Ecclestone on Hamilton and Raikkonen

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It’s always interesting to hear what the most powerful man in Formula 1 thinks of the sport’s drivers.

Bernie Ecclestone hailed Lewis Hamilton as the new Michael Schumacher and said he wants to see a rivalry developed between him and world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

In an interview with Spanish magazine FHM Ecclestone said:

We are very pleased with the evolution last season. With the departure of Michael Schumacher, the year could have been disastrous and boring, but fortunately along came a youngster called Lewis Hamilton and saved the season. It was phenomenal.

If it wasn’t for the helmet, when you see Hamilton behind the wheel you might think it is Schumacher driving. He drives the same way that the impeccable Schumacher did.

That is what I have said about Hamilton from the beginning: he doesn’t make mistakes. This will be the big year of Hamilton, and I am not saying he should win the World Championship, but will he will have to prove that he is competitive.

[Raikkonen] won the World Champions and demonstrated what a good driver he is. However, he goes unnoticed because he is so discreet and never generates publicity around him. He is the complete opposite of Hamilton, who talks quite a lot. Hamilton’s attitude benefits us because he draws more attention and generates more publicity because he likes to talk.

The rivalry between Raikkonen, Hamilton and others will be very beneficial.

I’m not sure about the that Hamilton (or Schumacher, for that matter) “doesn’t make mistakes!”

Last year was all about Lewis Hamilton versus Fernando Alonso. Will this be the year of Hamilton versus Raikkonen? They seldom met each other on the track last year and haven’t so far this year either.

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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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19 comments on “Ecclestone on Hamilton and Raikkonen”

  1. Hamilton does not make mistakes :-) haha, a good one – so how Bernie calls those incidents that happened in China and Brazil last year and cost Hamilton title ?

  2. His mistakes in those last two races look big because people believe they cost him the title, they didn’t, a championship is decided over 18 races not just 2. Hamilton made few ‘unforced’ errors last year.

  3. I agree with you Twister – I think some people forget things like Raikkonen’s crash in qualifying at Monaco because they were earlier in the year. And it’s not as if Schumacher never made mistakes either.

  4. Looking at the reality without sun glasses is much better, IMHO…. "few unforced errors" was what Alonso did in 2005, with Kimi pursuing him like the Tasmanian Demon. He keep himself focused on what he had to do to win the championship, allowing Kimi to raise with a brief glory winning some races. Even Hamilton has said that he was looking for a different approach this year so he wouldn’t make the same "ERRORS" he did last year….. (marking his own words, as I’ve read)

  5. In fact:

    "If I’m leading the championship, I won’t be pushing way over the limit to win the race"

    "I’ll be conservative and finish with the points. I’m chasing the same dream but in a slightly different way."

    Hamilton’s remarks are a reference to last year’s Chinese and Brazilian Grands Prix.

    It feels like he admits his approach to China and Brazil were an ERROR. IMO.

  6. I am not saying other drivers do not make mistakes. I am simply reacting to the words of Mr Ecclestone. Hamilton makes mistakes, as did Schumacher as does Raikkonen or Alonso.

    Although I agree that the season is 18 races long (17 last season) if Hamilton was not driving like a madman in Shanghai pushing his tyres beyond limits the title would have been his …

    Yes, Raikkonen’s mistakes may be forgotten because they were early on in the season. But… also that early on Raikkonen did not have the luxury to control the title race as Hamilton had in China and to certain extent also in Brazil …

  7. never believe what Ecclestone says!
    he only says things for the greater good…himself!

  8. Everyone makes mistakes.

    They should rather ask Bernie on who will he bet his precious money on to win the championship. Because he usually blows hot and cold as the season or media coverage progresses.

  9. Let us understand why Hamilton is a favourite of  Ecclestone, i quote from the article above:
    "[Raikkonen] won the World Champions and demonstrated what a good driver he is. However, he goes unnoticed because he is so discreet and never generates publicity around him. He is the complete opposite of Hamilton, who talks quite a lot. Hamilton’s attitude benefits us because he draws more attention and generates more publicity because he likes to talk."

    So, it is not that he makes less mistakes(i know that we are all humans, sarcasm…). It is just the fact that he is driving fast(we’ll see what he can do in a car less 100%) and does more for publicity for the benefit of a certain Mr. Ecclestone.

  10. Kimi’s errors seemed more about him not concentrating enough at the beggining of the season. Hamilton’s mistakes seemed to be based on pressure, while Kimi was thriving on it.

  11. I don’t think it’s better to make a mistake when there’s no pressure than when there is – they all count in the end.

    I remember we had a big discussion around this when I picked my top three drivers of last year.

  12. I don’t know whether the Lewis errors were really "Lewis Errors" or "McLaren Errors". In Shanghai it was definitely McLaren at fault. In Brazil – it would appear both errors were Lewis Errors i.e. hitting the button and the move on Alonso – but in my humble, i have always doubted the "hitting the button" theory – all that FIA Steward in the McLaren garage and all stinks of a conspiracy. I haven’t read what you guys discussed about that on this blog so i may be treading a well beaten path here.

  13. I don’t buy the ‘Hamilton hit a button’ line on what happened at Interlagos – not after that journalist admitted making up a quote about it.

  14. Funnily a similar fate befell Heikki in Oz…

    Lewis obviously made mistakes…like all the other drivers…he’ll also get better at managing his tyres…

    Interesting that Heikki was quicker in Sepang qualy on heavier fuel with a car/team he’s only just getting used to…

    We should have an interesting season even if the Kimster takes charge..the Macca boys are closely matched…I wonder what Bernie will say if Heikki gets the upper hand?…I don’t think he has a battle between two Finns on his wish list….

  15. Keith and Twister: but if you make a mistake at the wrong time, that makes a great difference… waiting to long to make a pit stop, or entering too fast on a wet pit lane with worn tyres at the penultimate race, if it costs you the title, is much worse than doing exactly the same thing at the first race, with plenty of time to recover…

    Hamilton is a great driver, a genius-in-the-making, but he and McLaren lost the title at the last races, making mistakes at the only time they couldn’t…

    For example, Hamilton’s acquaplaining at Nurburgring wasn’t relevant at all for the championship, since he qualified only 10th, because of that dangerous mechanical failure…

  16. For me, the problem is about how important the driver is. Some drivers can obtain a 110% from his car, but that’s not enough to win a race or a championship. Nowadays car and strategy are more important than the driver factor.

    The percentage of responsability of a driver is small (10%) but is  crytical. Any failure in driving usually is catastrophic. I think that’s the reason because is better a pilot who finish races instead of a fast driver. And probably, that’s one of the reasons because Hamilton lose championship last year. It wasn’t neccesary made it huge and spectacular, when he only needed score some points in two races. He had the car, he had the strategy but he falied the 10% about "don’t screw it up".

    And the big problem is that F1 is not fair. You need a car, a good team with good strategys, driving skills and of course, some luck. Undoubtely Lewis is in the top3 of drivers and he deserves a championship, but is not up to him, and his first championship could last several years.

  17. Funny Bernie is saying the same about RAI that he was saying about ALO. Sorry but this is not a popularity contest just motor racing. It seems he would be only satisfied with LH as champion. I guess is a good thing to have the big boss on your side.

    Btw he didn’t make any mistake, he just parked smoothly in China (maybe to have the coffee he was talking about last week-end).

  18. LOLLLL…I fully agree with you Toncho. Thumbs up alright!

  19. With regards to mistakes under pressure vs. without pressure. There is a huge difference, especially as LH was so far in the lead at the time. But generically speaking, anyone who has felt real pressure knows that it is much more difficult to act at your best than without.
    As mentioned above, so far LH has crumbled, Kimi gets to his best when the cards are down, let’s see how this season plays out.
    LH might well have to first contain Heikki and is in real danger of getting beaten there…

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