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How the world views the Hamilton affair
How the world views the Hamilton affair
Posted By:   |  03 Apr 2009   |  7:11 am GMT  |  27 comments

Here’s a snapshot of the reaction from some of my international colleagues in the media.

First to Germany, where, true to form, leading tabloid Bild have making mischief with Photoshop again. Last week Hamilton was morphed onto a snail’s body, today he’s got Pinocchio’s nose and is described as the ‘lying world champion’ Ouch!

Next on to Spain, where El Pais simply has the headline, “Lying for a podium.” They feel that this has been a damaging moment for the world champion, but do not feel that the matter requires any further punishment.

That said, many in Spain are rubbing their hands with glee. In AS, the strongest of the Spanish daily sports papers, the writer says that McLaren has lost all credibility. In a stinging attack it says that McLaren used to stand for all the best of British sporting values, but since the arrival of Hamilton that has been eroded. It questions how a team with such great resources and allied to such a prestigious brand as Mercedes, could make such stupid mistakes.

In Italy they are playing with a fairly straight bat. La Gazetta dello Sport, the leading sports daily just reports the facts, as does Corriere dello Sport. “Hamilton risks further sanctions, is the line they take,

Meanwhile in the UK there is some really tough stuff, particularly in the Daily Mail, where they really go for it,

Get this; “When the story of Lewis Hamilton’s career is written, it will record how he bankrupted himself in the counting house of reputation for the sake of one single point…. McLaren, the most arrogant team in the paddock, self-deluded in their own righteousness, are contaminated by a culture of cheating.”

I’m supposed to be going to a dinner tonight, hosted by Mercedes boss Norbert Haug and McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh for seven or eight UK journalists, including the Mail, Times etc. Could be quite a tense evening….

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Lewis has been irritating me from about mid-2007 season onwards with his attitude in the interviews. I was in awe of his performance on track but I quickly started losing respect towards him because of how he behaved.

There were several occasions when I wished he would just shut up. Because he was making embarrassing comments which I knew would come back and bite him soon.

For example, he advertised in 2007 how he has studied the rulebook very extensively.

Then he goes on and gets in trouble with that very same rulebook several times. And is of course every time trying to deny he broke any rule.

And why did he feel the need to say that? It was not asked by anyone, he brought it up. No other driver studied the rules like he did…?

Then let’s see Brazil qualifying 2007. He was on Kimi’s way not once but twice, when Kimi was on his fast lap, and to me that looked very deliberate and carefully-executed. Kimi did not complain about it (in public). And Hamilton behaved like he had done nothing wrong (I wonder what he would have said had Kimi been hindering his qualifying laps).

There was an instance when Hamilton said something like “if I did it” in his apology. Well that’s being in denial again, he *did it* and then his apology was like that, *if*. That’s not an apology, it’s showing how he lacks understanding of the rules of the sport and of what is generally accepted as being fair and OK within the sport.

He seems to have an attitude that he will try to go around the rules of the sport and then when he gets caught, he denies responsibility, except when caught lying.

Bernie must love this. Lewis generates lots of headlines with his controversial and arrogant style. I just hope no-one gets killed because of him. I don’t think it is too much to say that last year in Monza Timo Glock was close to a very serious accident because of Hamilton’s arrogant overtaking manouver (approaching a high-speed corner Glock was forced by Hamilton to put other side tyres to the grass). That’s hugely dangerous and Hamilton again didn’t seem to have any problem with it. That’s his attitude and it is certainly a trend by now. It’s not McLaren, it’s not Dennis, Whitmarsh, it’s not his father, it’s the man himself who has that attitude.


Give me a break, this is how Mclaren operates and always have. This is PR nothing more nothing less. They’ve done things like this in the past….and will again. Ryan is a scapegoat because they got caught.



thats a great ‘capturing the moment’ shot by the mail online, probably happened in the blink of an eye, but a photographer caught it..great shot…lewis hiding behind his hand..


Thanks for the world view of these incidents always interesting to see how stories are reported differently.


James, I’m not surprised by the coverage, I expected it to be savage against Lewis, it’s what sells. Everyone is talking about it even at work and some will tune in this weekend that had no interest in F1 to see how Lewis gets on. I saw the report in the Daily Mail, and it’s low, but it is what I expected from them. They are so negative about everyone. I stopped buying that paper 2 years ago.


I forgot to post the link where Alonso talks about the 2007 incident: http://www.as.com/motor/articulo/alonso-mclaren-primera-vez-mienten/dasmot/20090403dasdasmot_6/Tes

Headline: “This is not the first time McLaren lies”


What I don’t really understand is what is Alonso doing adding more fuel to the flame recalling some incidents from Hungary’07 just to portrait McLaren as liars.

He doesn’t need to do such things. 2007 is over and he is out of McLaren :\

Even though I’m spanish I can’t understand his behaviour right now.

Congrats for the blog James!


I bet the Daily Mail will come up with there usual nonsense tommorow like “Lewis Hamilton Gives You Cancer”. To be honest would any of us be surprised if that’s what that rag produces?


Hi James- Really enjoy this blog. If you haven’t had dinner with Whitmarsh yet ( damn time zones ), why not ask him about his assertion that the telemetry showed LH did not slow to let Trulli past. There’s onboard video that shows LH slowing to 15 mph! when Trulli repasses.


I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it…


Lewis has blotted his copy book. There can be no excuse for lying to officials especially if it disadvantages a fellow competitor the bottom line is sporting contests depend on honesty from those taking part.

Those of us who support Lewis can make excuses for his behaviour but at the end of the day he decided to lie to officials so he must take his share of the rap.

The pity is that such an incident is grist to the mill of his legion of detractors even though his detractors are not worthy of much comment. The reaction of committed fans to Hamilton’s entry into F1 shows what a nasty place it is to be I mean football fans can be chauvinist, partisan and racist but they are tame in comparison to motor sports fans.

Look on any forum and you see people claiming to be expert on Hamilton’s character (flaws) yet they don’t know the guy, never met him, furthermore those that do know him universally tell us what a smashing bloke he is but still the avalanche of abuse spews. He’s constantly mis quoted, partially quoted and quoted out of context. Where the forums are unmoderated the racists really vent their spleen. Even when you strip out the disgruntled Alonso fans, the Ferrari fans and the fans that live in the rose tinted past of Senna Schumacher et al the level of vitriol hurled at Hamilton is astounding.

Most would accept that James Allen knows his F1 yet he has been at the receiving end of disgusting comments from ‘hard core’ fans, and why? Because he was effusive in his praise of Hamilton’s extraordinary skills. I’m sure the casual observer is dumbfounded at the hatred felt by ‘petrol heads’ towards Lewis it seems visceral to me it’s what racism is all about. If only Jenson Button had the talent life would be so much easier, right?

I heard a story last year that I’m sure James can verify, it was during the Canadian GP when Hamilton had his brain fade in the pit lane, prior to his crash ITVs viewing figures were c6M within five minutes of him crashing out they were c3M the point is obvious Hamilton put 40% on ITVs figures over the past two years without Hamilton the BBC wouldn’t have been so eager to save Eccleston’s bacon. I don’t think it’s to far fetched to believe that you have Hamilton to thank for F1 on terrestrial TV, a little gratitude is in order.


Compared to how much M.Schumacher + Ferrari lied and cheated over the last few years this is nothing.


Hamilton lied and cheated – causes house prices to fall (Daily Mail headline tomorrow)

Not so much about the news but actually to say thanks James for this blog. You obviously put a lot of work into it. It is barely monetised apart from some odd Google ads yet has become *THE* go-to F1 site now. Sure, I read the others but I always come here first nowadays.

James can’t say it as it would contravene his Google account rules but I can. Folks, whenever you visit, click on a Google Ad or two. James will get a few pennies for that click and they will all add up and pay for his hosting costs, etc.


German (Schumacher land), Italy (ferrari) and Spain (Alonso) media were always going to get on Lewis for this.


Please let us know how that turned out…


It’s the overwhelming predictability of the British Media that annoys/amuses me in turn.

As soon as there’s trouble in Lewis Land it’s knives out and suddenly they drop him like a stone in favour of Jenson Button again.

The press are as fickle and false in their support as they are in their condemnation.

Good blog James. Enjoy reading you.

It’s at times like these that i’m reminded why I don’t buy newspapers.


Thanks for your blogs james – absolute best on t’internet.

If only trulli hadn’t locked up…….


Oh well, at least we can still rely on the Daily Mail to kick a man when he’s down.


James can i say your website is fantastic in giving the real story in these situations, others seem to get carried away in a ‘News of the World’ tabloid big headline style which just confuses the issue – so well done and keep it up.

What i cant believe is that the tabloid press are pointing their fingers at Hamilton in all this, they must all surely understand that he is after all a McLaren employee and must follow what the team advises him to do. In this instance it is clear to see that the lad was being honest giving the interview when he stepped out the car, only for the team to brief him and tell him to say something different – therefore its McLarens fault not Lewis’s, and his reputation in the people understand this process will not be affected.

I can’t honestly understand how and why McLaren have acted this way, all radio communication is public now and there is nowhere to hide – it just smacks of stupidity, especially in light of the spy scandal why would you even think that this was a good idea????

The mind boggles it really does, nearly as much as how the supposed best young business brains who managed to get on the apprentice cant even wash cars or make a few sandwiches without making a mess of it…….maybe the next apprentice task should be running McLarens PR department, they couldnt do a worse job thats for sure!!


Nice to see the Daily Mail going overboard as usual, I’d hate to work in their office, it must be the gloomiest place in England. Also, is there some German fairytale about a boy with a frankfurter stuck to his nose?

Have fun at your dinner James, best test the water before cracking any jokes 😉

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