all trouble in the long run… I would be terrible with my daughter or son.

    The guy looks like he wants everything his way, all the time. And complains about it not being so. He’s being a prat at the moment. He believes in the slick is best McLaren ethos. But it’s what’s in the heart that counts: he was caught telling a lie. To the stewards. He has a car that’s not a front runner. At the moment.

    And to top it all off, his Dad is annoying. Just like Jenson’s.

    Let’s see him get a podium in Monaco and promise to do better for the fans, then for the team and lastly for himself, at the post race conference, then he’ll be a hero again.

  103. G Reynolds says:

    Totally agree. I doubt Hamilton would trust anyone else – look at the way the lovely British public treat him. And I can just see the next comment bleating about how you must dare not mention the “r” word.

    If you sit in the F1 stands, and that is in the UK as well as Spain, you will hear racist slurs aimed at Lewis. So why shouldn’t racism be mentioned? If racism is aimed at Lewis, why shouldn’t it be mentioned as a reason for all this hatred towards him?

  104. LHFan says:

    Agree totaly with Ross & Mav ,

    Yes Lewis sometimes opens his mouth before engaging his brain but that doesn’t make him a bad person and I for one believe that he will learn and improve that apparent flaw in his character.

    Having your every word disceted and twisted by the media must be tough on anyone and no other driver has had to deal with that as much as Lewis has.

    Also the double standard displayed by the so called F1 Fans is unbelievable …. I don’t hear the same people complaining about Anthony being on TV last year doing the same thing about John Button and his OTT celebrations.

    I doubt if any of the posters here know any of these driver personally and so there is no way we know what their personality is like …. and i don’t believe all the BS in the media trying to potray hims as arrogant…..I call it supreme confidence & belief in his abilities

    We can only judge these driver by what they do on the track & Lewis has proved that he is a great champion and has made the last 2 seasons in F1 very exiciting to watch and doing an excellent job so far this year.

    Hang in there Lewis ….. “this too shall pass”

  105. LHFan says:

    “Hamilton would be well served shutting his mouth and doing the hard work that the rest of the field do as a matter of course.

    In short Lewis needs to grow up and eat a truck load of humble pie”.

    He was asked a question and replied surely there is no harm in that. He also goes on in that interview to say that he has nothing to complain about as he has had some truly blessed experiences in F1 so far……..But as a neutral you choose to ignore that.

    Quite a few driver have talked about not having a quick car this year Alonso, Massa, Kimi to name a few… do you tell them to shut up as well?

  106. MartinWR says:

    I must admit there’s one area in which Hamilton comfortably excels just about any other F1 driver I can think of. It’s mouth. There seems to be a constant flow which never abates. Not infrequently what comes out one day contradicts what came out the day before. However that never seems to worry British journos a lot. No wonder they seem to love him so much. It must be a boon when you’re desperately racking your brains for something to write about. Hamilton’s the man you can always rely on when you’re at a loss for words. He’s got em. It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it?

  107. MartinWR says:

    Aren’t they all hard-core racers? Aren’t they all unhappy when they didn’t win? All 95% of them (although most of them don’t go round whining about it). Don’t they all drive they’re heart out, even when they’re at the back of the field? Aren’t they all great drivers by one criteria or other? Even the guys at the back of the grid may well be champs in other formulas. I just fail to see how Hamilton is markedly different from any of the others. Except that the others don’t find it necessary to keep telling us all those things over and over again. They’re obvious.

  108. John says:

    I cannot believe your comments about Hamilton. “He’s a’good’ driver, but not that good with the right car?” Hes beaten his team mates in the same car all three seasons he’s been in the sport. He’s WELL outperforming his team mate this year, and he is for sure the greatest racer on the grid along with Alonso.

    “The sport would forget him in a flash?” This is even more ridiculous than your first statement. He’s the youngest ever Drivers Champion in history. He’s one of the most exciting drivers out there, and has the attitude of a champion. Vettell, Button and Webber, are the nice guys of formula One, so I see why you like these guys, but how many titles have they won, have they been signed up by the big teams? No, becuase they don’t have the making of a champion.
    Lewis Hamilton – people love him, or hate him (World Champion)
    Fernando Alonso – people love him or hate him (World Champion)
    Michael Schumacher – people love him or hate (World Champion)

    These people are made of different stuff and are exciting to watch.. which is why this years championship has been the most boring so far (because these kind of guys arent fighting for the wins).

    I can’t stand these people who run Hamilton down, saying he should do this, he should be like that. The fact is he should do whatever HE wants to do, because its that that has taken him all the way to being a Formula 1 champion, and has brought a massive new interest to the sport.

  109. pSynrg says:

    Well said Mav. I also get the feeling that James Allen is courting a crowd.
    Maybe James also feels a little embarrassed from all the ‘Lewis Loving’ accusations he (unfairly) received in previous two seasons, fawning over Lewis while the weather was fair indeed.

  110. James Allen says:

    Now we are thinking clearly. Good work.

  111. James Allen says:

    Osama, we give plenty of coverage to many drivers here, but Hamilton is the world champion and he’s going through a personal crisis and many people are interested in that, hence the 100+ comments on this story

  112. Lucy says:

    Let’s just forget how great Lewis is doing in a bad car then. Steady decline? what a load of rubbish.

  113. Ruben says:

    Yeah Lewis 7th in the points. That’s pretty great. I revise my comments about a steady decline. He’s awesome and a great team player. I guess if it’s a negative opinion about Lewis it’s “rubbish”

    Alonso is tied for 7th in a potentially even worse car so who’s doing better?

  114. rpaco says:

    2007 Wasn’t that the year that his team mate sabotaged his chances, blackmailed the team and got them thrown out of the championship?

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