Video: Pressure on Lewis Hamilton after error in French Grand Prix

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The French Grand Prix went about as badly as it possibly could for Lewis Hamilton – and he has nobody to blame but himself for it.

From the moment he got back behind the wheel of the McLaren at Magny-Cours it looked as though he was still working out the frustration from his humiliating crash at Montreal. And the outcome was inevitable.

When he needed to limit damage, he threw caution to the wind, ruined his race within a couple of corners, and came away with nothing.

Driving errors

The expectation before the race was that Hamilton would use an aggressive strategy and fuel lightly to try to make up the disadvantage of losing ten places on the grid.

This included reducing his rear wing angle below the optimum to get the best straight line speed possible to have a chance of overtaking into the Adelaide hairpin.

But although he usually revels in a car with a touch of oversteer he seemed to have taken it way too far. He struggled at the right-hander at Estoril in practice. Then in Q3 he spoiled both his laps with oversteering moment at the fast Nurburgring chicane.

Another penalty

That same corner was the scene of his error during the race. He lined up Sebastian Vettel neatly to pass around the outside but went into the corner carrying far too much speed and cut across the tarmac apron inside the kerb.

There have been occasions where drivers have passed each other while cutting the track and not been penalised. But Hamilton was never going to get away with this one. The onboard camera was a total giveaway – he was heading way too fast into the corner.

Later Hamilton said there had been no conversation with the team about the move. Obviously they made a mistake in not telling him. Arguably he was in a place to judge for himself that he had done something wrong, although often a driver will leave such things up to his team as they have the benefit of being able to see more than they can.

Hamilton’s explanation is a little confusing (emphasis added):

I went into the corner. I believe I was ahead on the outside and I couldn’t turn in on the guy otherwise we would have crashed so I took the outside line, lost the back on the marbles and went over the kerb. I continued because I don’t believe I overtook him by going over the kerb, I actually took him before that.

This sounds like a contradiction to me – if he had completed the overtaking move then he could have turned into the corner without fear of colliding with Vettel. He hadn’t completed the overtaking move, so he had to go wide and cut the corner.

Nor did he only use the kerb – he was completely over it and on the tarmac apron.

State of mind

An element of paranoia crept into Hamilton’s language afterwards:

I kept pushing. There’s nothing you can do that can distract me. You can keep on giving me penalties and whatever you want to do and I’ll keep battling and try and come back with a result.

What I want to know is, who is he addressing? When he says ‘you’ is he talking to the media? Or – much more dangerously – the stewards? Asked about his feelings towards the media Hamilton answered:

I feel cool. It’s all good. Racing is racing. I’m still here, there’s nothing you can do to get me out of it.

Again, who is he talking to? And where is this idea that someone wants him out of racing coming from?

I can’t vouch for the odd things Hamilton is saying, but as after Montreal these don’t sound like the words of someone who realises he’s made a mistake and is going to learn from them (as Doctorvee pointed out recently).

And with the pressure cooker environment of his home race coming up next, I’m starting to wonder if Hamilton is mentally tough enough to cope with the weight of expectation and a dire need to end his two-race point-less streak.

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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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76 comments on “Video: Pressure on Lewis Hamilton after error in French Grand Prix”

  1. I don’t think he is addressing anyone Keith. I think he is using ‘you’ as a rhetorical device.

  2. Its getting really intresting in Mclaren. After Canada Hamilton and Dennis said they think his penalty is harsh, but afterwards McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said that penalty was hard but fair.
    Now hamilton and Dennis is saying that his drive threw penalty was wrong, and Dennis even said to finnish press that they think FIA is picking them. Well then Whitmarsh came talk to press again and try to smooth Dennis words. “He has the frustrations that happen immediately after the race. We had three penalties this weekend, we have got to accept it and move on.”

    That sounds bad when CEO has to run after driver and team boss and explain why they have said this and that. Or when CEO opinium is different that other 2.
    It looks like McLaren is having some problem inside team and they should fix those as soon as possible before it will make more harm to team.

  3. Nice interpretation there Keith. To me also, the ‘YOU’ character almost seems like the personification of the media, his critics (both expert and public alike), the stewards and the other drivers….

    It almost seems kind of haunting the way he said the above comments.

    As a few people have said in recent posts regarding the French Grand Prix, he certainly isn’t doing himself any favours with these sort of throw-away comments both before and after the race. I suspect whatever empathy/sympathy he might have gained due to his errors of late have now been demolished as a result…

  4. Keith, I don’t think Hamilton made a mistake at the first corner. He had to overtake some cars pretty quickly before the race settled down, and like I said during the live blog, video feed we were looking at, did not give a true representation of events in that corner. It was pretty obvious that he was well past Vettel but he could nt close the door as he was not sure of Vettels braking ability but He was actually saving his car from a spin and took it over the turf.

    And about his comments, its very easy for the news to take his statements out of context. Even so, lets be honest, Mclaren have been given all kinds of penalties since the Hungarian race in 2007.

    Going back to Montreal, Hamilton said he saw the lights but then he couldnt stop in time, Rosberg admitted himself that he didnt look at the lights. So accident in Canada could have happened to anyone because it was a very unusual scenario.

    By the way, how come I read in the news Hamilton was buying a LEW IS number plate for 400,000 Euros, and then Hamilton himself said he never heard of that, or would even pay a hundred pounds for a number plate?

    Lets not spin things out of proportion.

  5. In my view Lewis did nothing wrong and was unfairly penalized in France. He was well past Vettel and had no place to go. Wheter or not the FIA is picking on McLaren is another question. I thought the Canada penalty was a bit harsh…a 5 place demotion would have been sufficient.

  6. Donwaters, he might have been past Vettel, but check the race again… the only reason he was past him is because he braked way too late went off track, and rejoined in front.

  7. michael counsell
    22nd June 2008, 22:34

    On the ITV pre race show (can’t believe I actually sat through it…) Steve Rider was asking him about the media and Lewis Hamilton went off on one about the media. Then immediately following this segment Steve Rider and Blundell criticised Hamilton for briging the subject up…

  8. For me it´s clear he used the outside of the track to gain a position in dispute, so the sanction clearly applies. Another thing is what keith pointed, the team should have told him.

    The worst of it all it´s that Hamilton it´s not learning the lessons, he prefer to see ghosts instead of catch the lesson, so he may do it next time, and may get penalised again.

    The ball is on his floor, if he starts to realise that the f-1 also has this runabouts, not only the good races of last year. the more he takes to learn from this, the more he will last till he finally gets to be a safe bet for the championship. He has proved he has the ability, now he has to prove he has the mind, and that it´s not so easy as he thought it would have been

  9. looking at the video again, hamilton was just clear of vettel when the back of the car stepped out, but i think the team should have been told him to let vettel back past him, as it was only the first lap and it would not have damaged his race like the drive thru did. so it was a bad call from the team.
    lewis needs to use his anger in the right way because if he starts to let things eat at him then i can only see things from going from bad to worse for him and the team.

  10. @Michael Counsell, I get what you mean but we really can’t pin that one on Blundell since he wasn’t the who asked Hamilton the question in the first place. But Steve Rider on the other hand, I’m with you there.

    To say the least, I’m not a fan of Mr Rider. I think he encapsulates what many folk regard as the ‘sycophantic’ ones…

  11. I don’t know what to say. First of all the drive through penalty seems fair to me, as Canada’s penalty as well. But silly accidents exists with no doubt in every great driver Curriculum Vitae all along F1 history. So I wouldn’t take this stuff too far.

    Another question is that this guy had two weeks of a very different press he was used to have and now feels like Harrison Ford on The Fugitive, the good outlaw with the bad guys rushing after him…. nobody is going to stop me now…. This is really simple…. Hami, just grow up. It’s all you need to be a better driver (maybe even a champ)

  12. Lady Snowcat
    22nd June 2008, 22:55

    Sorry guys but he was only partially past Vettel because he braked too late for the corner and then he had to cut the chicane… so a clear advantage taken…

    If he’d just tucked back in behind Vettel and gone again… much as Heikki did later in the race all would have been fine….

  13. David Watkins
    22nd June 2008, 23:03

    No problem with the penalty. He had no choice going round the outside like that into the corner. He should have made an attempt to let Vettel back through but maybe he was worried that whoever was behind Vettel would nip through as well.

    The lad needs to grow up. It’s that simple.

  14. David Watkins
    22nd June 2008, 23:04

    I meant ‘no chance’ not ‘no choice’

  15. I think we are also caught in this Hamilton trap. Why are we even having this as a major discussion point. Other drivers made mistakes today or messed up opportunities, but its not a headline story. Hamilton is a human being like Piquet, and its the very first time in 8 races that piquet didn’t go off track twice in a race, something he managed to do in the tight confines of Monaco, barriers and all.

  16. David Watkins
    22nd June 2008, 23:13

    It’s because Lewis proved last season that when he’s on his game he can be the quickest driver on the grid. At the moment he is being sloppy and careless and that’s the only reason he is ten points back of the leaders.

  17. verasaki-not to be confused with a hamilton apologist
    22nd June 2008, 23:20

    i think it was a fair racing move- a stab at making up a position early on and might have paid off but he really was going in too hot to either abort or recover. that on it’s own is pretty forgiveable and let’s be honest, if he were a 10 year veteran it might not have gotten the scrutiny it did. having said that, someone really does need to convince him that you can’t win a race in the opening laps (ok, monaco and hungary being exceptions) but it’s really easy to lose one that way.

    but speaking of scrutiny-and this is not a criticism f1-f ,it’s your job to get a dialog going-i think everyone is digging way too deep into what these guys say and begging for controversy and at times taking a sentence completely out of context. the “you” here is the same “you” we all know we’re talking to when we use it, you know?

    i do think you’re onto something in the mental strength area, though. i’m hoping it’s just him trying to cope with finding himself not quite the prodigy this year he was last year and too silly to not be honest about it. ego is good, i’d say it’s essential in this sport but for someone as obviously talented as he is to also be completely lacking in an ability to honestly assess his own actions could end up being disastrous if not dangerous. i for one would not be looking forward to a smirking bully dominating the next 10 years of championships. the things that made me like schumacher in spite of some of his er,weaknesses was he did play down his own perfection, even if he didn’t admit to many faults and his obvious love of and joy in the sport itself. i don’t see any of that in hamilton yet.

  18. I think the salient point in all of this is the team. There is NO WAY that the team should have left themselves vulnerable to the possibility of a penalty after they saw that move. If it had been schumi, he’d have been on the radio discussing the matter in depth with his engineer and Ross Brawn and god knows who else. The fact that there were no communications between hamilton and the team, to me, speaks VOLUMES!!!

    I have to admit that I’m beginning to wonder if Ron dennis is actually not all that bright. I mean, even James Allen wa able to realise that there was a pretty likely chance of a penalty (especially given the fact that it was a Maclaren), and I’m sorry, but the only smart move would have been to instantly tell lewis to give the place back to vettel and try again.

    It really seems to me as though they don;t have good leadership at that team. I don;t think they have anybody with enough clout who also has a quick enough mind to think on his feet in these situations, who can in any way oppose Ron.

    there was no reason lewis should have got that penalty, and to lay it on lewis is ridiculous, he was just doing what he does, it was entirely up to the team to make that called and they royally cocked it up or him. once again. How depressing.

  19. I agree – he has to grow up. Even two weeks after the pit lane incident he ‘still does’t know what happened’ ! Lewis needs to put his hand up when he makes a mistake and admit it – he’s only human and can make mistakes. DC is always quick to admit ‘driver error’ even when it turns out not to be his fault. Lewis needs to accept responsibility for his actions and move on not have this ‘it wasn’t me’ attitude and blame everyone elso for being out to get him. In this instance if he had been sufficiently past he would have been able to take the corner without crashing – he could only ‘keep’ the place by straight lining so he did have an unfair advantage. Lewis and Ron should be honest about it. (It’s reminiscent of Lewis as a cadet/junior when he thought he could do no wrong and blamed everyone else drivers and officials)

  20. Terry Fabulous
    22nd June 2008, 23:32

    Veraski those are some great comments there about humility

  21. In the TV live I first thinked that Hamilton made an Ilegal move.
    But I changed my mind looking the You tube video.

    He was in more action then Vettel after de last corner, He had overtooked him at the midle of the straight and he was with almost all the car ahead when they arrived at the corner.

    But I agree with Keith that Lewis was a bit confusing in his explanation. He managed to made the corner’s apex, he wasn´t so at the outside line as it seems in his quote.And he “turned in over the guy” for sure…

  22. Anyone remember Nassir hussein in 2002.

    If it was Hamilton driving for williams there would have been the same penalties and bullying inflicted towards them. I was watching it and Lewis had no choice, he had passed Vettel before he went over the astro. He didn’t exactly pass someone by cutting a corner . i do feel as it was the first lap if he had let vettel gone thru his race would not have been ruined, well wasn’t it ruined anyway from Montreal.

    We all know what he means by ‘you’ the stewards and the FIA. it is time all this pro – ferrari jibes finish, however i do feel the mistakes which he has made in his f1 career so far is part of the learning curve.

  23. Oliver – I’m not sure about some of your points. I didn’t report the number plate thing because I thought it wasn’t an interesting story even if it had been true (which it seems it wasn’t). I don’t think I said anything about him at the first corner either?

    “Why are we having this as a discussion point?” Loads of reasons: it was one of the most important points of the race; people have been talking since the last race how Hamilton would cope with the ten place grid drop; his version of events and the facts as observed don’t add up; and as I said in the post I think there are big question about Hamilton’s state of mind right now and I don’t think the same can be said of anyone else in the grid.

    Josh – I wouldn’t say Dennis isn’t bright but I do think McLaren aren’t good on race tactics and they’re awdul when it comes to letting a bad situation get worse.

    Verasaki – I take your point about not reading too much into what drivers say but I still think Hamilton’s reaction is strange. I think he has some misplaced anger.

  24. Keith, thanks for always writing objetively.

  25. Saying that Schumi was quick with the mea culpa’s is rewriting history. Spain, Monaco, Australia, and every other time he deliberately messed with someone else’s race he claimed innocent.

    Hamilton is merely coming from the mental space of believing he is bullet proof. Every top driver has to believe that they are the best and most worthy of the Championship. He’s just not letting his state of mind drift away from that, even when he makes mistakes.

    From what I recall from the broadcast, James Allen said that McLaren had contacted Charlie Whiting to ask if they should let Vettel through and the impression they got was that they didn’t need to. We may hear more about this.

  26. LH has never been good under pressure on the track; now he’s starting to unravel off-track too. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  27. Terry Fabulous
    23rd June 2008, 2:17

    The easiest solution to this is not to have ridiculous tarmac run offs. Either raised kerbs that will rip off your front wing, or barriers that remove your wheels.

    This would mean that when Hamilton arrives at a corner in front of Vettel, he would have to slow down and make the corner. I doubt very much that Vettel would take the position back and risk running into him. And the entire situation becomes a lot more real then scooting over the corner and getting a drive through penalty.

    ALSO, Isn’t a little rich that Vettel scooted over the last corner at Canada about four times to stop Heikki nailing him, and didn’t get penalised. RAISE THE KERBS and we won’t have to worry about it anymore.

  28. Terry Fabulous
    23rd June 2008, 2:23

    I’ve finalised realised from which angle I can enjoy Lewis… He is the centre of all the drama! He hits Fred, Hits Kimi, Gets stuck in the world’s smallest sandpits, Causes crashes behind safety cars, Get penalised continuously, Hits the wall and still wins ata Monaco! There is absolutely nothing boring about the guy. And he is massive unhumble and confident to boot! Compare him to Kimi and he is freaking fascinating!!

    Roll on Lewis, keep winning, crashing, getting penalised, making grand statements!! Carry on making the sport interesting!!

  29. In most kinds of sport young players that get a bright spotlight for sudden achievements in an early season in their careers and have trouble following it up. Will Hamilton be better in 2009? Maybe, but plenty of young players have failed to adjust to their new levels of responsibility.

  30. Hi! I just stumbled upon your site and this gave me much information about F1. I love reading your site it gives me the latest updates about F1. Good job in maintaining this site. I’ll add a link to your webpage in my blog if you don’t mind.


  31. Given the way the FIA is, then absolutely McLaren should have told Hamilton to give the place back. Surely they know by now that it is better to err on the side of caution when there is a possibility of a penalty?

    I know we haven’t really gone much into it on this topic, but Kovi’s penalty was BS. There were cars everywhere, yet Kovi was the only one singled out? When will McLaren learn that they not only have to be better than everyone else, but smarter too?

    With regard to Lewis, I think his major problem is that he is beleiving his own press. He needs to come back to earth with a bit of a thud, then we might have a proper championship contender. Because at the moment, it looks like hubris is fueling that car…..

  32. Welcome, Hannah. You’re right, Keith is among a very small handful of the best F1 blogs out there, and it could be argued that it is the best, but I would want to insult my colleagues at the others!If Keith doesn’t mind me recommending 2 others, I would suggest

    The thing with Lewis is that people forget that this is year two in what I expect and hope will be a very long career. Schumi wasn’t perfect in his second year, Senna took a while to fully emerge as the greatest, and every other driver had their learning curve. Remember how many people thought Dennis was crazy to take a chance on Kimi after one year at Sauber and something like only 23 races ever? It is rare to see someone do so well in their first year, and the last time someone came that close to winning the championship in their first year was Villeneuve, who had more experience and a championship at a top level.

    Hamilton is still young and learning. Remember the first half of Kimi’s 2007? Anything can happen. The pressure is huge, and I’m sure once he is in the groove again the easy wins will come back. I’m not writing as a Hamilton fanatic, although I do rate him very highly.

  33. Interesting discussion.

    From the on board camera angle it is impossible to tell whether it was a penalty. Sure Lewis was going faster but perhaps Vettel braked early? Who knows … Lewis was a helluva lot lighter so his breaking distance would be shorter and he may be more confident on the tyres.

    The interesting thing is that there was other video which apparently show a clear infraction. Where is it? This is what annoys me about the FIA and FOM — show it!

    Lewis’ penalty was marginal (based on the video I’ve seen) as you don’t know how far past he was and whether he lost the car because of marbles or speed. If he did cut the corner due to speed then the penalty was fair.

    Peril makes a good point – Kovi’s penalty was ridiculous. With that and the Lewis call (which was more obvious that Kovi) it is no wonder that Ron Dennis is screaming Ferrari International Assistance !!

  34. Yep, John, the vid you’re mentioning (which showed Lewis going way wide) was shown, albeit later in the race. As Keith just got a YouTube vid which was a rip of the start, we won’t see it there. It might now be up somewhere on YouTube though.

    My opinion on Lewis-Vettel: penalty was hard but fair. Lewis braked way too late, which was why it seemed DC braked early in front of him (when he really didn’t). There was no way he’d make the corner properly at that speed.

    BUT… someone brought up a good point in the live blog: why are the stewards so inconsistent with these penalties? Now that I’ve been able to think it through, it could be because of the fact that there are no permanent stewards, and it’s rotated from one race to the next. That magnifies the subjectivity of different stewards: that may be fine with 1 steward, but penalizable with another.

  35. I like Terry’s attitude :-)

    Journeyer – Hamilton cutting the corner with Vettel is at 1’40 on the video that’s currently there.

  36. OK, so we are all still talking about Hammy’s weekend? Keith, is there another camera angle on the incident? The only one in the race was the on-board, so I would like to know if there is another view and we can get a better idea of what the stewards (ie Old Charlie) actually saw. I agree any illegal move ought to be penalised, but if there’s nowhere else to go to avoid contact, what are you supposed to do? Stop? (Ooops, I must be paranoid)Yes, McLaren should have told Hammy to give the place back automatically, but if they actually contacted Old Charlie for advice and didn’t get any, what does that say about communication between the FIA and McLaren?
    I also have some other points on this:
    1. Why wasn’t the Ferrari (I don’t know whose) which was seen going slowly on the racing line during Qualifying ever penalised?
    2. If Kovi was penalised for holding up Webber, why wasn’t Nakagima given the same penalty, since he was effectively holding up Kovi, who could be seen having to move out of the way of Webber as they all entered a chicane?
    3. At what point is a car Black Flagged? Surely Kimi’s broken exhaust could have been potentially dangerous to the cars behind or even the spectators and marshalls? We have seen how near-fatal the loose tyres can be, so wasn’t the FIA bothered about a broken Ferrari?
    And finally, Terrys comment #28 – thats how I will always remember a certain German who used to drive really well for Benneton, but once he hit the big time with Ferrari, it appeared he could never do anything wrong, ever!

  37. DG – Briefly on two of your points:

    1 – I think I know the incident you’re referring to and the Ferrari didn’t delay the car behind it.

    3 – Raikkonen wouldn’t have gotten black flagged for that but it might have been casue for the black-and-orange flag (‘your car is a danger to others, come into the pits and have it fixed’). I think it was last given to Schumacher at Australia in 2003 when he had a loose barge board.

  38. Scott Joslin
    23rd June 2008, 9:33

    I think what we have here is that not only Lewis is showing his fragility under pressure, but so are the team. When Lewis needs a guiding hand to help him out, he seems to be hung out to dry by the team who do not know how to help him out in their all or nothing approach.

    Lewis is in a nasty cycle of angst and he is directing it every which way but at himself. I am not doing a character assassination of Lewis because he is a truly remarkable talent, but he is becoming a one trick pony and is failing to demonstrate any depth to his driving technique other than 110% and reckless. He is reminding me of Jean Alesi where he was always over driving the car and when he was around traffic – anything could happen.

    He needs to understand that when the situation or the odds are against him not even superman could turn it around every time, and the best option is to Maximise what you can in that situation and to limit the damage, not make it worse.

    In Bahrain, Canada & France he has shown he does not have this maturity yet. I was impressed by his driving in Spain and Turkey – Agreed he did not win these races but he maximised the situation – just what he needed to do.

    He needs to be made to realise, through a calming influence, that he does not have to win every race. Surely Ron Dennis has a great case study of that approach – Alain Prost why does he not make him study his approach.

    I am worried for Lewis that the media will rip him to shreds if he fails the public at Silverstone. What he needs now is a couple of steady results, 2nd or 3rd’s is just fine. 10th or DNF would be catastrophe!

  39. Thanks Keith, ITV did mention the black-and-orange-flag, but I suppose these days Old Charlie is just as likely to email a team or phone them up! (Which, of course, the fans cannot see)
    @Scott – I agree, I wonder if Hammy has been brought too quickly into the limelight, by his father as much as McLaren. He is appearing in far too many adverts, considering he isn’t a World Champion.
    I wonder if his father has encouraged a ‘Win Win Win’ mentality into him and Big Ron and the media aren’t helping – but McLaren do want results too!
    Perhaps after last year McLaren should have imposed a media limit on the drivers – and look at all the pre and after race chats Hammy has to have with ITV this year – is any other driver having as much attention from any other country’s media?
    But I can remember the Button-mania of a short while ago, the Hill-mania and even the Mansell-mania of even further back. (Strangely DC never seemed to received such hype, even after winning Monaco….).
    Hammy is unravelling under the pressure, and McLaren need results to ensure their existence and future co-operation from Mercedes, but as Scott says he must win at Silverstone, against much stronger opposition than last year.
    Perhaps its time for Hammy to swap places with De La Rosa for the rest of the season? I am not apologising for his behaviour this year, I just want to put it more into context – since he was so cool and collected last year!
    And if you also relate it to how Alonso is behaving this year, and Massa’s sudden change of attitude too (for the better I mean), you might remember that it cannot be easy to juggle such commitments all the time in such a hyped up atmosphere!

  40. I wouldn’t want to be at the Hamiltons’ breakfast table this morning. The papers will not make pleasant reading.

    Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail gives more insight into the tension between Hamilton and the press:

    Post-race [Hamilton] hid in the McLaren motorhome until his father Anthony and mercedes boss Norbert Haug persuaded him that a feeling of victimisation did not give him an excuse to ignore his media obligations.

  41. Swap Hamilton for DLR? That is crazy. Lewis is one of the fastest drivers on the grid and will score many more points than DLR. He’s a young lad who is going through a tough time and he’ll learn a lot through this (even if he doesn’t realise it yet).

    And it is really great for F1 as a sport and spectacle.

  42. Lewis is talking too much. He’s complaining – again – about the media’s treatment of him, which will surely make things worse. Yesterday his comments (already outlined by Keith) sounded plainly and simply insecure.

    He isn’t alone though. Michael Schumacher was inadvertently very cocky in his first couple of years, and Senna rubbed plenty of people up the wrong way, including his own boss at Toleman.

  43. David Watkins
    23rd June 2008, 11:22

    Lewis’ attitude is rather adolescent at the moment. Someone should tell him that owning up to his mistakes is not a sign of weakness. His mealy-mouthed performance after Montreal was excruciating.

    I don’t think that Lewis has to win at Silverstone. He just needs an incident free race and a podium to regain some sort of equilibrium.

    Someone influential, who has been there and done it, also needs to take him aside and give him a good talking to. Jackie Stewart would be good

  44. Hamilton is just proving that he hasn’t developed one bit since last season. Still as fast as anyone, but very error prone when under pressure.
    BUT added to this is the playboy lifestyle that a certain Mr. Button started living when he believed his own hype.
    Young Lewis is living it large in L.A., the whole clan is driving around in Porsches (I bet Mercedes love every picture of the Hamiltons with a nice Porsche), he feels the media have it in for him and, most importantly, he isn’t performing on track.
    He’s not going to loose his speed the way he is going, but he isn’t going to learn from HIS mistakes either.
    As many said already, he needs to pipe down and realise that he isn’t the sun in the galaxy that is F1, even though to him it must feel that way at the moment.
    He really has to look at JB’s career and realise that if he would get kicked out by McLaren at some point no other top team will want him.
    This season he has achieved to lose his status as most desired new driver to Kubica and is close to being overtaken by guys like Vettel and maybe even Sutil.
    Not because he is too slow, but because the total package that he brings to the table is getting very flawed and I’m sure his father “the hedgehog” is not helping the situation either.

  45. Lewis cannot perform under pressure, and both he and his team seem to feel they are being treated unfairly…do they think they are above the rules?

    The penalty of a 10 place grid drop is justified, and in yesterdays race, he overtook and gained a place by not slowing down.

    Normally the press like to build ppl up and tear them down, but on this occassion LH and Mclaren are creating that all by themselves.

    The best thing they can do, is let the results do the talking. Time for LH to get a proper manager!


    Although the Magny-Cours stewards have insisted that their decision to hand Lewis Hamilton a race-wrecking drive-through penalty during the French GP was the result of a “clear” infringement, conspiracy theorists are bound to have noticed that Max Mosley’s close associate, Alan Donnelly, was part of the decision-making process.

  47. True Arnet but doesn’t Donnelly sit in all stewards’ decisions now?

  48. I had thought that a ‘Senior’ steward had been brought in to ensure all decisions were made in the same way on all the circuits, but it does still appear to be made on a race-by-race basis. Has something gone wrong somewhere?

  49. They brought in Tony Scott-Andrews as a permanent steward at the start of 2006. This did not appear to help in the consistency of decisions, so there’s now a four-steward team with Alan Donnelly as a FIA non-steward “advisor”. The new system was brought in at the start of 2008.

  50. even though i am a ferrari fanatic… i do think the drive though penalty was harsh… HAM already passed the car and was behind KOV when he miss the lane… i dont know why he was punished

  51. But seriously guys….. i think HAM thoroughly deserved the CANADA’s 10grid penalty… i mean it was absolute bazzaire to say the least… and not to mention the controversy whether he cud have avoided kimi or not…:p

  52. steve thompson
    23rd June 2008, 20:08

    Build ’em up then smash ’em down…… tired tired so very tired journalism.

  53. to say it was bizarre is forgetting that Rosberg did the exact same thing – which to my mind would infer that it was a fairly unique situation that the drivers were dealing with in the pitlane in Montreal – ridiculous at it seemed, we have no idea what it was like being in their seats, but it was obviously a much more tricky situation than it seemed, or otherwise Rosberg wouldn;t have crashed as well – are they both total idiots????

    Anyway – this concept of an FIA “non-steward advisor” is seriously ridiculous. the FIA’s only purpose it to enforce the Formula one regulations – and what the F*&^%$* is Mosley’s number 2 doing being anywhere near these decisions in a “non-steward” capacity???????? surely the only people needed to make the decision are the stewards??? If they needed Mr Donnelly for the decision, surely he’d be made a Steward?? No???

    It just sits all wrong to me

  54. “are they both total idiots????”: in that particular situation a resounding YES!

  55. Steve – if you’re referring to this article I think that’s completey unfair and I’d like to hear you explain why you think that.

  56. DG: avoiding contradictory and/or unequal and/or unproportional decisions is one of the key problems in each and every legal system… with sports regulations it wouldn’t be different. A way to minimize it would be installing and effective, constant and fast court of appeal, capable of reforming decisions in due time, which would be very difficult to create, IMO. I don’t even know if such a court exists nowadays.

  57. not “and effective”, but “an effective”, sorry…

  58. Keith, this is a very accurate synopsis of what might be going on, with Lewis, in his head and so on. Let us hope Keith, that Steve meant the rest of the media and not you.

    I see some people finally saying that Lewis talks too much(well i was flamed for that so i had to vent that one :P ). The thing is, as Verasaki pointed out, no matter how much the great grand German is hated, Schumacher did one thing right, never ever spoke out. There are more interviews of Hamilton(exaggerated, but i think not by too much, or is it :D ?) in his less than 2 seasons on the Grid, than Schumacher ever cared for through his entire career(not counting post race press conferences/ interviews). There’s one thing that Lewis could clearly learn from Schumacher, to shut up and get going with his job.

    It is interesting how nobody pointed out, that by mouthing against the penalty in public(and not by filing formal complaint), he could further be incurring FIA’s wrath. Am sure, there are people who will tell me that its bias towards Ferrari working against him/ McLaren. However, this behaviour certainly can’t be rewarded, penalised, sooner or later it will be. Let me say that if FIA encourages this behaviour of McLaren and Lewis speaking in public in an uncharitable manner, then it is with the fear of press/ public outburst at them, for favouring Ferrari(silly as it is).

  59. “Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail gives more insight into the tension between Hamilton and the press:

    Post-race [Hamilton] hid in the McLaren motorhome until his father Anthony and mercedes boss Norbert Haug persuaded him that a feeling of victimisation did not give him an excuse to ignore his media obligations.”

    I can only call that piece, IMAGINATIVE WRITING and we saw lots of that from different newspapers all of last year

  60. I can’t really comment too much on the race, as I missed it, for the first time in probably five years, however on Hamilton I have this to say.
    Recently Lewis has come under alot of flak, most of which has been deserved, for some very high profile errors.
    We must not forget what happened in Bahrain prior to that horribly awkward Montreal gaffe. Compare all this to last year, when Hamilton was the golden boy rookie, the apple of the media’s eye.
    By media, I am especially meaning the British media.
    All that attention, and positive press. Even following Hungary, inwhich Hamilton played his part, he still emerged from it somewhat unscathed.
    Losing the championship at the last possible moment, Hamilton still had the media’s backing and support to a ‘certain’ degree.
    A new season, and Lewis is now not the golden boy rookie anymore, but he is a championship contender.
    With that, the kid gloves are off, and off bigtime!!
    The beginning of last season, a third place was a great result. Nine podiums, and a rookie to boot, marvellous.
    Now, third is nothing! Welcome to the real world of Formula One Mr Lewis Hamilton.
    In my opinion, it is this ‘new’ kind of pressure, the expectation of the masses, that is weighing on Lewis ever since the end of last year. You could see it having its effect last season, slowly but surely, as people quickly forgot that Lewis was still a rookie.
    These mistakes are no different from the ones that killed his championship bid in 2007, the real problem is that Hamilton seems not to be learning from them fast enough to save his bid for ‘this’ year’s championship.
    He is still a superb driver. You don’t become bad overnight, but Lewis needs some time looking inwards, to realise that he isn’t always right, and to be carefull what he says in public.
    The media make their living out of contorting what people say, and the truth. That is all part of being famous and in the public eye.

  61. Just wanted to add my congratulations for a very well-considered and balanced discussion of Mr. Hamilton’s current difficulties – no small accomplishment at this point.
    Much as Kimi (in my beloved red car) has some attitudes which are not good for the sport (when I hear “I was bored” I grind my teeth – also dislike the apparent lack of “love of the game”), he is is still well thought of because he is marvelously talented, but he is also in control and he doesn’t talk. Let me repeat that with emphasis for young Lewis and his show-biz dad: He is IN CONTROL and he DOESN’T TALK. :)

  62. Speaking of people who don’t seem to “get it” (referring to Lewis), I’d like to draw your attention to Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO. I don’t know if CEO’s are supposed to be good at maths, if Autosport have used an excerpt of an earlier story or what, but Whitmarsh not only claims that Hamilton did a great job despite receiving two penalties (as if he didn’t “earn” them), but he goes on to say that Lewis has scored more points than any other driver in the races he has thus far driven. Wouldn’t that mean that he either won last year’s Championship or is currently leading this one? I’m confused. But maybe this might represent part of Hamilton’s problem at the moment – too many proud fathers and not enough constructive criticism. Check Autosport and see for yourself.

  63. Toby – Whitmarsh said something like “up to the start of this race” (i.e. France) so his arithmetic is correct:

    Lewis Hamilton: 109+38=147
    Kimi Raikkonen: 110+35=145
    Felipe Massa: 94+38=132

  64. @Toby – this is why I suggested it might be good for Hammy and McLaren if Lewis sat out for a couple of races and got his head back together. The team would know they had no way of winning the Championship from that point, unless they were very very lucky, and both Hammy and his dad might learn a thing or two about being ‘superstars’.
    @Daniel – I suppose the only court of appeal is to go to the FIA in Paris, and we have already seen what a showground that is!
    Generally, though, Big Ron ought to be showing Hammy the Button scenario and even the Gazza scenario to show what happens when you believe your own hype. Ron is probably too close to Hammy though, and Whitmarsh would be the one to make a practical decision….

  65. Thanks for getting a great discussion going again Keith.

    Most of the analysis has been written well here – in short – Lewis is prone to senseless errors when under pressure, and his attitude is really not helping his situation. On top of that, his father and media folks are mis-managing press relations (seriously) at this level.

    I have to agree, and would add a few other points, that do seem rather strange.

    On the fundamental driver error, which led to the penalty in France, surely this was clear cut? Lewis had to cut across the apex in order to hold track position…simple. In some of the media quotes, He even said “I believe I had fully overtaken…I was on the outside but couldn’t cut in, in case we crashed…” surely that means the manoevre wasn’t complete? A bizarre contradiction.

    The other bad move now is that Lewis has openly critisised the media for writing harsh words. That’s something that will lead to a nightmare later this year. Say what you like about the media, but one should never say they print “crap” about you, if a) you made mistakes in the first place and then cannot see them, b) pander to the camera when doing your red carpet and celeb hangouts, and c) courted the same media for years in trying to generate publicity for yourself. It all basic PR 1-0-1.

    LH is a good driver, when the conditions are right, but he really, really needs to take stock now, sideline his father (who may well have been a shrewd operator in karting and the junior formulas) and have a proper handler, for want of a better word!

    Otherwise 2008 will unravel quickly. He faces an uphill struggle at Silverstone, where Kimi and Felipe will put the hammer down, and the potential for loss of face/reputation there will be enormous.

    My final worry is that he causes something more serious on-track to others or himself, with his mind getting the better of him.

    After following F1 for more than 20 years, media coverage on the “celebrity” and dollar-value of the drivers is really like nothing we’ve had before. (there are plus and minus sides to this…) But media have always been there, and they always need to be managed.

    Oh, I do sometimes hanker back to the days of Prost-Mansell-Senna-Piquet, circa 1987, when we had fists flying in the pitlane, bitching at each other on the grid, and balls-out driving…(with somehow less moaning) when you would still things like Mansell giving a lift to a stranded Senna on the side of his car…..

  66. sorry… it should read “you would still SEE things like Mansell giving a lift to a stranded Senna…”

  67. @Scottman – I agree, although there is still a lot of bitching and agro in BTCC, and in the last round of GP2, two pit crews were having a punch-up in the pit lane!
    Real racing isn’t dead, it just isn’t in F1…

  68. Whatever would possess two pit crews to have a brawl at work?!? I know GP2 isn’t F1, but that still strikes me as absolutely stupid…

  69. Sorry Alianora, I didn’t quite say what I meant – that proper high tension, wheel to wheel, nose to tail racing just is not around as much in F1 as in the other motorsports, and its so tense that the whole team, sponsors and mechanics are on edge. Not sitting around on little stools looking thoroughly bored.
    Another example for you is the last GT Race in Adria, where you could see the second drivers pacing the pits waiting for a chance to continue the race on track.
    F1 has become so image concious that its lost the reason for being here!

  70. Fair enough, DG – I got your general point about the racing in motor sport primarily being in F1 (though sometimes F1 can deliver). It was just that the brawl thing was so strikingly bizarre that I forgot to comment on the rest of your comment. Sorry.

  71. hate to jump in again in such knowledgeable company, but:

    1) a key point made above – previous generations of drivers would have in no way put up with Lewis’ driving – they would NOT have been so “nice” about it – I can’t find the articles to cite, but there were grumblings among drivers about this last year –

    2) “real racing” – Trulli/Kovalainen duel last Sunday – but it’s hard not to agree w/ “DG”, I don’t get to see enough of that –

    3) we are discussing the Lewis thing because it’s the hottest current topic in one of the most popular sports in the world – no one was crying about “focusing” on Hamilton LAST YEAR (well, ok, Alonso, but I meant fans)

    4) I think those who are focusing on the team are on the right track – this guy has obviously had too much smoke blown up his butt, they obviously are not able to shift direction and STOP doing that with him, he IS being mismanaged, and at a point in life and career where it could all still come right for him. It certainly WON’T get corrected if the team doesn’t do a better job in managing DURING races (although they know what I don’t know about what actually happened in all these little problems), and if they don’t (or no longer can) tell him his attitude and demeanor is NFG, period.

  72. “1) a key point made above – previous generations of drivers would have in no way put up with Lewis’ driving – they would NOT have been so “nice” about it – I can’t find the articles to cite, but there were grumblings among drivers about this last year -”

    I think what most people here think (me at least) about here isn’t that people grumble to the press and such, it’s more of a case that certain drivers from the past would have slapped Lewis for the red-light situation. I already mentioned Senna as I’m 110% sure that he would’ve gotten out the car like a volcano erupting and then slapped Lewis around a little…
    Also Schumi has had his share of going after people, as in Spa against DC, but I doubt he would’ve gotten more physical than a gentle push.
    Piquet would’ve probably lost it as well.

  73. roger that, Michael K, my words were unclear, but that’s exactly what I meant –

  74. cant wait what will happen at silverstone…… will be the team to beat no doubt..they way they r going in practice sessions..hope ferrari dont suck it up…all pressure on hamilton…he just needs to keep cool forget abt press and just needs to grt some points…hope his dad is helping him and not just playing on his money……

  75. Hamilton think that media are harsh? He should read newspapers about Kimi from last year. italian media was hanging him, finnish media and fans said that he is 0 and world media said that ferrari will fired him.
    And what Kimi did? ” what newspapers write about me after races make me laught” The he went and won WCC.
    That is the way handdle the pressure and media. I know a lot of people do not like Kimi’s way talk but in some case it is better be quiet that tell everything.
    Blaiming FIA do not do any good for Lewis, thats for sure. Blaiming media do not do any good either. Its like put oil to fire. Lewis should understand allready that F1 is cruel world and only strongest ones survive.

  76. scottmcm – Less MOANING in the Mansell-Prost-Senna-Piquet era? Really? My word… did you sleep through it? I posted the other day about rose-tinted spectacles… and here is another example!

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