Today had two distinct parts for Lewis Hamilton, but they both had to do with breaking eggs. In the morning he took part in a Vodafone promotion whereby the public challenged him to do something and he ended up making a spanish omelette. I know, it’s not an obvious pr activity for a Formula 1 driver, but it’s better than being suspended on a harness above a stage, as he was in Turkey last year, again by Vodafone.
In the afternoon he realised the truth of the saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”, as the fall out continued from his attempts to lie to the stewards in Melbourne in order to gain the podium place ahead of Jarno Trulli. He was asked in the press conference what he planned to do to repair his image after people like Stirling Moss said they felt let down by what had happened.
Hamilton had seemed uncomfortable from the start of the press conference, stroking his forearm constantly, as if reassuring himself. He knew he was going to get some of these questions, because he had ducked them at the omelette event in the morning, saying he was only there to talk about Vodafone.
“I’m just going to carry on being me, ” he said, quietly. “I’ll remain humble. People will get to know me and understand that I am actually a good person.”
Sitting next to him was Fernando Alonso, his former team mate from 2007 and this is where things got really interesting. To start with Alonso spoke of the great respect he has for Hamilton as a driver and how much he appreciated the level they pushed each other to that year.
“I was in McLaren one season, I had no problem with Lewis,” he said. “We had a very good competition which helped us to find our limits and I can say that I miss that competition in a way, it was fun to push and find new limits in ourselves. ”
So far so Prost and Senna, but without the unpleasantness. But then Alonso twisted the knife a little and Hamilton looked stunned,
“Lewis has always been a great driver, a great champion. To help his reputation, which is damaged now, will be very easy, if he keeps winning he will make people happy, his supporters and that is a very important thing.”
It was only a fleeting moment, but it looked like Alonso saying, so publicly that Hamilton was damaged by what had happened, made it seem more real to Lewis all of a sudden. I’m sure he wasn’t in denial about it, but it is the way of sportsmen to park negative things out of their minds and somehow this brought it all to the surface again.