F1 Winter Break
Sutil and Hamilton friendship remains frosty
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 May 2013   |  6:47 pm GMT  |  103 comments

Force India’s Adrian Sutil has suggested he and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton are still some way off sorting out their differences after the two came face-to-face in an FIA press conference today for the first time this season.

The duo were once good friends, having got on well as they made their way through the various junior formulae and in their first few years in Formula 1 together.

The situation changed in 2011, though, when Sutil was involved in an incident in a Shanghai nightclub following Hamilton’s Chinese Grand Prix win.

Sutil had hoped Hamilton would serve as a witness, but it never materialised. Sutil was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm for assaulting Lotus executive Eric Lux. The 30-year-old was given an 18-month suspended sentence and a 200,000 euro (£166,139) fine.

The German missed last season, but returned with Force India in 2013. And while Hamilton was quite open when asked about the situation in the press conference ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Sutil was far more reserved.

“Things are different, definitely,” said Hamilton. “We’ve spoken a couple of times and we’ve planned to get together at some stage and just have a chat basically.

“We’ve been great friends for a long, long time and we’ve had some of the best times together along the way, especially, as you said, in Formula Three times.

“You can only really count your good friends on one hand maybe, so as people say, good friends are hard to come by, so I want to make sure we get things right.”

Sutil then added:Well, as he said, yes, different and I’m still waiting for a coming together. I can’t say anything more.”

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Well...awkward. Makes one wonder if Hamilton did Sutil a favor or a disservice, especially if the testimony wouldn't be so much in Sutil's favor.


Well if Hamilton didn't give evidence for Sutil, it means he didn't give evidence that would have on the face of it been beneficial.


Good point.

Sutil did attack Eric Lux afterall. What did he expect Lewis to say? o_O


Maybe the truth as he saw it? Like the testimony that Lux was aggressive or just backing up the claim that it looked like an accident, who knows? We could speculate a lot, like good friends would have a phone call and decide together that it'd better to stay away, and it didn't looks like something like that never happened. After all it's something between the two, who are we to judge something we know nothing about really?


Maybe stand up for his long time friend and be a character witness!!!!

You know, do what decent human beings do, help a friend if they can and speak the truth in the process.........

Lewis could have said.."Yes Adrian did do something stupid BUT I have never seen him strike another person or act in that way in the 7 years (guessing) I have known him".

Job done


Adrian Sutil doesn't seem very regretful about the attack.

Could be because english isn't his native tongue but he says "What I did maybe was not right..."


Look at 02m42s

How can he not see that Hamilton didn't want to get mixed up in his mess?!


I find it interesting that Peter Windsor described Sutil post GBH as a lovely guy and great to have back in the paddock in the same podcast that he again tossed Vettel under the bus for Malaysia. Perspective be damned.


Hammilton stabbed him in the back, what do you expect?

If my buddy did something like that to me, I would never speak to him. That is even worse than your girl cheating on you. Buddies stick with you through everything. Not think about their image and run and hide, leave you to dry.


Who knows? Maybe Sutil asked Hamilton to lie for him to which Hamilton initially agreed and then thought better of it. It's not like he turned up to testify in favor of Eric Lux (now that could be described as a back stabbing).

Perhaps Hamilton was advised against having any association with the trial as the negative publicity could affect his negotiations with Mercedes? Right or wrong, it is not relevant. He is obviously willing to attempt to repair the friendship. That's that. Sutil can accept the olive branch or not, up to him.

Different situation but consider this. When Ronnie Petersen died, Mario Andretti didn't attend his funeral because he was advised legally to honor his previously scheduled commitment. Bad form? Yes, but understandable when considering the potential personal implications to himself and subsequently his family. Andretti had tremendous respect for Petersen and in no way at all intended any disrespect by not attending his funeral. Mario Andretti as with Lewis Hamilton should not be slandered, lynched and condemned for making decisions which perhaps were not the most pleasant and admirable.


You could way something like: "I was strongly advised not to attend, very volatile situation for me and I cant afford this right now, hope you'll understand. Sorry pal, I'll tell you later." or: "Look, I know we're friends but you can't expect me to lie in court and if I said the truth it would not be to your advantage, I think It'd better if I stayed away. Best of luck."

But you don't turn the phone off and hide like a coward.


My true friends would not lie for me nor would I expect them too. I'm sure if Hamilton thought Sutil was being wronged he would have testified.



Hamilton never stabbed Sutil in the back. If any stabbing it's Sutil on Eric Lux. Hamilton just wanted to stay out of it!


Come on people, that's private life. Here we should be talking about racing, overtaking, rules, whatever... But bringing back 2011 gossip, c'mon!

These F-1 guys are no best friends, not best pals or anything. They are competitive animals with highly developed killer instincts (seems some even off-track).

Don't get carried away by flashy press reports.

Let the racing continue...


Fanatical fans will be fanatical fans after all...


"Fanatical fans will be fanatical fans after all…"

So maybe you are a fanatical fan of Sutil then? The same can be said in reverse.

Rather than pointlessly labeling someone, try providing some constructive discussion to the topic.


Unless of course he was (as the courts determined) clearly guilty...

Or is he really just annoyed that Lewis wouldn't come and be economical with the truth on his behalf?


Hamilton probably did a favor by not attending the hearing (or otherwise, we never know) - when he may be under oath, he may have said something that may not have favoured Sutil's case.

Anyway, time to move forward for both of them - either reconcile or declare war. This way this personal details don't become a media fodder and be hounded everytime they are near each other.


Lewis is in the public eye, his image is his brand, at the end of the day there was more witnesses than Lewis, if he was guilty he was guilty whether or not Lewis was involved in trial, who cares, I don't think there is much of a story here, drivers only look after themselves not each other blah blah blah


Sutil stabbed someone..accidentaly or not.

Why would Lewis get involved in that? Why would Sutil even ask Lewis to be a witness? Lewis needs to keep his options open in case some day a move to Lotus would arise.

Why didn't Sutil ask another person who was present to be his witness? I find it hard to believe it was only Lewis and Sutil present when the incident happened.

Why would Sutil need Lewis as a witness when in almost every high class bar/nightclub there are cameras which can serve as proof?

You see how many questions there are? I find it ridiculous you find Lewis the bad guy here when he didn't even do anything to Lux.


Agreed on this although I think you explained it better when replying to Erik. I think the issue was that the evidence seemed pretty clear-cut against Adrian. Therefore I think if Lewis had been called as a witness on Adrian's side it could have looked pretty bad for him - I mean, if he had lied, surely that's perverting the course of justice?

Also worth remembering the trial was at the end of 2011 and that season Lewis had a really up-and-down season. He was probably all over the place mentally by the end of the year and again, if he knew Adrian had done something, then going there would have risked digging yet another hole for himself.


i'm a lewis fan and still think that not showing up was wrong. if you have nothing good to say you turn up and say that you didn't see anything. or, if you feel your buddy was wrong, you tell him and explain that that is the reason you won't show up. sutil said that hamilton basically disappeared and that is not a good look. i wouldn't speak to him either.


Yep, my point exactly. Dont go running away, especially not from your friends when they are in need. A straight conversation between the two at the time would have sorted it all out. But no, Lewis decided to turn his phone off instead. Thats no friend.



"...some day a move to Lotus would arise"

Not sure how that is relevant. It's important to do things for friends when in need. Period. Some reasoning like "Someday *may be* I may need these people so I won't help my friend" is a silly argument, and I think you agree.

If Sutil asked him to lie, of course, that's different, but I think in general, Hamilton could have at least showed up and told the truth under oath.

And I think Sutil wanted to convey what was said at the scene. Cameras wouldn't have captured that.


That's a good point sir, but perhaps a circular argument? May be Sutil was convicted because Hamilton didn't show up...


"If Sutil asked him to lie.."

Well, Sutil was convicted..


You just said it is OK to stab your friends in the back to cover your own butt.



See my comment just above in response to Erik.


Some friend you would make, mate.


There must be a very good reason to leave your best mate out to dry.

Maybe what he witnessed was a great reason.

Try and stab someone in the neck with a broken glass.

Great reason.


Erik, you say I fail to grasp the fact that Lewis took Adrian's side and said he would be his witness.

Well, that doesn't mean Adrian was not guilty. Maybe in the heat of things (as we all know things happen in clubs when we had couple of drinks) Lewis took Adrian's side, but when actually getting a call from lawyers and stuff, Lewis might've realised it was Adrian's fault. In that case, it would've been stupid for Lewis to get involved.

On top of this, Lewis and Adrian were not best of friends, growing up together, having barbeques together every weekend and going in holidays. They were friends and that's it, as far as I know.


You fail to grasp the fact that at the time, Lewis backed Adrian and indeed said that he would turn up at the hearing, then at the last minute he pulls out via a text message if I remember correctly, leaving Sutil literraly standing at the courtroom without his witness. THAT'S the problem here, that Hamilton would lead on his friend like that then at the last minute he wont even answer his phone.. That's low, and says a lot about Hamiltons character. If a mate of mine did that to me I would want nothing to do with him either. On the other hand if he just said straight out that he cant help from the begining Im sure Sutil would have understood that, but Hamilton didnt do that, he led his friend on by offering support, then left him high and dry when it really counted. No integrity..


You don't know me but just like Lewis, I wouldn't go as a witness to one of my friends if I have nothing to say that would help my buddy.

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe Lewis himself thought that Adrian was at fault and maybe that's why he didn't want to be a witness? He wouldn't like to lie or say the truth and cause more damage to Adrian.

In the end, Adrian was convicted and it looks to me Lewis did the right thing to stay away.


Do you think that was a fair question in the press conference, James? I think I'd have told Ian to mind his own business if I was Lewis or Adrian.

I can understand there tends to be a lot of interest in relationships between teammates given the unique position they finds themselves in within sports (rivals playing for the same team but against each other) and I realise F1 is 50% soap opera but I think thas just ridiculous...and to be honest having an article on the subject on an F1 site like yours just feels wrong too.

Having said that I guess there were articles about the spat between Woods and Garcia (before it turned more dramatic) on the bbc etc so mabe it's not that unique. Putting them on the spot in front of each other was out of order imo though.


"I realise F1 is 50% soap opera"

That's the best quote I've seen for a long time 🙂


He could have said that if he wanted to.

But he didn't and that's why it's interesting


I don't understand why Sutil is still annoyed at Hamilton, it was stupid of him to do what he does, and he seems to think Hamilton is to blame, he only has himself to blame for what he did.


As people say, good friends are hard to come by



Good mates are hard to come by because good mates stick by you come thick or thin.

So yes, I can understand Sutil's reservation for once bitten, twice shy e.g. I would have serious second thoughts about climbing Mount Everest with someone that abandoned at the summit.

But hey, we all drop the ball, we all mess up (due to a number of reasons such as bad advise) so if I were Sutil, I would let what happened be water under the bridge especially if the guilty party is trying to reach out (though the fact that Sutil is still waiting for Lewis to reach out is suspect) for in life it's better to forgive than end up being bitter.

But as I said, when it comes to climbing mountains, it's much better to pack extra oxygen tanks than trust a slippery friend.


Sutil stabbed Lux in the neck with a glass. This is an undeniable fact. The only question is did he intend to do it or was it accidental.

The court was not convinced by Sutil's story. I do not know what you think Hamilton could say that would have this case dismissed. There is no way Hamilton could possibly know if it was deliberate or not.


I like this comment for it's essay-like prose and philosophical undertones.


Jesus, why the nonsense about mountaineering! - The guy is a convicted criminal, who glassed someone in a bar brawl. Who in their right mind would want to be associated with someone like that!


Depends on what was Sutil "expecting" Hamilton to "say for him" in the hearing. Buddy or no buddy, when it comes to legal case, you better stick with the truth or just stay away. It would be foolish to assume anything here - I would have don't what Hamilton did here, probably thats what his lawyer suggested. Are you suggesting that you go infront of a court of law and lie for your buddy? I hope not.

It looks like Sutil needs to follow Hamilton's path in "growing up".


@ Joel

If you recall Sutil's reaction outside the court after the trial, it seems Lewis had the smoking gun evidence that would have got this case thrown out of court.


If Hamilton did have key evidence that exonerated Sutil, in a U.S. proceeding, if that evidence came into the hands of the prosecution (e.g, from when they intereviewed Hamilton), then the prosecution would be bound to disclose it. If Sutil's defense team thought it was so important, they could have subpoenaed Hamilton and forced him to come. I would expect any developed legal system to have similar features. So, its obvious that Hamilton's views were not essential to the proceeding, whether or not he was being a good mate by not showing up.


That's just assumptions. Sutil DID make the attack. Hamilton just happened to be there. What he saw or not, don't matter to us because whatever we say are just guesses of what Hamilton might have seen. He might have seen the real stuff and saw Sutil attack Eric Lux. In that case, what's Hamilton suppose to say?

Let's go with the rule that a person is innocent unless proven guilty, shall we?


no doubt mclaren asked lewis to not get involved, but why would he stand by sutil if he's guilty


100% agree. There is much more than what is being talked about here. I'm pretty sure McL (as well as Hamilton's lawyer) would have had a say in it.

Sutil can't expect Hamilton to serve as an umbrella when he threw sh** at up at the fan, esp when it becomes a legal case. I sincerly hope they both settle and move on as I like them both.


Hypothetically, lets say Mclaren's legal team ordered Lewis to stay from Sutil's court case >>> so far pretty understandable.

But here's the question,

Why did Lewis then change his phone number at just about the same time >>> pretty suspect behaviour.

Yes, all this behaviour from someone that once fell out with his own father and not any father but one that helped develop his career.

So yeah, if one can throw their own father under the bus, what hope do the rest of us have.


How about the fact that Sutil took the next plane out of China? Is that being a solid friend to skip town when you know the cops are investigating a crime, in which you stabbed someone, in which your good friend was present? What if Hamilton, being in Sutil's party, got locked up and charged while Sutil was chilling back home, unable to be interviewed. Not to mention people were immediately of course saying, of course bad-boy hip-hop Hamilton would be a fight a club. I think its not Hamilton who should be extending the olive branch here.


This is funny! 🙂

If your friend decides to drink a glass of "never to return." Would you join them? There are lines that must not be crossed, slashing another person is such a line. Anything could have happened.


Horror of horrors, Lewis changed his phone number?!

The only suspect behaviour is Sutil stabbing someone in the neck


So, are you still living with your parents 🙂


@ Joel

Yes, I still live with my mamma


Why was Hamilton obligated here? Because it was his party? Because Sutil is his friend? Are we not aware of some details?

You make your mess, you clean it up. Friends don't cause crap at a friend's victory party.


For once I agree with you.


Yo Adrian!

Grow up.If hamilton had testified you might still be in jail.


Hamilton's father has been quite controlling in the past and it is understandable that it would put a strain in their relationship with him as his manager. He did not throw him anywhere, if anything it was his father that attempted to throw Hamilton in a different direction.


It's funny that Lewis is trying so hard to be "gangsta" and all that crap that is less edgy and alternative than my grandmas record collection, and yet, when presented an opportunity to really show what he's made of, he of course revealed just what a corporate robot he really is.


LOL, just to clear it up. I didn't mean he should have joined in the fight in the nightclub. 🙂 I meant that he should have helped his friend, instead of steering as far away as possible and going into "unavailable" mode, just to avoid a bit of potential controversy.


of course he is going to steer as far away as possible. in my humble opinion I don't balme Hamilton one bit. Why he chose not to come forward (i.e. whether it's because of McLaren telling him so, or it's his own doing) is not the problem here.

The problem is Sutil did something wrong and expects LH to bail him out. What, there weren't any other credible witnesses present? Why specifically LH? Anything to do with him being a high profile individual?

We will probably never know the exact incidents leading up to Sutil's final action but suffice to say having a go at LH when it's Sutil who stabbed/slashed someone is a bit unfair.


Given the circumstances AS behaviour is totally understandable- especially if LH evidence would have exonerated him. At lest this is the impression AS gave at the time of the trial.

With friends like that, who need enemies. It is totally up to LH to make amends for his less than stellar behaviour at the time. Whoever advised him- if in fact someone did, made a hash of it..


how do you know LH's evidence would have exonerated AS?

What happens if LH came forward at the time and it turns out the same verdict was drawn as now - I'm guessing it would still be LH's fault because he got involved when he should have kept quiet?

I do agree though that someone was pulling strings behind the scenes (i.e. giving LH "advice" on what to do).


This feels a little fly on the wall, picking over AS + LH friendship. They know what happened - I don't give a monkeys.

But i does get interesting if they start racing against each other [unlikely given the tyres] and their shared history through these events affects their driving. I don't think I've seen them wheelbanging yet. Maybe the tyres will be fixed before their friendship...


Then send AS to Pirelli to be fixed at the same time, that'd probably help to solve the matter 🙂


please do not turn into a people magazine !


A bit confused I am about your statement ...


I couldn´t agree more!!! I think the question was completly out of place. The reporters have the right to ask and Hamilton and Sutil are public figures. But it wasn´t the right place nor the right time. The questions should be about the race, tyres and things related to F1.Their friendship is a personal matter between the two of them.


What is there to ask about the tyres? 🙂


Oh there were more important questions than that. Questions about football, about Champions League. Really,I´m not making this up

So Sebee, Do you think Dormunt can make the miracle a beat the mighty Bayern Munich? They asked the drivers this question. I´m asking you and everyone else



I agree this is tabloid stuff.

The question was totally inappropriate and I'm pretty surprised that Hamilton/Sutil didn't tell them where to stick it.

Jenson Button nearly burst out laughing when the question was asked, although I think this was more out of shock than schadenfreude.


I think it was an unprofessional question from the journo: why is their relationship relevant to the weekend? They have the right to talk to each other privately and face to face, not in front of the media wearing their team shirts where their words, to an extent represent, the companies that want to be associated with them. If you had a driver who went and spoke his mind when confronted with a question like that rather than speak with the chap alone it would be rather more distasteful than a driver who parrots a media friendly line of answers.

Stephen Taylor

Exactly what relevance does this have to the Monaco GP?


Sutil is lucky to be in F1 this year as it looked like his F1 career was over

Fair play to Force India giving him another chance

He's shown some speed so far

Hopefully he can repay them with some good results


Did anyone see Jenson's smile at the press briefing? when Lewis was asked about adrian? He seemed to really enjoy the discomfort of the question, he was literally smiling. I have to say in general my opinion of Jenson this year has really gone down a few notches.


Not sure that's entirely fair on Jenson to be honest - I would imagine it was more of a "You had to ask..." kind of reaction rather than a "Sucks to be you" kind of reaction. Much as I don't claim any particular knowledge of Jenson as a person, he doesn't seem the type who enjoys watching people squirm.


Lewis is in the wrong here, but I'm not really surprised. Most top drivers are big white sharks. Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Senna, Schumacher: you name it. They are "nice" only until the point when what is right conflicts with their own interests. Hamilton decided that testifying on his friend's behalf might hurt his image, so he didn't. But the problem is, he stabbed his friend in the back for all the wrong reasons. At least the other sharks have done some questionable things in order to win--not for PR reasons. They wouldn't have been scared to hurt their image. I don't doubt that Vettel would have testified for Kimi, and Alonso for Webber. They might be sharks when it comes to F1 and winning, but they seem to be decent persons off track. Lewis should care more about racing and winning than his public image. He has the talent, but he concentrates on all the wrong things, unlike Alonso and Vettel.



Lewis run off with your wife or something?

Can you fill us in with all this background info that you're obviously privvy too to make your assertion Lewis is at fault etc. I'd be very itnerested to know what McLaren's legal team advised him.....do tell us


The lawyers told him u dont know how to spell 'interested'......



I suspect McLaren and XIX both strongly advised him to stay the hell away. But you say he should care more about winning than PR, yet getting embroiled in a court case is hardly going to help his racing career.

He was right to not get involved in this whole mess and keep well away.


I agree with you. I mean, releasing autobiography at the age of 20? C'mon...

There's definately more to this AS incident than we're aware of and Lewis was somehow involved, that's the only logical explanation of AS behaviour.


WHo was on trial? Did Lewis help AS stab the the Lotus dude? No, Adrian brought the problem on himself, why balme someone else for it?


We've all been in some crazy circumstances, myself included. Haven't even really come close to stabbing someone. Its pretty easy to avoid unless you're looking for some trouble. Really, you don't have to stab people. You can leave, or kick 'em in the fellas, lots of options. Pretty easy not to stab someone. Heck, I haven't stabbed anyone ALL WEEK, and its Wednesday already.


I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not familiar with German law, but if Hamilton had such potentially exonerating evidence, why didn't Sutil's defense attorney have a subpoena issued on Hamilton. Otherwise, it's the media's job to generate circulation, so we shouldn't be surprised that the question came up, regardless of the time and place. And now it's come up, it's done and it won't come up again.


because hamilton is a british citizen and therefore, a german court can't force him to do anything.


I thought Sutil was annoyed because he couldn't get hold of Hamilton who then changed his phone number.

Or do I have my wires crossed?


Sutil is completely in the wrong here. There is no justification for stabbing someone. Period. Hamilton would be smart to completely distance himself from this maniac.

All of you that are arguing that Hamilton should have backed him up in court need to take a serious look at yourselves. If Hamilton had some solid evidence I'm sure he would have come forward or been supoenaed. I think this is more of a case of Sutil wanting Hamilton to bend the truth a bit and Ham not biting.


James -

I do find it interesting, and I find it odd that majority of the comments here say that Sutil "stabbed" Eric.

Sutil did not, it was an accident in which the Glass / bottle (whatever broke) and in the act became a weapon... its something that can happen in any bar after a few drinks and not really the criminal behavior that it is being made out for.

So with such background, why are people siding with Hamilton when clearly he abandoned his "best friend" as he himself calls him in the press conference above.


Because most people in this world only look after themselves..........

When James posted a similar article last year, the same "don't get involved" attitude was the majority. Nothing has changed.

Seems one mistake is enough to be cast aside......so Lewis was right when he didn't go to court and say " yes Adrian did something stupid, but I've never seen him do anything remotely like that in the time I've known him....... "

But he could fly to Switzerland on the eve of the Belgian gp in 2007 and swear black and blue he had no knowledge of anyone at McLaren having Ferrari data and using it on their cars...........to help out Ron Dennis......who never lies


Anyway point being, I am glad its over and Sutil is back on the grid, and he now knows who his friends are.

F1 must feel so lonely for someone new coming in....


What matters is the truth of the situation. Undoubtably Sutil had provocation, but he should have known when to rein himself in, and walk away. Instead he reacted and caused injury to the other guy. Well you can't defend the indefencible, and Hamilton did the best thing and simply avoid the situation. - I mean what did Sutil want him to do commit purgery.

Anyway I'm glad Sutil is back as he is a fast driver, and the sport needs fast drivers!


Well your mates breathed a sigh of relief upon reading your post.............."Thank Christ I never asked Richard to be my alibi in case the missus calls work and im at the pub....."


I think it's bad form to bring something like this up and expected Sutil to be open about it. I know the question wasn't directly about the incident in the nightclub, but it's close to the bone and It's a legal situation for Sutil so that's probably why he kept quiet.


hamilton failed to stand by suttil in his troubled moment, once. but has been there for suttil through many years as teammates in other racing formulae. he even put in a good word in the media in support of suttil when he was a candidate for the force india drive. i know suttil feels let down but one incident should not outweigh all those years of friendship. if hamilton consistently let him down over several different issues, i'd understand him but over a single incident is uncalled for even if the incident nearly ended his f1 career.


i wouldn't be surprised if hamilton reveals that he couldn't give evidence in suttil's case because he was being controlled by some outdated people who are bent on violating human rights for their personal gains.


lots of rumours about what was said to spark the incident.

None should be repeated, but what can be said is that they involve Lewis and probably not something he would want on record in a court as it would then be fairly republished by media.

image control.

Stone the crows

I think this is all between them, and probably we won't hear the whole story until they're both in their 70's and realize what utter pillocks they were back in the day.


There was a Video Tape and dozens of witnesses guys.. So I guess he couldn't have changed much without lying under oath.

And Sutil knifed someone on his kneck, for whatever provocation. Everyone deserves a second chance and he got his, he is back on the grid. Still, it's the type of thing that most people would never do..

I think Adrian should eat humble pie and not point fingers.

Many people would distance themselves from a friend like that.

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