Lewis Hamilton admits to ‘lots and lots of mistakes’
Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton admits to ‘lots and lots of mistakes’
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Mar 2010   |  4:05 pm GMT  |  209 comments

In a revealing interview with BBC Radio 5 Live this weekend, Lewis Hamliton has admitted that he has made “lots and lots of mistakes in my career, hopefully this will be a year of a lot fewer!”


It’s very unusual to hear a driver admitting to any mistake, let alone lots of them.
It is criticism that was often leveled at Michael Schumacher and has to a lesser extend been aimed at Hamilton from time to time. This charm offensive marks an interesting change of direction for Hamilton, ahead of what is likely to be another hard fought season.

He has decided to dispense with his father as manager and has taken a very deliberate direction in his pr strategy, to be open about the mistakes of the past, like the way he dealt with Fernando Alonso in 2007 and – without mentioning it specifically – the episode where he lied to stewards in Melbourne last year. He has also been very careful to position himself as someone who respects new team mate Jenson Button and looks up to him in certain respects, like the “way he carries himself”, as he said yesterday. He’s going out of his way to say that he and Button are on the same page, but it will only really mean something when we see their relationship tested in the heat of battle.

He admitted that he read the tea leaves wrongly when he was thrown in alongside Alonso in his rookie season, “At the beginning of my first year I was up alongside the two-time world champion and he was seen as the guy to win the world championship and I think at the time I misinterpreted and misunderstood the goals and the understanding of how the team worked.

This rather vague sentence would appear to be a reference to the idea that the team took sides in 2007 and were pulled into doing so by the drivers, Hamilton determined to fight his corner because he and his father were of the mindset that you may never get another chance to win a world title so you should take it when presented. Alonso was seen as the guy to get the championship, but Hamilton didn’t see the need to let him through once he got ahead in the points early on.

He goes on, “But since I’ve been here they do everything to give us individually the best package possible. I’ve never had more than the guy next to me, we’ve always had equal opportunity, which is the greatest thing in a team.”

I think this is broadly true; there was a time last season in Budapest that he got a new front wing for qualifying and the race of which there was only one and went on to win the race with it.

He has also had a lot to say lately about the prospect of racing against Michael Schumacher, largely talking in awed tones about the seven times champion.

In this interview, however, he chucks a new card onto the table, suggesting that this is an old Schumacher that he will be racing against, not the man in his prime,
“It’s different to having the young Michael, who’s at his best,” he says, before going on to add, “But I’m sure he’s going to be just as good as ever, ” to tone the comment down a little.

Interesting times. There is no doubt that this is the most exciting driver and team line up for years and speaking to the drivers and teams at the moment, you get the clear sense that they are as excited about the new season as the rest of us.

One week from now we will know the grid for the first race. Bring it on.

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1

Sounds to me like Lewis is maturing! That can only be a good thing! With Raikkonen gone many people don’t have someone to support with similar characteristics.

However if Hamilton realises that yes he is super talented but doesn’t have to be an ass about it..then hey we might have another Kimi in the making!

In fact looking at all the factors, it seems that Hami is going to be in a Raikkonenesque position IMO…He’s going to be super-fast, possibly outright fastest(provided his car is on it) against Schumi and Alonso and he’ll have a fast team-mate ala Montoya, maybe complaining and leaving to Nascar halfway through 2010..lol..interesting times ahead..

2

Now that refeulling is banned will we see the mechanics return to the more casual dress code of shirt and shorts that we used to see in the 80’s ?

I hope not really. I’m used to seeing the pit crews dressed in all that fire retardant gear, helmet, googles etc, they looked ‘cool’.. rather futuristic and I thought it epitomised the image of F1.

3

Amazing how Hamilton sparks up so much debate in F1. Come on hamilton win the WDC this year. add more flames to the haters

4

Have to say the last three seasons without Hamilton would have been lacked a great deal. For someone who gets slammed for his overly PR blandishments his racing has made F1 more of an attraction than it has been for years. It was unfortunate that Schumacher, aside from Hakkinen, had to wait til Alonso to find a proper rival. These cries of calumny I think miss the point, Sport works so much more as a spectacle when you find yourself in vigorous opposition. By all means knock Hamiltion, but at least have the good grace to appreciate that sport is about stirring people!

5

Perhaps Hami is getting older and has grown up at last, good.

6

It’s interesting this topic has so many responses. I’m not a hardcore supporter of either driver, but I think they’re both brilliant and will make 2010 a season to savour. There’s clearly a lot of passion amongst both fanbases – F1 needs passion, so it’s great to see!

7

180 or so replies is quite normal for a post on here these days!

8

James,

with the trend of a long discussion on your blog, I think you should introduce some kind of rating like thumb up/down or the one used in amazon.com. So we can pick up the most meaningful thread first to read.

9

Hi James, Way OT but have you been privy as to which teams have invested the most in pit stops ?

http://www.f1times.co.uk/horner-we-ve-done-sub-two-second-stops-1993.html

Interesting to see if some teams will end up making 2 secs on the field during stops..

10

They’ve all been working on it. I know Williams have put the mechanics through an intensive fitness programme

11

How times change – Williams used to regularly have the slowest stops by far amongst the top teams of 80s and 90s in the pre-refuelling era. Good to hear they’re taking it seriously.

12

When Hamilton says: “they do everything to give us individually the best package possible” and “we’ve always had equal opportunity” doesn’t really say that they had identical equipment.

So mentioning an example where the drivers didn’t have the same equipment doesn’t make Hamilton’s statement wrong.

Also, Hamilton and Kovalainen have the same opportunity, but if Hamilton makes more of it and scores more points, who would you give the new front wing first? Still, initially they had the same opportunity which he mentions.

13

I think alot of you guys can probably appreciate that you mature alot as a person from your 20’s through to your 30’s. These young drivers are thrust into the limelight at a young age piloting cars that are made by teams who spend hundreds of millions of pounds, being watched by the world.

In my opinion Vettel is the only one who seems to have a good head at a young age when it comes to dealing with people/media, the others seem to be learning through their mistakes.

14

Lewis Hamilton is a likeable chap.He is one whale of a racing driver.Lewis Hamilton gave up a 35 point lead in the World Championship,losing to Kimi Raikkonen.Our other protagonists wouldn’t have allowed that.Take Button,for one.

15

Don’t worry if Hamilton makes the same mistakes again, he will go to each and every one in the team and say how sorry he is and that it will never happen again. Then people in Mclaren will give him a pat on his shoulder and will say he is forgiven and that nothing has happened.

Everyone in 2007 events shares a part of responsibility. The biggest one lies in the Maclaren management. They should have made their point clear to every driver and established certain limits and enforced them.

They mismanaged the drivers and showed little or no concern for Alonso from the beginning. They never defended him from the press. It all started in Monaco when Hamilton claimed he was the second driver,causing a storm in the press and a FIA investigation. We got Ron Dennis almost apologizing for Alonso’s victory. It was his team, he was the manager, he made a decision and he should have stuck to it. He should have said to the press that Alonso’s victory was well deserved as indeed it was,that it was his team and that he took the decisions which he considered were best for it. He should have told Hamilton to shut up and stick to driving as well as he was doing, and that if he ever dreamt of making similar comments and forcing another FIA investigation he was done.

But Hamilton was doing quite well, he had been in the team since a young age, was a personal bet and his feelings got in the way.

Everybody wanted Hamilton to win from the beginning, Ron Dennis, the whole Mclaren team, the press and the FIA, Bernie. He was a british, black, rookie driver going against a 2 time World Champion,and doing a good job. So it was good for the sport, it meant money and press headlines.

16

“He should have told Hamilton to shut up and stick to driving as well as he was doing, and that if he ever dreamt of making similar comments and forcing another FIA investigation he was done.”

Couldn’t agree more but he didn’t, so Lewis did it again a few months later, disobeying the team orders to allow Alonso his turn of extra lap and triggering a second FIA investigation that eventually cost Fernando the WC.

17

I doubt this will be printed as I dare to mention the ‘R’word.

Reading a number of posts on the thread there seems to be a awful lot of almost hatred directed towards Lewis Hamilton?

I think what we saw at that Barcelona test was not as isolated as the FIA would have us believe as I sincerely believe a number of comments posted on this thread have their routes in racist opinions.

James, I and I am sure others would welcome you HONEST comments on this……….

The truth is it will take a fair few years before, if at all, racism is not an issue in F1 just like it has in other global sports and in the likes of football is is far from non existent!

18

oh dear Jesus! I really am unfocused, but here we go again with the Lewis camp waving the racism banner. Freespeech, has it not occurred to you that disliking a particular sportsman is part of the game for most people? Look at all the commentaries from Lewis supporters, they distill the same disgust for Alonso that you assume to be racism from those that don´t like Lewis, but nobody would say that in fact there´s any form of racism towards Fernando, or Michael or Button for the matter: somehow nobody gets the impression that white people can be subject of racism while black people if disliked are victims of race hatred.

Following your logic, shouldn´t I assume that the bulk of commentaries on this and other threads rendering Jenson an unworthy champion are in fact written by white hating Jamaicans or Nigerians? Those that declare Michael Shumacher a cheat and an unrepentant one at that, angry French who can´t get over the German´s invasion in world War II? Maybe those who dislike Fernando so much are native South American Indians, pissed off with us Spaniards invading and exterminating them and letting out their feelings on one of our most notorious sportsmen.

The fact is, actually, that protecting Hamilton from these virtual racist attacks is racist in itself: it implies that Hamilton is somehow in need of protection and therefore of a different status somehow than you and me: it´s called positive racism, but racism it is all the same.

19

OK I’ve had enough of this topic, so we will call it a day there. Thanks

20
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

If you want to face up to the reality of racism against Hamilton then you only have to enter his name into YouTube.

Some of the comments and videos made about him are downright racist and absolutely disgusting. Some of the comments come from F1 “fans” that are knowledgeable on the sport and hide behind anonymity. Bitterness regarding his success comes from well beyond the far right BNP types.

Some of the Spanish YouTube videos are blatantly racially offensive and would be illegal in the UK.

21

Remind us what his personal involvement in the spying one was?

22

NONE – even after FIA delving into email; zero

23

“a revealing interview”; well yes, if you remember that LH is the Madonna of F1, changing his image,forever reinventing himself.

The current image presented for our appreciation is the humble, genuine, Mr Niceguy. The “I’m the best in the business’ persona served him quite well but doesn’t work when you’re not even in the front three at the end of the year, quite aside from depressing your popularity with other drivers alarmingly.

When your Dad’s gone and you’re on your own in the paddock I expect you need a few friends and LH is feeling the need to put himslf in the same category of ‘all round good guy’ as Jenson if he’s to keep the British media’s

(and maybe his own team’s) personality admiration in 2010.

And of course it has the additional value of being slightly irritating to the other driver to feel himself being imitated. No bad thing in the destabilising stakes as Alonso learned, so long ago, to his cost.

I’m afaid when it comes to Hamilton’s off track performances I remain eternally cynical.

24

and the problem with reinventing oneself is? I believe there is an english saying to the effect that imitation is the best form of flattery – so may be Jenson is enjoying all this rather than getting irritated? but fundamentally, LH is a F1 DRIVER, that is why you watch him and that is why you know him. If he wasn’t one you probably would never have heard of him – its therefore absurd to try deny him his accolades as a driver because of his off track performance

25

Chiunda – I was replying to James’ posting and invitation to discuss LH’s recent public statements concerning his having made ‘lots and lots of mistakes’. This is why I quoted ‘a revealing interview’ at the top.

It wasn’t my intention, nor do I think I did, to deny him any ‘accolades’ for his on-track performances.

26

Yet one more reason to be utterly digusted. His talent is unmistakable. Yet, this attempt to rewrite the past is just laugable. You have to admit Schuey makes no bones, no excuses, no apologies for doing it all HIS way. Hamilton wants to be loved while lying and cheating his way to the top. Not from me. He has been involved in 2 out of the 3 worst cheating scandals of the past 5 years. He got off light in each. Schuey was stripped of all his points, banned for 3 races, and stripped of a poll in a decisive race. Hamilton is no champion. He is a great driver, nothing more.

27

a great driver who nearly won the championship in his first year and nailed it in his second. As scandals go, Alonso has been implicated in 2 really bad ones in two years and got off very lightly indeed. Anyway i doubt Lewis was trying to win hearts – it would be rediculous to try win the hearts of Alonso fans. He was just saying it the way he sees it now in retrospect – he made mistakes, he hopes he will make less in 2010.

28

I like Alonso but by those making comments on my post keep dragging his name into the discussion I don’t know. Factually speaking, Alonso has NEVER, repeat, NEVER been sanctioned or even charged with an offense. You Hamilton lovers NEED to get your facts straight. What is with British fans and their total blind love for their drivers and there inherent character flaws?

29

Well who won the 2008 World Driver’s Championship then? And he was not involved in ‘Spygate’ that was Alonso and de la Rosa.

30
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

And Alonso was also “involved” in the two worst cheating scandals of the decade.

31

i have read Lewis being accused of arrogance and many emotive things but at least never of a win he didn’t deserve

32

Apparently Charlie Whiting failed to turn up at Woking to examine the vented rear fin. Has Whiting been got at????? Who advised him not to go? An ex Ferrari team manager maybe???

Plot thickens by the minute, in particular because there is no way McLaren would build anything which could not be justified within the letter of the regs. That Charlie would do other than approve the thing as the relevant regs were consulted, is unthinkable, thus the only recourse of “others” is to prevent pre-approval and leave the door open for protests. A separate thread on this please James.

33

Ron Dennis, 2007: “We are racing Fernando”

34

Even Jesus would be “RACING” Fernando after he tried to blackmail him.

So, get over it…

35
less talking, more racing

but not by sabotage. during quali with tyre pressures.

36

For those who think that Hamilton has suddenly become humble, I remind you that only a few days ago he said he had blown away Alonso in 2007. If he calls finishing equal “blowing away”, Alonso, Shumi or Vettel, for example, have nothing to worry about.

To say something good about Hamilton (since I always criticise him), I would say that he has the fastest (on a single lap) and most thrilling approach to racing in the entire paddock. He is not as consistent as Schumy or Alonso though.

37

What I can’t understand is all these Lewis detractors banging on about “Lewis must be humble”. What, is he a manservant? Name another F1 driver of his calibre who shuffles around apologising for his very existence. It really gets my goat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

38

Sorry Wyatt, you read me wrong. I didn’t say that Hamilton should be humble. As you suggest, F1 drivers are not know to be the most humble people on earth.

I don’t like when people who are not humble pretend they are. That’s all.

39

Lewis has been apologizing since he joined formula 1 so i don’t think he is pretending to be humble. That is who he is. Indeed, I recall a French female journalist accusing him of thinking that apologies are a fix-all strategy in Brazil 2007. So Thalasa, maybe you are getting abit prejudicial there.

40

Whatever, Hamilton can’t win eh?

41

Yeah I totally agree.

42

It was refreshing to see a humble Lewis last year. He was much more likable compared to what he was in his rookie season. Im sure he has people around him coaching him on his interview style. Im a fan of his driving and his obvious skill..im not a fan of the person though.

43

you are supposed to be a fan of the driver so that is ok

44

Yes its going to be an exciting season but something is amiss……ah

Kimi Raikkonen should be in the grid then it would be fantastic, 5 WDCs racing! Woot!

45

I think Alonso thought he was the next all time great and totally underestimated Hamilton. Hamilton took full advantage and taught Alonso a well and truly deserved lesson. For any teammates of Hamilton, it should also serve warning that he has never been beaten by his teammate over the course of a season in any category over his entire career so far. Going to 2010 now, I have the view that Button is similar in a way to Kovalainen. Button just seems to beat himself up when things are not going his way, e.g. when trying to clinch the world championship last year, the pressure, which he placed on himself I must say nearly got to him. I think Hamilton is McLaren’s No.1 driver with Button having to play second fiddle for the entire season this season. What do you think, James?

46

I think Alonso thought he was the next all time great and totally underestimated Hamilton.

I think Alonso still believes he is the next all time great, and I’m sure he is right. 🙂

47

“he has never been beaten by a team mate”.

There is always a first time.

48

“It’s different to having the young Michael, who’s at his best,but I’m sure he’s going to be just as good as ever.”Is there any doubt that the cars with the prancing horse represent the Ferrari factory?This year marks the return of the Silver Arrows to Formula One after a 55 year absence.They only know one way to run these events,and you know what their expectations are.It is possible that one year from now there will be postings here to the effect that the 7 or 8 time champ is at his best right now.And that his currently winless understudy is the revelation of the year.It remains to be seen.There will be new pieces on the Mercedes in Bahrain-a classic case of sandbagging by the defending constructor’s champions?I have no crystal ball,but if I’m right-enjoy the final week of a passing era.Good luck to Lewis,Jenson,Fernando,Felipe and company.you are going to need it.

49

I’d just like to point out that Alonso did beat MS twice in ’05 and ’06 so there is no reason why he can’t do it again and LH has proved he is at least the equal of Alonso….so I don’t think they need all the luck you think they do… it’s going to be very close.

50

It was only a month ago that Hamilton was talking up how he “blew Alonso away” in 2007 and mentioning how he became the top dog in the team.

I just don’t think the leopard has changed his spots and wonder whether he really has ‘humility’.

51
less talking, more racing

he is talking too much. I hope he doesn’t turn into one of those pilots that think they have the obligation to speak, when it’s time to keep quiet. less is more here.

52
Zobra Wambleska

That’s an odd comment coming from you. Have you counted your remarks on this thread? Not trying to pick on you, but …..

53

give credit where its due – Lewis has been very quiet over the winter testing period

54

Just to think about it, Lewis Hamilton does start to seem like Tiger Woods!

55

Utterly stupid comment.

56
less talking, more racing

because he likes women? nothing wrong with that.

57

Why? Because he has the same colour skin?

58

Many already we said… Alonso to it was not a demon, Alonso was not “the unique” culprit of 2007, but the newspapers and press of UK said the opposite, and all the fans UK swallowed the lie. All gave the reason to Rum Dennis and LH and discredits to FA.

Don’t mention it this fact, the sweepings serves to rectify… the evil either or this scattered, everything smells bad, LH idol, FA demon and thus it will be by always between fans UK

59

Very poetic, but what does it mean?

60

I think it´s either google translator or Master Yoda´s English tutorial in action.

61

“all the fans UK swallowed the lie”

Please, credit us with at least some intelligence!

62

It’s all part of what makes up F1 folk law, Senna taking off Prost and vice versatile, Mansell’s blow out in Adelade, Schmi taking off Hill, Villeneuve and parking his car in Monaco. Hamilton’s illegal overtake in Belgium on Kimi and Hungarian GP quali with Alonso. These are tales as a fan I’ll be recounting to my possibly indifferent children for years. So what’s different with journalism and a pifling 3 years. Granted 1966 world cup stories wearing thin, bring on 2010.

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