McLarenTAG HeuerMcLaren
Posted on July 20, 2012
Darren Heath

Lewis Hamilton will start his 100th Grand Prix on Sunday, but as he revealed in media briefings on the eve of practice, he has mixed feelings about his lack of success in the last few years. Nevertheless, his former team mate Fernando Alonso, who has described himself as being in the form of his life, gave the Englishman a thumbs up, saying that he is the driver he considers his greatest rival.

“Why do I talk about Hamilton when McLaren has been in crisis for a few races?” said the Spaniard, “Because he always manages to get something extra from the car, even when he looks like he’s in trouble. And then McLaren is always a team that, even when they take a step backwards, can always take two steps forward.”

Hamilton has 18 wins on the board in his 99 races to date, of which 50% came in the first two seasons when he battled Alonso in 2007 and then won the title the year after. In the four seasons that have followed the wins have come in fits and starts as Red Bull moved into a dominant position in the sport.

It would have been hard to believe, back in 2007/8 that one would talk about Hamilton’s career not fulfilling its potential, but that is the risk he runs as he reaches both a milestone and a crossroads.

Asked in Hockenheim on Thursday whether he could have achieved more since those first two seasons, the 27 year old said. “Yes. I can’t deny it, putting aside the fact that I’m very proud and grateful that I’ve had the chance to be competitive in a competitive car.

“But if I didn’t feel that, I wouldn’t be the driver that I am.”

“Every year, I feel like I’ve prepared myself and had the mental ability and skill to have won more but, just with the circumstances, we haven’t been able to do so. It’s been a tough 10 or 15 years for this team.

“I’m waiting for that time when they have their highest point. I hope at some stage it’s our turn.”

When Alonso signed for McLaren in late 2005 for a 2007 move he did so reasoning that the team is “always there or thereabouts”.

Hamilton’s last four seasons have seen him finish fifth twice and fourth also twice in the drivers’ standings.

He races on Sunday in his 100th Grand Prix at a career crossroads; respected by his peers as one of he most talented among them, but with the path forward for the next six years of his career not clear.

If Sebastian Vettel does move away from Red Bull he is the obvious man to replace him, but that situation is so clouded in mystery, it’s hard to know what may or may not be the outcome.

A renewal of his McLaren contract seems likely, but perhaps with performance clauses should he find that team is not able to rediscover those peaks.

Hamilton regrets lack of success but gets vote of confidence from Alonso
106 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Paul
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 6:41 am 

    To be fair Lewis should have won in 2010 if he hadn’t been so rash at monza on the opening lap so the car was ok then. Last year was mainly his issues with massa that resulted in him finishing lower in the table although he and maclaren had no answer to vettell.

    Let’s hope he can get a win this weekend and pull himself back into contention – if he’s out of the running before the break hes got a tough decision to make. He might stay if there is a structural reorganization of the team (designers, strategists, whitmarsh) as I feel maclaren are not the same since Ron stood down – the air of professionalism is missing in the races somehow…..

    [Reply]

    goferet Reply:

    @ Paul

    To be fair Lewis should have won in 2010 if he hadn’t been so rash at monza on the opening lap so the car was ok then.
    ————————————————–

    No sir, you’re not being fair.

    No body really had a chance in 2010 for that Red Bull car was in a league of it’s own, what happened is it’s reliability gave the illusion that the season was close & incidentally when Red Bull got on top of their woes towards the end of the season and we begun seeing pole – flag victories = No chance for the rest.

    Also if you recall, the Silverstone upgrades Mclaren were so looking forward to ended up being an illusion & thus you had Ferrari jumping the team pace-wise.

    Meanwhile, ironically the driver who is never credited for losing the title in 2010 is none other than Fernando Alonso for if one cancels out his mistakes in the first half of the season, he would have won the title much earlier.

    Regards 2011, I wouldn’t exactly put all the blame on Lewis for the team has a case to answer too for it was their mistakes in qualifying that always put Lewis in Massa’s vicinity

    Also as we now know Massa is pretty unreasonable when it comes to overtaking him.

    [Reply]

    David Ryan Reply:

    “Also as we now know Massa is pretty unreasonable when it comes to overtaking him.”

    I think most people would be “unreasonable” when such attempts are more befitting of Mario Kart than Formula 1…

    Agree that Alonso is a more valid contender for “close but no cigar” in 2010, though, although you could just as easily argue that but for Red Bull’s reliability problems and generally poor man-management (Turkey…) they would have sewn up the title much earlier as well. Bear in mind as well that before Monza Alonso was only 5th in the standings, so if anything his late-season surge in form flatters the rest of his season.

    [Reply]

    Quattro_T Reply:

    “Also as we now know Massa is pretty unreasonable when it comes to overtaking him.”

    To be fair to Massa – you cannot just ignore that Massa is far from the only driver Hamilton has had “trouble” (read crash) passing. Webber (a couple of times), Button, Maldonado, Kobayashi… I guess unless you open the door wide open when an hyper-aggressive driver is approaching, you are “unreasonable”.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Shoot me!!!
    I agree completely…

    [Reply]

    Richard Mee Reply:

    Has Ron actually stepped down though? I’d argue not – I’d argue he either hasn’t felt able to step back, caused by insecurity around performance, or personally been able to step out of the F1 team he considers his own as much as he said he would in 2009.

    He probably still doesn’t agree with the circumstances that led to that decision.

    Whatever. As an outside observer I’d question whether Martin, bright but not the most assertive cookie, has ever really had a chance to properly lead the team ‘his way’.

    If this is the case, I don’t see how such a situation could possibly benefit the overall team performance.

    There are some majorly interesting dynamics going on in McLaren and I’d love to be on the inside…

    [Reply]

    Charles Reply:

    I think (on my humble but honest opinion) that the main issue at McLaren is that they are dealing with 2 world champions… with 2 very different racing styles… so when it comes to prioritize car development it is harder than Ferrari or RedBull for example.

    At Ferrari we all know that Alonso is Number 1 so all developement is gear towards his style, with (of course) some tweaks for Massa… same can be said of RedBull and Vettel… I mean we all know that Webber’s demands are down the list of order… just remember last year when a new front wing was taken out of Webber car because Vettel broke his.

    Looking at the points standings, Mclaren should start to prioritize who they want to accomodate the most… do they want to prioritize Hamilton and give him want he wants? or do they still support 2 car development programs for both Hamilton and Button?

    at the end of the day, it is all about resources, if you double that effort towards 1 only driver then you get results… otherwise I am afraid they will continue so so during the rest of the season.

    [Reply]

    wrong! Reply:

    Vettel didn’t break his wing, the thing fell apart on his out lap!

    Red Bull do not favour Vettel so please stop spinning lies when McLaren themselves also give the same support to Button as to Lewis!

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    Webber thinks of himself as a “No.2 driver” and he’s inside the team. Anyways, perception is reality.

    Kay Reply:

    Fine, they fell apart, Webber’s wing still went to Seb’s car.

    If that is not favouritism then maybe we can use other words and phrases, like… “not bad for a no.2 driver” for Webber.

    Liam Reply:

    I think Lewis could have won 2011 as well… It would’ve been tight but the McLaren won 6 races and Button’s run of podiums in the second half of the season was impressive. If Hamilton had got his own results plus won the ones Jenson got things would’ve been different.

    In other words, if he’d dominated his team mate like Vettel did then he could’ve been right there with Vettel at the end.

    [Reply]

    mr sneff Reply:

    Yeah, if……

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    You’re still talking 11 wins vs 6. Vettel still wins clearly. If you’re going to these lengths, then you might as well say that anybody on the grid could win this year IF things go perfectly for them, etc.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: goferet
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 7:10 am 

    Meanwhile, I have always been of the belief that drivers can’t achieve their maximum potential while driving for a team of the same nationality (the most successful being Jim Clark at Lotus with only 2 titles to his name).

    I mean just look at Schumi at Mercedes or the former Italian drivers at Ferrari, it’s like a jinx.

    So it is imperative that Lewis does look for the exist door out of Mclaren before it’s too late though Webber didn’t help matters by extending his Red Bull contract.

    For with his current form, Webber will stay there much longer, hell even if he got a slump in form like 2011, the team would still back him.

    Also Vettel doesn’t look like he will be leaving Red Bull anytime soon, we may even have a situation where Vettel decides to call it a day the same year, Newey reveals he’s getting rid of his notebooks.

    So Lewis might as well forget that Red Bull drive as things stand.

    If I were in Lewis’ shoes, I would sign a contract with Mercedes for not only is Ross Brawn there but I would also be forming my own legacy at a team by raising it up from the ashes just like what Schumi did at Ferrari or Vettel did at Red Bull.

    Lotus/Renault wouldn’t be a good fit because Alonso already made his name there so Lotus/Renault will always Alonso’s team.

    And that’s why I think Alonso may not be a success (statistically) at Ferrari behind Schumi had already made his legacy there ~ and not so long ago!

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Except the red bull and mercedes teams are the same nationality as Lewis. They may be owned by non uk companies but they are based, run and almost entirely populated with British staff.

    I don’t think Lewis possesses that team leader personality. He is not a Schumacher or Alonso. He’s a mightily talented quiet man who admits he doesn’t have that outgoing charisma. If anything Button does but lacks the raw speed of Hamilton. Lewis is not capable of building a team really. That’s no affront to his skill it’s simply a psychological assessment that even mclaren seem to agree with.

    [Reply]

    goferet Reply:

    @ AuraF1

    They may be owned by non uk companies
    ————————————————–

    Exactly!!!!!!!!!

    ”owned” being the operative word here, right?

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Well then mclaren is half Bahraini, half german owned! If that’s the operative sense you want?

    Ben Reply:

    Didn’t Jackie Stewart get 3 with British teams? Ascari dominated with Italian teams (see the piece on BBC F1 website)…

    Surely this comment is more of an indictment of British drivers inability to fulfil their potential, given that so many teams are British (even if not by registration)… (Although I doubt Alonso would dominate in an HRT).

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Matra Int’l was located in UK, but using all French chassis, etc. Basically like Renault used to be … French company, but registered as British where F1 was concerned.

    Farina also won with an Alfa Romeo.

    As for British drivers, there’s been 10 DWC’s with 14 total championships. The next closest countries are Brazil and Finland with 3 DWC’s each, or Germany with 9 total championships from 2 DWC’s (Schumi and Vettel).

    http://bit.ly/mUpBv9

    Looking at that list, if any country has underperformed as far as driving talent is concerned, it’s clearly Italy.

    It’s true that of those 10 British DWC’s, there’s only three multiple DWC’s (Stewart, Clark, G Hill). Mansell clearly could’ve and should’ve been a multiple DWC winner, he finished the year with most wins 3x (making him a Bernie’s-rules 3x DWC). But as Fernando said, count yourself lucky to score even one, as many drivers never get the chance (i.e. a car capable of a championship) in their careers.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    And lastly, you doubt FA would dominate in an HRT? I know you said this throwaway style, but of course he wouldn’t, and couldn’t. He’s not dominating now in a Ferrari. He’s doing a very, very good job this year. He’s been the best driver so far this year, clearly. But as I’ve said before, the driver in F1 these days isn’t the overriding factor. It’s the car, period. A good driver will put the second fastest car in 3rd or 4th spot on average over the season. A great driver can win with that car, and win the DWC. I think there are only three drivers in this category in F1 at the moment, being FA, LH, and SV.

    HRT are crap. Great drivers can’t turn crap into gold. They can turn silver into gold, but not crap.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    For sure Lewis achieved quite a lot at McLaren
    2007 – matched the best driver – Alonso
    2008 – won the WDC.

    [Reply]

    goferet Reply:

    Yeah but someone of Lewis’ calibre is way more ambitious so two good seasons can never satisfy him.

    And oh, I believe our Lewis had the best driver on the grid beaten in 2007 ~ If only it wasn’t for that gearbox failure at Interlagos, would have been a totally different ending.

    [Reply]

    Quattro_T Reply:

    “And oh, I believe our Lewis had the best driver on the grid beaten in 2007 ~ If only it wasn’t for that gearbox failure at Interlagos, would have been a totally different ending.”

    As often with “your” Lewis there is always an “if” somewere…

    The statement that he beat Alonso in 2007 is wrong – for several reasons.

    Hint 1: For 2nd part of 2007 everyone knew (including Mclaren management) Alonso was not going to be a Mclaren driver in 2008.
    Hint 2: Alonso has been beating him for three straight years now – in a slower (2010) to much slower (2011-2012) car.

    fullthrottle Reply:

    Saying Lewis has beaten Alonso is really a desperate argument.

    KRB Reply:

    Yet factual. As Webber said just recently, “the table doesn’t lie”. LH beat FA on countback in 2007, simple as that. As a rookie, even as a much-vaunted rookie, LH should not have been within 20 pts of Alonso in that season.

    I don’t get why it’s so hard for anyone to admit that LH’s rookie year was truly amazing, something we aren’t likely to see ever again from any other rookie. I’d love to know the stats on how rookies have fared (% of teammates points) against established teammates. I’m sure it wouldn’t be pretty.

    JR Reply:

    So Vettel did raise Red Full from his ashes? Don’t make me laugh…

    [Reply]

    MISTER Reply:

    Let’s be clear here. If it was depending on Alonso’s driving skills, Ferrari should’ve won 2010 WDC and this year by now.
    Just because possibly Ferrari and Alonso together will not win 7 WDC doesn’t mean that Alonso is at fault.

    [Reply]

    Justin Bieber Reply:

    and lets not forget that 2002/2004 was a gifted to schumacher. When you win the WDC in august, its fair to says you were basically racing againt yourself, a bit like Vettle 2011.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    The reply to Paul, above, was beyond reproach, then we get the real goferet apply his wisdom here.
    Talk about poles apart!!!

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Panayiotis
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 8:13 am 

    With so many exceptionally talented drivers on the grid and with only one being able to be crowned champion each year, it is natural that some of these drivers, if not all, will have won less than their calibre dictates.

    The only current driver that I personally feel has achieved something equivalent to his talent is Schumacher, and he was driving in another era.

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Lewis is a WDC which in this era of multiple drivers fighting at the top end, not just one or two, is a great achievement.

    I’ve never been fond of this statement that people have ‘underperformed’ their talent by not being a multiple champion. These things are not handed over on a plate. It may be daunting to a driver not to have the same dominance as Schumacher but surely the satisfaction of becoming a WDC even once in the modern era is more than some of schumachers relatively easy wins?

    [Reply]

    John Z Reply:

    None of the drivers on the grid would devalue Schumacher’s WDCs. Hamilton knows how hard it is to win one, let alone 7 and 5 in a row. Alonso saw Schumi win from 2001 – 2004 and then Alonso won 2 for Renault. Do you think he doesn’t take immense pride in being the driver that broke Schumacher’s streak? 2006 was even sweeter for Alonso because Ferrari gave Schumacher a car that could go wheel to wheel with the Renault. Schumacher’s excellence enhanced the WDC and every driver on the grid should be grateful to race with him.

    [Reply]

    fullthrottle Reply:

    Hamilton didn`t won his WDC fighting against the top guys.

    KRB Reply:

    ft, silly comment. Hamilton won his DWC while not in the fastest car, beating Massa and the previous year’s DWC Raikkonen in the faster Ferrari!

    Fact: Hamilton is the only DWC in the last two decades who won while his teammate could only manage 7th in the DWC standings. Most DWC’s in that time won in the constructors title-winning car, with their teammate 4th at worst (i.e. the car was in the top 2). Even Brawn in 2009 won the constructors, even though they faded in the 2nd half of the year.


  4.   4. Posted By: Hendo
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 8:26 am 

    I’m not a Hammy fan but that’s really because of the team he drives for – but he does seem to be able to get a little extra out of a dud car – like Shumi could. Not sure that we’ve seen that from Vettle yet.

    [Reply]

    Mitchel Reply:

    +1.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    Think last year, would your statement still stand the argument?

    [Reply]

    Justin Bieber Reply:

    Last year only proved that his car was more adapted to his driving style. Its not as if Vettle as dominated Webber in 2010/2012.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    What are you talking about? Last year he could have been kicked out of the team and was dominated by Button

    KRB Reply:

    Dominated? Don’t be silly. Dominated is Vettel’s 11 wins to Webber’s 1. Hamilton and Button both won 3 races last year, in what many saw as Button’s BEST year, and Hamilton’s WORST. Take from that what you should.

    KGBVD Reply:

    2008 Italian GP.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I understand if the point you’re making is that it was won driving a Toro Rosso.
    But the 2008 TR was the same chassis as the RBR team were using, ie an Adrian Newey design.
    Newey has designed dud’s, funnily enough whilst at Mclaren, but that car certainly wasn’t.

    What people tend to forget also is that in qualifying itself, Vettel’s team-mate, Bourdais, qualified 4th, so that car was very well suited to the wet conditions in qualifying and race.

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    Still, a rookie beat a 4 time ChampCar champion, in a car that had no general business being at the front. It was also in a B-spec team that beat the real RBs.

    If Fisi won at Spa in the Force India in 2009 no one would look back saying “it was very well suited”, which it obviously was.

    The kid deserves credit. Ppl forget he scored in his debut, at a track he had never race on before. He has talent, and that’s not diminished by the fact that he is in a Newey designed car.

    Dave C Reply:

    Really? So how comes at the first 4 races when Mclaren had the fastest car and Redbull were struggling Vettel out performed Hamilton?
    Look at Australia: on pace Vetter once passed the Mercedes were a match for Button and faster than Hamilton and beat him to 2nd, the look on Lewis’s face said it all on that podium when everyone thought he’d romp away easily.
    Then Malaysia again a Mclaren lock out and Redbull off the pace but if it wasn’t for a certain HRT Seb was catching Hamilton and probably would have got passed, again out performed Lewis in a slower car.
    In China the tyre strategy was’t the same so hard to tell but in Bahrain when Redbull improved slightly and was about evens with Mclaren well you saw the result, then in Monaco and Barcelona Seb beat Lewis again whilst the Redbull was slower, the only race this year Hamilton has driven better this year was at Canada, Vettel would beat Hamilton if Lewis joined Redbull, and as for Ferrari well Hamilton is not Ferrari material.

    [Reply]

    Spinodontosaurus Reply:

    The Red Bulls were simply slow in qualifying early in the year, here have never been slow in the races.
    Whilst early in the year, when the Red Bull was ‘tricky to drive’ in qualy trim (Vettel constantly stating this) it was Webber who was the quicker of the 2 Red Bull drivers.

    imo, all the top drivers are so close in out and out performance that if one has something like half a second advantage, it is clearly the car playing a part. Massa, the one who many – rightly or wrongly – belive he should not be in F1 next season hovers around 3 tenths behind Alonso – who is regarded as the best.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    As Spino has said, the Red Bull was never far down on race pace vis-a-vis the McLaren. Not like McLaren was down on race pace to the Red Bull at Bahrain, Valencia, and Britain.

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    Given the “Love” Alonso has been giving Hammi in the media of late, and back-marker Lewis “protecting” Alonso from a Seb attack in Germany, maybe don’t be so sure… ;)

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Bring Back Murray
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 8:55 am 

    I think it’s a mixture of reasons why Hamilton hasn’t won a string of WDCs.

    Firstly we have increased competition in F1 between drivers and teams. In terms of drivers obviously we have – Vettel and Alonso. Up until recent history its mostly been 2 way battles for the WDC – either been Prost vs Senna, Mansell vs Senna, Villeneuve / Hill / Hackkinen vs Schumacher. Also before it was either Benneton vs Williams / McClaren vs Ferrari. Now we’ve got Ferrari, RBR, McClaren and even Mercedes getting in on it.

    Secondly, his temperament. It seems better this year but that’s really been costing him over the last few seasons. His management change obviously didn’t help.

    Thirdly, his team. The operational abilities of Mclaren are in no way what they were when Ron was at the helm. Although I was joking the other day about bringing him back, if they don’t have a change a leadership in the not too distance future he’s not going to have a chance if he stays at McClaren.

    The depth of drivers also has a knock on effect in terms of options. A few years back Hamilton would have simply jumped ship to Redbull and been done with it. His lack of options around this time, considering how quick he is are shocking.

    And his luck in sorting out his temperament and having the team continuously stuffing him up this season.

    Is that enough reasons? Gone on a bit there!

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    That is a good and complete assessment on Hamilton’s situation. Just disagree on the Ron Dennis factor, he was in by 2007 and completely screwed it, ultimately for both drivers. And just one WCC since 1998…

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Ron Dennis was blessed with 2 of the greatest drivers in F1 history, twinned with bespoke engines from Honda.
    This at a time that the other teams weren’t operating anywhere near the Mclaren squad.

    Before that, with carbon fibre chassis designed by John Barnard, arguably the best at the time, and engines from Porsche (TAG) and Prost and Lauda driving, they dominated.

    Since 1991, Senna/ Mclaren and Honda last championship, they have won 1 WCC and 3 WDC.

    Over those 20 years, (not including 2012)
    Ferrari have won 6 WDC and 8 WCC, Williams 3 WDC and 5 WCC, Benetton/ Renault 4 WDC and 3 WCC, Brawn 1 WDC and 1 WCC and finally Red Bull with 2 WDC and 2 WCC.

    So Mclaren’s record is barely much better than Brawn and equal to RBR.
    It’s difficult to explain too, other than the Bridgestone advantage that Neweys first Mclaren had in 1998, coupled to the fact that Ferrari were rebuilding and Williams were running Supertec engines, they had Newey design Mclarens from 1998 to 2005.

    As to their team organisation re pit-stops etc, how many times did Mclaren get caught out with fuel filling problems for both DC and Mika? Or the lighting gantry that collapsed on to Mika’s car as he left the garage for the lap to the grid?

    Ron Dennis was at his managerial peak in the 80′s.
    Beyond that, despite some great wins, it’s not the force that everyone credits them to be.
    It fascinates me to think of how Newey was quite exceptional whilst at Williams, made a great start to the Mclaren team but slowly lost effect and then has built RBR into the dominant operation.
    Is there something intrinsic in the Mclaren team structure that effectively allows no freedom of thought?

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    Must be something like that, for sure. I remember Alonso’s frustrations in 2007 regarding strategies etc., he came in as a double WC to find out that his input was permanently ignored.

    Good date gathering BTW, very revealing.


  6.   6. Posted By: Ruse
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 9:09 am 

    McLaren, you have a legend in Lewis so deliver a car that’s not a 1s off the pace and everyone is happy.

    [Reply]

    Justin Bieber Reply:

    That exactly what he is driving right now, you must be happy?!

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Guillermo
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 9:25 am 

    Lewis is my favourite driver, but it concerns me that in recent years, he increasingly acts like F1 “owes” him more success. Winning championships and races in F1 is supposed to be hard. In the same time he’s been in F1, Fernando Alonso – the most talented driver I’ve seen since Ayrton Senna – has won precisely zero championships. Another one of my favourite drivers, Jean Alesi, won a single race in his entire career.

    I yearn for Lewis to really lead McLaren and bring back championships like Schumacher did with Ferrari in the late 90s. For me, that would guarantee his status as an F1 great.

    [Reply]

    Donald Reply:

    I absolutely agree.

    1. Unfortunately, the concept of not quite getting what you think you deserve in life – whether that’s in fact the case or not – is something we all have to accept.

    Fernando Alonso last won a title six years ago – a massive barometer of just how difficult it is.

    2. I really dislike the notion that McLaren are underperforming hugely, long term. They’ve finished ahead of Ferrari since 2009, and at points in 2011 had much the same performance as RBR. If the implication is therefore that Hamilton is not superior to Vettel by enough to make the difference, then what does he ‘deserve’?

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Huh? Alonso Zero? Is that a typo or do you mean zero since joining Ferrari? He bagged 2 WDCs from his Renault days.

    [Reply]

    David Ryan Reply:

    He meant zero titles in the time that Lewis has been racing in Formula One, i.e. since 2007.

    [Reply]

    Bunsy Reply:

    Zero since Lewis joined F1, ie since 2007.

    [Reply]

    FOLKDISCO Reply:

    Read it again, and concentrate.
    “In the same time (Lewis has) been in F1, Fernando Alonso – the most talented driver I’ve seen since Ayrton Senna – has won precisely zero championships.”
    All true.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    I had to re-read that a few times too.
    He said, in the time Lewis has been in F1, since 2007, Alonso has won zero.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Alonso has won Zero Championships since Hamilton has been in F1 is what Donald is saying.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Sorry I meant Guillermo not Donald.

    Ayrton Joao Reply:

    100% True. Great post!

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    I agree with your “entitlement” idea. I think Hamilton is a fabulous raw talent behind the wheel, as good as Alonso currently. But I don’t think he is a team leader in the mold of MSchu or Alonso, he seems more apt to hold himself apart and blame the team rather than galvanize the team around him. Hamilton reminds me more of Montoya and Villeneuve; both great raw talents (not quite up to Hamiltons level) but poor leaders and finger pointers.

    [Reply]

    Charles Reply:

    Guillermo, do not forget please… Fernando won 2 world championships: 2005 and 2006 while he was with Renault… so he is a double world champion.

    [Reply]

    JR Reply:

    I have had that feeling with Hamilton from his first days in F1, from Monaco 2007 it has always been like that. Great, great drivers but that sense of entitlement has always been there.

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    Fernando won his first championship in his 4th F1 season. Lewis is already on to his 5th (at which point Fernando won precisely his second WDC).

    [Reply]

    Mocho_Pikuain Reply:

    But Fernando was 25 when he won his 2nd WDC and Lewis is 27 by now, and I doubt he will be able to win this year.

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    Lewis or Fernando? FA has this one wrapped up.

    John Z Reply:

    Actually, if you used your fingers you would know that this is Lewis’s 6th season as an F1 driver. Count them out.

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    I’ve only got 5 per hand…


  8.   8. Posted By: Peter
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 9:28 am 

    I think he could have achieved more, but so could Raikkonen be a 3x world chapm for example. You cannot expect to have always the best car in the field. Also, Hamilton had made many errors in the last two years and people tend to forget that or blame the team or the car. I still think that he is slightly overrated and some unsuccess will do good to him. He is one of the bests, but only one of them.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: goferet
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 9:52 am 

    *Edited*

    Now I understand Lewis being the
    competitive beast that he is wants to win as much Silverware as there is in China in a bid to cement his reputation but he shouldn’t worry too much because having a car that isn’t the fastest on the grind ironically tends
    to lift a driver’s stock in the fans eyes more than if he just walked every race from pole.

    For example, Senna’s got the fans stamp of approval when he was in the Lotus car + when his Mclaren started getting slower in the early 90s ~ Eh Donington 1993, anyone?

    Whereas Schumi despite his success at
    Ferrari in the 2000s, the performances that really won over the purits’ hearts was the Schumi in the late 90s Ferrari!

    On the other side of the coin you have
    people like Gilles and Moss who never even won a driver’s championship.

    So all in all, Lewis should just keep doing what he’s doing, only thing he should always try to improve is his consistency and he would be a much stronger opponent.

    P.s.

    Wishing Lewis a happy (and hopefully successful) 100th anniversary.

    *Fun Fact*

    As for Lewis not fulfilling his potential,
    Senna won his first title at 28

    So there!

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    In the 70′s and 80′s drivers didn’t make it to F1 until they had served an appropriate apprenticeship.
    Senna raced a car for the first time at 20 years of age. 1980
    Formula Ford 1600, followed by Formula Ford 2000 then F3.
    Most drivers would have progressed into F2 then F1, but interest in Senna after his incredible start to the 1983 F3 season got him in with Toleman.
    In 1984 he was 24 years old, nearly won Monaco except for politics to become involved and was exceptional throughout the remainder of the year.
    When he joined a championship winning team, ie Mclaren in 1988, he won the WDC, his 5th season in F1.

    The age of drivers coming through now cannot be compared. They are almost fast tracked into F1.

    As to the stamp of approval, it depends what country you lived in.
    The British press had a general dislike of Senna after the Warwick incident in 1986. They also had a distrust of someone who wasn’t one of the boys.
    He was respected for his ability but not generally liked.
    Some people recognised genius and celebrated the opportunity to witness it first hand.
    His death has basically allowed motorsport fans to jump on the bandwagon and state they supported Senna. He has become mythical.
    Yet I was at Silverstone, at Club Corner in 1991, when he ran out of fuel and was picked up by Mansell on the run down lap.
    The abuse the “fans” expressed towards him was racist, and morally disgusting.
    One final point about Senna, he won FF1600 in his first season in the car. He won FF2000 in his first season in the car. He won his first F3 race at the last meeting of 1982, then won the F3 championship the following year.

    Lewis famously won the championships at his second attempt. In cars funded by the Mclaren team.
    Lewis is good, but he’s not comparable in any way.
    Your point about Schumacher is accurate. His greatest wins were between 1996 and 1999. My personal fave being Hungary 1998.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: goferet
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 9:58 am 

    Just discovered another stat that may turn out to be a good omen for Lewis in this year’s title race.

    Apparently, the last three bids by Paris to host the Olympic games i.e. 2012, 2008 and 1992 all ended in failure however those are also the years a British driver won the driver’s championship (2012 jury still being out of course).

    As they say, dreams come true, No?

    [Reply]

    Bunsy Reply:

    Oui!

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Darren
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 10:27 am 

    He only has himself to blame. Look at the 2010 season when he had a DNF @ Monza (stupid pass attempt on massa) and Singa(Crash with webber) that lost him 20+ points. If he’d just used some racecraft like Alonso then he’d had been champ that year.
    So it’s not always the cars fault.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Agreed on those two cases. Plus he had the wheel rim failure in Spain while in 2nd. But one could say that had Alonso not spun off at Spa that year, that he’d've won as well.

    But for sure, Monza and Singapore 2010 Lewis could have bagged 24 points for sure. I can understand that he thought he had to get a big result at those tracks, before more Red Bull-friendly tracks that were coming up. But he just had to maximise his points potential there, and wait for things out of his control (e.g. Korea) to come to him. Pressured by the clear dominance of the RB6, I guess.

    As for 2007 McLaren were stupid leaving a rookie driver out there with balding tires, when a) a win was not necessary, and b) they had plenty of time up on the 5th placed car to take their time on pit-in. 5 pts would’ve eliminated Kimi, and meant that Alonso needed to win with Hamilton 8th or worse in Brazil to win.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: AJ
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 10:28 am 

    Hamilton is in his 6th year of F1 and could have had 3 title’s – both in 2010 and his rookie year, the difference was down to his own mistakes.

    If he’d bagged those titles we’d be talking about the Schumy record of 7 titles being beaten easily by one of the greatest.

    But we’re not, and its not the teams fault.

    Valencia this year another example of clouded thinking by LH. The list of these events is very long.

    [Reply]

    Spinodontosaurus Reply:

    Lost 2007 due to a gearbox issue and due to the team insisting he stayed out on dead tyres in China. I do admit, he should have simply said “im pitting” and came into the pits.

    2010 saw several mistakes from all of the top 3 – particularly Vettel. The Red Bull was also by far the faster car that season on most circuits.

    Valencia 2012? You mean where he was taken out by Crashtor? None of this ‘let him past’ nonsense. They are racing. Should Schumi/Alonso have let each other past at Imola in 05/06 incase they ‘took each other out’ and to ‘play it safe’?

    [Reply]

    Anil Reply:

    2010 was down to his own mistakes? Bit harsh surely given the only reason Red Bull didn’t get a 1-2 in every race was due to either reliability issues (esp Seb whilst leading), costly driver mistakes or the weather.

    No one stood a chance against the 2010 Red Bull, it was a miracle the championship fight went on to the last race.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    Agreed, no other driver should’ve been close to SV or MW that year. But with RB’s unreliability, and driver mistakes, there was a chance for Alonso or Hamilton to pull a Prost circa ’86.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Qiang
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 11:29 am 

    I mainly judge any f1 driver by their capability to extract something extra from a car sometime difficult to drive. More so in this season, Lewis proved himself he can do that. He is clearly gifted with raw speed. It did appear that he made more costly mistakes during the last two seasons than Alonso or Vettel. He has to find a way to cut that to minimum by working with team and race engineers better. Can anybody tell me who is Lewis’s chief race engineer? Also from engineer’s point of view, it will be interesting to know whether Lewis is someone easy to work with or not.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Quattro_T
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 11:57 am 

    “Every year, I feel like I’ve prepared myself and had the mental ability and skill to have won more but, just with the circumstances, we haven’t been able to do so. It’s been a tough 10 or 15 years for this team.”

    Is he blaming circumstances and the team? Again…

    I feel often excuses are made to explain shortcomings of Hamilton or why he has not managed this and that, ignoring obvious facts.

    Hamilton has actually had a car capable of achieving much more than what he has managed to extract from it both in 2010 and 2011. A fact. So I think team (Witmarsh included) should get some credit for that.

    Compare to the Fiat Ferrari has been running since 2010 for example. I would have rated the Mclaren of 2010 as faster, and in 2011/2012 the Ferrari was/has been way way behind. Still, Hamilton is way behind Alonso statistically in this quite large sample (45+ races). Alonso has been beating Hamilton pointwise continously since 2010 inspite of the obvious car handicap. We are not talking about a couple of races, but quite a big sample of races so “circumstances” should be taken out of the equation.

    In 2011 Hamilton was beaten even by Button in the final standings, so car obviously had performance and Button managed it better than him…

    Yes, Mclaren has made a few misstakes in the pit stops in 2012, but that does not explain the comparably bad results seen over 45+ races. And yes, Alonso is as good as they come and comparison to him is maybe unfair, but since people are putting Hamilton as one of the greats, comparison is made and the statistics clearly indicate he is wrong if he is pointing to the circumstances/team as reason for lack of success.

    Often following “incidents” he says “I will never change the way I race”. Well, do not, but keeping out of trouble “á la Maldonado way” will earn you some more points/success…

    Points tally 2010-2012

    Vettel 748
    Alonso 638
    Webber 616
    Hamilton 559
    Button 534

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Great points, and seeing Alonso there is scarecely believable considering what he has had at his disposal.
    Over the same period, Massa has 285…

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Tom
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 12:34 pm 

    What does anyone think about Lewis and Fernando in the same team now?

    [Reply]

    Justin Bieber Reply:

    No self respecting team boss would ever do that.

    [Reply]

    Dino Reply:

    Well, now that the DRS and unpreditable tyres make pass possible, I would bet for Lewis better qualy than Fernando and then Fernando having the upper hand during the races.

    I can’t remember any single 2007 race where Lewis had better pace during the race than Fernando where in front of him. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Regards,

    Dino

    [Reply]

    Bromite Reply:

    The Internet would melt.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Jonathan Powell
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 1:08 pm 

    Red Bull are only going to have the best car for as long as they have Adrian Newey, and there must be a strong possibility that he will quit F1 or move to another team in the next few years.

    If Lewis could have joined Red Bull for next year, that would have been amazing. But I don’t blame them for sticking with Webber since I suspect he will win the championship this year. In any case I think they favour Vettel and don’t really want another big name. The point is that door is closed now, so Lewis should forget about Red Bull.

    If I were Lewis, I would try to get a short-term deal with McLaren, say one or two years. Or an option to leave if they don’t win a championship. I expect McLaren to be quite strong again next year, but it’s possible that Mercedes or Lotus will be on top in a couple of years. Lewis needs to keep his options open.

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: KGBVD
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 3:04 pm 

    I don’t think he’s in danger of being this decade’s Jacques Villeneuve just yet.

    He’s got time, obviously has the talent, and between all of his prospective drives over the coming years, he’ll be in a competitive car again at some point.

    I’m not a fan, but at least he hasn’t got himself in a BAR-type scenario.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Liam
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 3:29 pm 

    In my opinion Lewis has had a car capable of winning the championship in 4 of the last 5 seasons – Only 2009 did he not stand a chance.

    It’s his own inconsistency that’s caused him trouble, nothing else. I mean, ok, this year McLaren as a team haven’t really got the job done and Lewis has excelled but if he’d driven like he has so far this year in all his previous years he’d have had a good shot at 4 titles already.

    Let’s face it, he could’ve won 2007 if it weren’t for a couple of silly races, he won 2008, 2009 was no hope, 2010 he had the car to win and in 2011 he had the car to win.

    And before people dismiss last year because the RB was too dominant, stop and think of Button’s results as well – If Hammy had dominated Button and got the best out of the car every race like Vettel did that would’ve been one hell of a close season between the two of them.

    Even if he head other options he’d be mad to leave McLaren.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    He had the car in 2011 to win the DWC?!?! Give yer head a shake. That RB7 was perfectly set up for Vettel … no one was going to beat him in that car last year.

    ELEVEN wins. Before Schumi, no one had won more than 9 in a season.

    2007, 2008 (obvious), and 2010 he had a car capable of winning the DWC. In 2007, his teammate was 2x defending DWC Alonso, in 2008 his car wasn’t the fastest car, and same in 2010. When he gets the fastest car, and his teammate is anyone other than Alonso, he will win the DWC handily, just as he won 15 out of 20 races in F3 2005 in the fastest car.

    [Reply]

    Liam Reply:

    People have a blinkered view of 2011. Yes, Vettel did win 11 races but they weren’t easy wins. The McLaren was a genuine challenger.

    The only point I’m trying to make is that for all the negativity about McLaren in these comments each week they’ve still given Hamilton a properly decent car every season bar one.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: kfzmeister
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm 

    “I’m waiting for that time when they (McLaren) have their highest point. I hope at some stage it’s our turn.”

    I’m afraid that “They” already been there with Hamilton in 2007 and 2008. The real question is can “He” take them back there????

    [Reply]

    KGBVD Reply:

    Ooooooo good one!

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    Hamilton has the driving skill in abundance but not the leadership skill to pull the team around him, too much finger pointing. For example, MSchumacher would sit smiling on a car with a blown engine and say how great a job the team had done rather than criticize–at least in public. I think Hamilton needs the team more than the team needs him in terms of leadership.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    Funnily enough, when they had Ferrari secrets available to them.
    Don’t forget, the FIA ordered them to not incorporate certain features of their design into the 2008 car as this was Ferrari inspired.
    But as we all know, you can’t unlearn something.

    [Reply]

    Craig @ Manila Reply:

    Nice one. I flinched when I saw that he used the term “they” to describe McLaren. Not good !

    I also note that this is the same Lewis Hamilton who has said that he was underperforming due to personal issues and not having the same “bubble” that Jenson had.

    Seems just a tad contradictory to what he is being quoted as saying in this report where he implies that the only thing holding him back is “they”.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Bunsy
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 7:27 pm 

    When Lewis won his WDC in 2008, he was the youngest WDC ever and everyone said he would go and win many more. He has clearly taken out the calculator and calculated how many years it would take to beat old Schumi’s record (probably 10 years or so).

    Fast forward a few years and Lewis still has only one WDC to his name. Guess LH didn’t count on a certain Vettel/Newey combo to appear and steal all of Lewis’s victories. At this rate, it might take him another twenty years to rack up 91 wins and 6 more WDCs. No wonder he is feeling the pressure of the clock ticking down.

    Jump to the Red Bull garage, with young Seb being the youngest WDC, and double WDC. He has been blessed by being able to race on of Newey’s creations and victories and WDCs have come even easier than for Lewis. He too has taken been bitten by the ambition bug. After his two easy championships, by his calculation, he should overtake Schumi’s 91 wins within 10 years.

    These two young boys are tallying up every race victory.

    Problem is, as Lewis has learnt the hard way, the tide can turn pretty quickly.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Seb is King
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 10:17 pm 

    Not while Vettel is around, he’ll make the next 6 years even worse for Lewis now that he isn’t a youngster anymore!!!

    A famous person once said: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: tom adams
        Date: July 20th, 2012 @ 11:26 pm 

    I think jenson has great ability in making a car go backwards or get lost in setup changes

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: July 21st, 2012 @ 4:50 am 

    2007, Raikkonen was not a great Champion

    2008, Hamilton was not a great Champion, but very entertaining only in his 2nd session

    2009, it was the car, nobody will remember Jenson as a Champion

    2010, Vettel was not a great Champion, many errors and 5 drivers in contention

    2011, Red Bull was really a great car and Vettel really a great young double Champion, even he is not too exciting to watch

    2012, I think Alonso is getting attention as a true Champion, but time will tell. He has personality and gets results.

    Conclusion, I think in 2012-2013 Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton will show their truly best after these few years.

    [Reply]

    KRB Reply:

    What makes a great champion? I think LH was full worth for his DWC in 2008. He had mistakes (Canada) and controversy (Spa), but some simply amazing drives (lapping all but one driver at Silverstone in the wet, chasing down Massa and Piquet at Hockenheim, the duel in the wet with Kimi at Spa, and the lights to flag win in China when the pressure was on), all topped off with losing and then winning the DWC on the last corner of the last lap of the last race. If Hollywood had written that script, you’d say they were were being too cheesy and over-the-top with the drama.

    If LH had won the DWC in 2007, the story would’ve been “how could he do that in his rookie year against Alonso?” (cue the conspiracy theorists who think Dennis would hire Alonso just to sabatoge his DWC chances). If he had won in 2010, it would’ve been “how the hell did Red Bull screw that one up so royally?”

    When LH has a car like the RB in 2010, and fails to win the DWC, then the critics will truly have a case. Until then, it just amounts to griping and nattering.

    [Reply]

    FIG Reply:

    Main reason (in my view) why Lewis has struggled to repeat his DWC (apart from car in 09) I think is due to tyre/re-fuelling changes – he’s probably the best on the grid at wringing everything from the car, then putting on new set of boots and repeat…

    Narrower tyres, running with heavier fuel load, tyre inconsistency and differences in option/prime performance etc, have blunted his particular advantage vs. the others.

    In some ways it’s the flip side of why Schumacher was so successful because he had the same ability to hustle a car but enjoyed years where GP’s were a series of sprints. (I think they changed the rules to effectively stop him dominating, and an unintended consequence is drivers with that style have been marginalised a little)

    Lewis has shown he can adapt to a degree, but race craft, tactical nous etc which Alonso in particular is superb at, and Button has shown at times, (and maybe why Schummi has struggled on his return?) has made it relatively harder for him. A 10/11 vintage Red Bull just trumps everything – suspect any of the top drivers would have won the title in it…

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: July 21st, 2012 @ 7:26 pm 

    For me “Great Champions” from this era are Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Vettel…

    I don’t think Hakkinen, Raikkonen or Hamilton are (may be in the future).

    That’s why Alonso is getting that status for me, but he should win 2012.

    [Reply]

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