Journalist gives Hamilton a grilling

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007 | DaimlerKimi Raikkonen didn’t complain about Lewis Hamilton’s behaviour in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nor did Ferrari lodge any protest when Raikkonen ran briefly wide after passing Hamilton’s car on his final lap.

But a French journalist waged a one-woman vendetta against the Briton in this afternoon’s press conference. Here’s what was said:

Annie Giunti (L’Equipe): For everybody, it is evident that twice you disturbed Kimi. Is everything good to become a world champion?” she asked.

Lewis Hamilton: “To be honest there is no reason for me to do anything to Kimi because if anything he can win. Well, I came out of the pits and the guys said that, obviously, because Fernando was behind me and I could not hold him up in the pits… So I came out of the pit lane and they said you will come out close to Kimi and I came out and when you are at that sort of speed your mirrors are vibrating and so you cannot see too much and then I realised that he was very, very close and so I slowed down and I noticed I can’t attack the corner like he was, so I backed out and he went past me.”

AG: “You never showed him clearly that you could give him the track free?”

LH: “What do you want me to do? Put the indicator on?”

AG: “You know exactly…”

LH: “I did the best job I could to get out of the way and I did apologise to him if I did get in his way.”

AG: “Is that what you call the best job?”

LH: “Yes.”

AG: “As a sportsman?”

LH: “Yes. How are you at your job? Are you the best at your job? You never made mistakes, no?”

AG: “Sometimes…”

LH: “Oh, really…”

Giunti seized the opportunity to continue pressing the point after another journalist described the row as a “ridiculous exchange.”

AG: “Let us continue the ‘ridiculous exchange’. Do you think you can do everything you want and then you just apologise – is that the way it works in Formula One?”

LH: “I’m not going to answer that. I just don’t want to talk to you, to be honest.”

What I want to know is, why was she only asking Hamilton whether what he did was wrong, and not asking the supposedly aggrieved Raikkonen whether he was annoyed about it?

Probably because if she asked Raikkonen and he said he wasn’t bothered it would have killed her story…

Update. Actually, she did ask Raikkonen…

AG: Kimi, could you count the time that you lost with Lewis and did you feel in that moment that he did something wrong to you?

KR: I don’t know. I haven’t seen any data to see what happened. I don’t know for sure, I don’t know. I think other people can judge what has been done and make decisions. For sure, there could have been a slightly easier way to let me pass, but it is the way it is now and it doesn’t interest me anymore.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Journalist gives Hamilton a grilling”

  1. It’s victimisation. Not good.

  2. they are just trying to get into his head psychologically. Such journalists should be thrown out immediately, irrespective of who the driver is.

  3. Agreed, guys. I remember Schumi having certain incidents like this, too. I know the media want to get a good story out of Lewis, but they shouldn’t go beyond the line like that. Shame on her.

  4. When I saw it happen, I just knew this was going to happen.
    You did see Kimi struggle a bit, but I don’t think Lewis was to blame, he gave room and went to the inside. Stupid reporting as we will always have!

  5. Personally I think she had a hidden agenda to get into his head. Who put her up to it. There really was no “story” here

  6. That has to be the most asanine line of questioning I’ve ever seen. What the hell was her problem? And on the eve of Hamilton’s probable championship victory, no less.

  7. Journeyer Says:

    I remember Schumi having certain incidents like this, too.

    You called it friend, the great schoomi got away with a lot of little quirks and this little snot is going to be another Schoomi.

  8. If it weren’t for the links I’d say someone needs to cut off the drink tube to Keith’s kool-aide bottle. L’Equipe no less! Aren’t they supposed to be the responsible arm of French sport reporting? I am foundering in the wrong damned business!

  9. Number 38 – Little snot?

    You mean mighty mighty Hamilton surely?

  10. Well to be fair the FIA has been pretty good at handing out grid penalties for impeding other drivers before on very light grounds (not that I agree they should here, part of the challenge of the current ffa quali format is after all to beat the traffic).

    But since noone has filed a protest that’s an easy excuse I guess. ;)

  11. Sounds like the French are getting carried away, making something from nothing, Typical.

    Chill out, Shut up

    Come on Hamilton bring it home.


  12. Don’t you love Kimi though? “what’s done is done, who cares”

  13. Kimi only got distracted and missed his braking point.

    But I think this journalist was just too emotional and became irrational.

  14. Nikos Darzentas
    21st October 2007, 10:09

    the fact that the Iceman didn’t react is a sign that nothing happened? the guy is on another planet mentally, doesn’t give a damn

    from what I saw, Lewis accelerated hard on the way out of the pits to be at the wrong place (braking zone) at the wrong time (when Kimi was there)… he can apologise again if he wants but I think there was something there

    I don’t really mind in this instance, but I always have at the back of my mind everyone’s comments regarding Schumi’s questionable driving tactics… well, if you thought that was over, get ready for Lewis’ driving

    as for the journalist, maybe she was out of line as a professional in an official press conference, although Lewis didn’t do much better :-)

  15. A possible plant from Renault? The journalist is married to Renault’s Denis Chevrier.

  16. Something that no one will ever be able to establish with any certainty. Ferrari would have pounced on it if they thought they had a realistic chance of making an issue out of it.

    They did not.

    Journalists are just human beings – sometimes an idea gets into their heads and it just wont go. A belief is a belief.

    Hamilton may have done it deliberately, McLaren too, but no definite answers here for sure.

  17. Is the video of the press conference up anywhere?

  18. This was an example of victimisation, a sorry excuse for a story.

    But because we are discussing it right here, the journalist has accomplished her objective…

  19. Form how the exchange of words is written all I can say is good on you Lewis. Seems like he was level headed enough, come to expect it really. Pity it is not like the 1970’s or 1980’s where a driver might have …. well …. maybe not, after all there probably wasn’t too many female journalists in those days. The male journalists would surely have got a bunch of fives shoved down their throats.

  20. See what happens when rules are open to interpretation? Keith’s comment score goes up! :D

  21. In a way, this kind of shows a positive side to Kimi’s enthralling press conferences, he doesn’t really give much for the reporters to bite on, and just brushes everything off.

    Hamilton, as would most, is clearly annoyed by the line of questioning but ended it the correct way. At least the joke about indicators made me laugh . . . the first positive emotion I’ve had about the lad all season.

  22. Sounds like the woman lost it, but this is another example of Hamilton not playing nicely. His mirrors vibrate and so he can’t see clearly, what? Come again? From the images I saw the way Hamilton maneuvered would have made it difficult for Raikkonnen to guess his intentions. Is he coming in, is he staying out?

  23. It’s obvious to me that Hamilton was once again guilty of the sort of tactic that people came to hate Schumacher for. You have to win at all costs. Hamilton’s hysterical reaction illustrates this. The only real difference is that Schumacher didn’t then miscalculate his braking points at crucial moments like Hamilton.

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