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Hamilton centre of attention as Montreal weekend kicks off
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Hamilton centre of attention as Montreal weekend kicks off
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jun 2011   |  4:55 pm GMT  |  230 comments

Lewis Hamilton was right at the centre of things in the early stages of the Montreal race weekend. He took part in the FIA press conference and was obliged to explain his behaviour in Monaco, where he criticised the FIA stewards and fellow drivers and what he had done about it afterwards.


Hamilton said that he had been home and had a rest and time to reflect on his words and actions last week. He wrote a letter to FIA president Jean Todt apologising for his words about the stewarding, and accusations that the FIA stewards pick on him.

It was suggested to him that Todt was considering a six race ban had he not received some kind of letter from Hamilton, but the 2008 champion denied that this had been the motivating factor behind him writing,
” It was not in my mind,” he said. “I had time to reflect on the weekend. We all know what it’s like to be under pressure and it’s easy to say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment. Afterwards I accepted that I was not in a position to make the move and I apologised.

“You have good and bad days and that was one of my worst days at the office. What’s important is that you learn from situations like this. Overtaking is hard in F1 and every move is questionable. Sometimes you get it right sometimes I don’t. I would prefer not to be in the stewards office but I’m trying to learn.”

Hamilton revealed the he had called Felipe Massa and talked through their collision, “I have a good relationship with Felipe,” he said. “I gave him a call and he’d calmed down and understood the position. With Pastor, I’ve known him and his family a long time. He was very quick that weekend and I do not want to put anyone out of the Grand Prix. ”

Hamilton was very interesting on the subject of comparison with other drivers. He was asked if his “behaviour was comparable with a young Schumacher?”

“I would hope not,” he said pointedly. He went on to talk of himself as a “passionate racer” and evoked some names he would prefer to be compared to, “Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton, passionate drivers I hope one day to be referred to as something similar to them.”

Other matters arising in the morning conference were Sergio Perez confirming that he will race this weekend after being cleared by FIA doctors following his crash in Monaco.

Renault have a raft of updates on their car this weekend including a new rear wing and DRS which is designed to shed more drag than before as well as a new front wing to counterbalance it.

The drivers talked around the subject of racing in Bahrain, but not had anything interesting or firm to say about it, Most were concerned only with whether they would personally be safe there.

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1

Its a shame to see such a wonderful talent like Lewis is making a clown outta’ himself. I think Vetel’s humble conduct and this year the dignity reflected (so far) by Alonso are being well received and appreciated. I think the eras of Senna-Prost and Giles-Dider were great when they existed, but now the times have changed. Its about delivering results, I think Shuey has brought this to F1. I don’t think Hamilton is even tenth as quick as Shuey in his prime, the only driver who can claim this is Alonso, who was the Giant Killer which ended Shuey’s Domination in his prime.

Rest of Ones like Hamilton are nothing but Hot Air of Gasses.

Vetel however, is setting wonderful standards, he quietly goes about doing his job, is humble and friendly to everyone. So, yes… While Hamilton suffers Senna-complex.. Vetel on the other hand is bringing down-to-earth-ness to F1, Like Giles brought Passion, Senna Dedication, Prost precision, Schuey Result Orientation, Kimi & Hakkinen composure and Alonso (this year revelation and I hope it stays) Dignity.

Maybe.. Hamilton should humanize and be a little more genuine as a person 🙂

2

I think Lewis’ comment regarding the Schumi comparison is disparaging to Schumi.

With that being said, do we want his real opinion or a PR blurb?

I would rather have his real opinion, many drivers give answers that come out of the PR coaching manual, which sounds nice and respectful, but hardly truthful all the time.

After watching Senna the movie and seeing how honest and forthright he was in his views it just makes me long for the old days.

3

If we want his real opinion, then Lewis will have to have the attachments to say ‘I said it, I meant it, and that’s all I have to say.’ But Lewis also cares far more about being liked than Senna did, he cares much more about public opinion of himself than Senna did. And so he will give his opinion, then take it back. There are drivers who still do this, Mark Webber is one.

4

To all those who have such an issue with perceived ‘arrogance’ in F1 drivers. Im afraid you may be following the wrong sport. Arrogance, whether on the surface or cleverly masked, is part and parcel of sport. Every driver thinks he’s the best. It’s part of the reason why i love the sport.

5

Arrogance is not part of the sport. It is part of being weak and stupid.

What I find interesting, is how often people say things like “a truly great driver can only be agressive/ruthless/with a giant ego…otherwise they wouldnt be successful”

The drivers that raced back in 1960s or even 70s were done using the same technique as today. They are made out of same materials too, flesh, blood etc. But it seems to me that back then, all those Fangios, Jimclarks and Jackiestewarts were able to do both, race very hard( or even race their heart out :D), but NOT act like monsters at the same time. In my opinion, that is the greatest skill you can have as a racing driver.

But lack of that skill is a disease of younger generation drivers in general, not only Hamiltons problem. The less we demand, the more careless driving we see. I believe, it is the result of over protecting everything, racing must be dangerous to keep away guys that are not really interested in competition.

You cant get killed easily these days, so you need to have some other motivator(efficient penalties) to drive with your brain switched fully on. So I support harsh penalties( 6 race ban for pitlane speeding, why not), but provided the stewarding is consistent.

But what is Hamiltons problem then?

I have no idea why this guy thinks he should be compared with Senna or Villeneuve.

1) even when Gilles was racing, car/team was the most important thing. To dream that you win in 2011 because you race your heart out may give you a great feeling for a second, but it doesnt work like that anymore.

2) no reason to compare yourself with Senna or Villeneuve. Because if you look more closely, actually they were were not that great. He should try to do better, not try to be like them.

3) most importantly, he is nothing like them anyway. He might have some of Sennas worst on-track habits and a yellow helmet, but thats it. Out of the car, Senna was somebody, but Hamilton? Moreover, comparison with G.Villeneuve is completely inappropriate. As far as I know, Villeneuve had a reputation of driving like crazy, but there were no complaints, huge respect mainly. Again, something we cant say about Lewis.

6

well if thats why you like sport then you will have more fun watch a soap opera with drama queens in every scene.

7

And who are your favourite drivers?

8

Hakinin and vettal….you point been what exactly?

9

James,

My view is , what Hamilton did in Monaco is all part and parcel of competing at the highest level we all call F1. If you are as determined as Hamilton is , it may happen that you find yourself engaged in these types of altercations. When you are giving everything you have to beat your opponents there are times where you can make mistakes. It has happened to Schumacher where his competitive spirit would get the better of him at times and I think it can happen to any of the top drivers like Fernando or Vettel to name a few.

10

My opinions :

1. Lewis Hamilton is great at handling an F1 car.

2. Lewis Hamilton is NOT great at handling difficult questions from the media.

Really, all he has to say in response to questions is :

(1) “I thought that the over-taking attmempts were reasonable but I can see that it’s possible that others might think otherwise.”

(2) “I probably shouldnt have mouthed-off after the race. I’ve talked to Felipe and Pastor and all is ok.”

(3) NEVER try to describe himself (even when asked to do so)

(4) NEVER try to compare himself in any way to another driver (even when asked to do so)

(5) Generally just try to be a bit more humble !

If he just followed those sorts of guidelines, the whole thing would go away quicksmart.

11

Not all that difficult really.

12

they threatened him with a six race ban? that is ridiculous. in that case he should have taken a stance and not written that letter.

so what he called other drivers ridiculous, he was upset and had a bad weekend. things happen, and if the other drivers get upset, or he later feels he went overboard, they can deal with that in private.

as far as the whole race thing goes, the outcry does not stem from him “pulling the race card”, because he did not do that. saying “because i’m black” was a cynical quip, not a joke. it meant “you’re asking me a stupid question, how am i supposed to answer that”, the message was “i don’t know” not “because i’m black”. what got people upset was that first off, hamilton acknowledged being black, and second, acknowledged that racism exists, and that he is not exempt from it.so he should have let them go ahead and ban him for six races. so what, he is not going to win the championship this year anyway, let them ruin the show and make themselves look stupid by overreacting.

13

Does anyone else think its a great shame that the stewards feel that they have to get involved in every overtake in F1?

Of course the stewards have to get involved when someone is completely taken off by another driver that is clearly in the wrong – examples of this include Barrichello in Austraila (I think it was this year) or Vettle on Button at Spa.

But come on, this is racing, true fans want to turn on the TV and watch racing. We don’t want to watch cars going past each other with massive speed differentials either through DRS or one car on tyres that are shot and another on fresher rubber.

There is only one narrow line around a race track – especially now that there are so many marbles off the racing line due to the Pirelli tyres this year – anyone venturing onto those will find themselves sideways at the least or into the barrier (Massa Monaco). Therefore unless people want to watch processional races the cars have to come very very close to each other in order to pass. There is inevitably going to be a little bit of bumping and rubbing here and there and whilst I don’t want it to be like touring cars I do find this acceptable.

I’m sorry but if there is a car alongside you as you turn into the corner and you don’t give it any room and you crash, it is not the fault of the car behind. Hamilton found this out to his cost against Webber in Singapore. What do you expect the car behind to do? It is not a sunday afternoon drive – it is racing.

14

He went on to talk of himself as a “passionate racer” and evoked some names he would prefer to be compared to, “Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton, passionate drivers I hope one day to be referred to as something similar to them………….Hes a funny one Surely hes joking 🙂

15

The Schumacher comparison was just a typical trappy question. The implication of the question was that Schumacher was too forceful in his early days and that’s how Lewis understood the question. The way the question was put was that if Lewis said ‘yes’ that’s exactly how I want to be remembered, he would have been saying, ‘yes’ I want to be known as a bulldozer. Some drivers are a bit more savvy than Lewis in relation to such traps, but it was not a case of Lewis actively wanting to disrespect Schumacher’s achievements. In fact, Lewis was implicitly complementary about Schumacher’s overtake on him at Monaco and again implicitly about Schumacher giving him room when Lewis took him at St. Devote.

16

Will Lewis Hamilton ever not be the centre of attention for more than a little while?

From 2007 to 2011, take your pick of situations and stories he’s been involved in, not necessarily on-track.

Does even he know why?

17

Hamilton’s not in the fastest car and he still gets all of the hate. lol

He’s been trolling in F1 since 2007, hasn’t he?

18

James,

just a bit of topic but,

recently in Russian media I saw Alonso’s interview re Canada, and what frustrated me, he said: we will be in good shape here but we won’t win race.

I’m not an Alonso fan, but earlier he never revealed such pessimism, although there was much to worry about.

but what is the case, think in Canada they will have perhaps the best opportunity in this year to win GP.

I think in his team would not like this statement either, so looks like he assured himself if they fail?

19

I wouldn’t take that statement as it is if I were you. Sure he is saying that, but you can be sure he will be going all out on Sunday come race day. I really dont believe Alonso is the type of person who accepts his circumstance for what they are, if there is an opportunity to win the race he will go for it trust me.

20

I have to confess to not being a Hamilton fan but a 6 race ban would have been ridiculous and way out of proportion.

I do think Hamilton still has some growing up to do though. Whilst undoubtedly very talented and possibly the quickest driver out there he is far from being the complete package. Comparisons to Schumacher, Senna, Prost, etc do not stack up as they all had the ability to make their own decisions. Hamilton seems to need his team to tell him when to come in for tyres, when to slow down, etc. Then he criticizes them when the wrong decision is made. Perhaps he should take some of that responsibility for himself? All the truly great drivers were able to drive fast AND think about strategy. Yes, they had info and advice from their team but they would make the final call. To be fair Hamilton is not the only current driver lacking in that respect. As much as I like Massa as a person he is another who needs to be told what to do all the time. Maybe it is just how F1 is now?

21

Bit of a *sigh* here…

There was no 6 race ban possibility.

Todt said that CLEARLy tongue in cheek in one interview.

Bit disappointed in James not to either notice that, or, to stir up a little controversy in this thread.

He said “maybe I should have given him a 6 race ban”, then something like ‘but we chose to close the matter’.

James, please clarify if possible, because hundreds of commentors here are not understanding the reality of what happened.

22

Having been a follower of F1 since the late 60’s, most acknowledge and accept that Senna was the best of all (to which I certainly agree).

If today’s rules had been in place and reporters reported as they do today during his time Senna would just have been another driver as he was a racer of the type today’s F1 just doesn’t seem to want.

James if you reported on incidents with Hamilton and put yourself back in Senna’s time you’d be cheering him from the rooftops as, from what I’ve see he’s done nothing wrong.

The stealing of his amazing win at Spa will forever go down for me as one of the most unjust decisions of today’s F1 – is it any wonder the guy feels certain elements are out to get him?

23

A six race ban would be unimaginable.

Good for him for his calming words and God Bless. (or whatever is your …)

24

Although its a good thing he apologized and did so officially through a letter, he surely could have been wiser about his answer regarding Schumacher. Schumacher has achieved more in his life that few sportmen in any form of sports can only dream of. To say something like “I hope i’m not being compared to a young Schumacher” is condescending and demeaning to one of F1’s greats. He could’ve simply said ” I don’t like being compared to anybody, i have my own identity” .

Hamilton increasingly reminds me of Villeneuve, not Gilles but Jacques.Someone who was talented,walked straight into the best team,won a title in his 2nd season and never said anything intelligent after that.

25

Jacques has always been the word’s expert on his own opinion.

26

I think this story has been drug on long enough. As I said on another thread, I’ll allow a driver to still have a bit of the red mist in his eyes after the race and cut him some slack. Lewis immediately retracted his statment and apologized to the stewards. His twitter apology was lame, but he has since spoken to Felipe and Pastor directly. That’s enough.

27

For all his talent, I actually think Lewis is quite an insecure character. He talks about hoping to be compared to drivers like Senna, but the funny thing is I can’t imagine these great drivers ever saying something similar. For example, Schumacher was renowned for having very little knowledge of F1 history, he just got in his car and did his thing. Just seems as if Lewis is trying a bit too hard.

28

Totally agree.

29

What is wrong with Hamiltons PR!

Hamilton tries and repair damaged ego and gain public sympathy after he realised that he was too hot headed and too dangerous on the track at Monaco, yet you show no respect for one of the all time greats???

Its obvious you rate Senna as your idol, but like him or loathe him, Schumacher’s record will remain at the top of F1’s history for a very long time. We are not talking about a couple of lucky WDC titles.

The only current driver that might challenge is Vettel, he needs 6 more WDC titles in possibly 12 years of peak racing. Hamilton would need 6 more titles in 10 years, and Alonso would need 5 titles in 7 years (based on age of 35). Sure they might race beyond 35, however chances of winning WDC will be very low.

Hamilton, you can be a tenacious driver with some respect, just learn from Alonso. And how about trying to be your own man, instead of continuously trying to be someone else…

Its up to the fans and the media to compare drivers and rank them according to all time greats, it has a lot less value when its you trying to compare yourself…

30

Hamilton had a terrible drive in Monaco. While he is undoubtedly one of the most exciting driver in F1, his attempted overtakes showed frustration and impatience.

I hope his comments were more a reflection of this same frustration, rather than his true feelings.

31

A six race ban????? For being a racing driver???? What utter B/S!!!!! If the other drivers had been aware of what was hapening around them, Hamilton’s incidents wouldn’t have happened!!!! If they were driving saloons the passes would have been ok! (If the overtaking driver is up to the “B” pillar it is his corner and the overtaken driver is guilty if he turns in.)

I’m no Hamilton fan, but I feel there’s been a big hue and cry about nothing, and some blame should be apportioned on the other two as well!!

PK.

32

Quite right!

There is a bigger issue here that worries me. What are the stewards doing to the racing?

Drivers are going to think twice and stop going for gaps on marginal tracks and we are going to rely more on gimmicks like DRS.

33

I was extremely critical of Hamilton after the last race, but he seems since to have got his head together and has done exactly the right thing – i.e. belatedly but candidly admitted that he was the party at fault in both incidents, that his post-race comments were out of order, and has apologised to both the stewards and the drivers.

I don’t understand the views of some people here that Hamilton was unfairly penalised or is somehow being victimised, given that Hamilton has now agreed that he was at fault.

If Hamilton gets a good result in Canada, which is likely given that it’s a favourite track for both Maclaren and Hamilton, he’ll get some positive momentum back. But if he stuffs up this race, things probably won’t be all that pretty. So a little bit of pressure, but that sometimes seems to work OK for Hamilton.

34
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

WTF! Six race ban…ludicrous.

Put someone’s life in danger and you get a stop-go penalty. Criticize the stewards in jest and you get a six race ban……

Oh well, this comes from the same organisation that fines McLaren $100m and slaps Briatore on the wrist.

35

something to think about for all those saying the stewards all look to jump to blame lewis is that we have had hundreds of different race stewards from many different country’s over the years hamiltons been in f1.

you must also remember that the last 2 years we have had a driver advising the race stewards so you would then also have to believe that all the ex/current drivers who have taken the role also want to have a go at lewis.

a few years ago everyone complained we needed an ex-driver on the stewards board to advise on incidents, we have that now & people still complain when a penalty is handed out.

allan mcnish was the driver steward at mmonaco & agreed with the penaltys hamilton recieved so are you going to say that mcnish doesn’t understand racing or is biased against hamilton?

36

I thought the stewards were the same for each race apart from the driver steward?

Was fascinating to see in the Senna movie that the FIA president Ballastre seemed to be deciding what the punishments were.

37

no, its 3 different stewards for each race weekend.

38

OK, full disclosure. I’m English, but I live in the US, so I admit to supporting McLaren. I see Ferrari as mortal enemies. But having said that, I like to see the best person win. I like to see good spirited racing. But there does seem to be a serious lack of objectivity among many F1 followers when you read fan comments. I think the stewards interfere far too much in today’s racing. Last year was a big improvement when they started having a driver steward. A lot of the absurd penalties stopped. The notion of “causing an avoidable collision” is absurd. Clearly all collisions are avoidable, if people just follow each other around, leaving 10 car lengths between them and the person in front. Of course, that wouldn’t lead to very interesting racing. Now, I’m not a Vettel fan, (I do, however, admire his talent), but when he hit Button at Spa last year, he didn’t intend it, he just lost control of the car in the wet and hit Jenson amidships, damaging his radiator. It’s all very well saying that people should never lose control of a car, but when people are close to the limit, they will occasionally step over it.

So I make two observations. Firstly, Hamilton was very upset after Monaco having been deprived by Sergio’s accident of a chance for pole, and then to be almost taken out by JA running into the back of him. I will raise my hand and admit that when things go wrong I have been known to get annoyed and say things I didn’t mean. Secondly, Hamilton does have a point. The stewards do seem to pick on him rather a lot. No one ever gets penalized for hitting Hamilton, but he gets told off all the time. And for what? Trying to win, and caring enough to want to win? Are we going to make that a crime in F1 now?

Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, in my view, constantly brought the sport into disrepute. The FIA’s constant support of Ferrari over McLaren has been a joke. I was unhappy when I saw Todt was elected FIA president, but it appears, for the most part my fears were unfounded. The FIA hasn’t been blatantly pro Ferrari since he took over. There was the incidence of Ferrari not getting a significant penalty for their cheating with Team Orders. But they got their comeuppance when they lost the championship. They also destroyed the morale of one of their drivers in the process, which has hurt them. But Todt’s comments about banning Hamilton for 6 races was just entirely too childish for a grown man to make. It is a FACT that stewarding in F1 is not constant, and generally pretty poor. After all, what can guys in blazers really be expected to know about it. I think it’s time F1 considered full time stewards who move from circuit to circuit, rather like Charlie Whiting does.

The FIA isn’t the only screwed up organization – just look at FIFA. But it’s about time people like Todt, Bernie etc. realized that the paying fans don’t give a damn about them, they care about the drivers and the cars.

This post hasn’t been as coherent as I would have liked, but I’m not going to go over and redo it. But the bottom line is that races should be decided on the race track by drivers and their crews and officials should, for the most part, be nameless and stay out of the way.

In case anyone cares, I started watching F1 back in the 60s as an avid Jim Clark fan. After Clark and numerous others died, culminating in Rindt in 1970, I gave up following it so avidly, but since 2000 I have gotten into it again. I sure am glad people don’t die like they used to, but I think some of the fans have gone soft and want it all too tightly controlled.

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