Hamilton: “I put it down to myself”

2011 Korean Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

Lewis Hamilton says the problems he’s experienced this year are mainly of his own making.

Speaking during today’s press conference he said: “I think it’s a combination of things. I put most of it down to myself and of course, there are times that you find yourself a little bit unfortunate.

“But whether it could be a yellow flag or something like that or traffic, it’s not really any excuse, we all have to do it, we all have to do the job.

“Others are able to do it, so I think it’s just been a lack of some pace, a lack of some being in the right place at the right time so that’s what we’re working towards improving.”

Despite several incidents between him and Felipe Massa this year, Hamilton maintains he still respects his rival:

“The situation has not been great for some time now. I’ve always had respect for Felipe and still do today, regardless of the negative comments that he’s constantly coming up with.

It’s easy, in this sport, when you’re competitive and in the heat of the moment, to say things that perhaps you don’t mean, whether or not he does mean them.

“But regardless, I’ve tried to show respect, particularly in the last race, I’m very, very sorry for that. I really didn’t see him. I’ve just seen the replay today and he was quite far up the outside of me but out of my mirrors, I can’t see a thing, and I was looking to the right and I couldn’t see him, so by the time I realised he was on the left it was too late.

“I think I’ve been in the wrong place in the last few races. We’ve had the car to be quite a bit further ahead as Jenson [Button] showed and so perhaps if I was doing the right job I wouldn’t be in this situation with Felipe but again, just all due respect and I hope that in the future we can put our guards down and he can be cool with me again. I’m cool with him, so I have no problems with him.”

2011 Korean Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Korean Grand Prix articles

    Image © McLaren

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    51 comments on “Hamilton: “I put it down to myself””

    1. Apparently the puncture in Japan wasn’t a puncture, just simply his tyres going off. BBC Interview

      1. I’d like to just say thank you to lewis for saying that he wont give up which would be an incredibly easy thing to do for a young rich world champion of any sport. David haye could learn a thing or to here.

        1. To be fair to David Haye he always said he would retire when he was 31, and in a sport such as boxing it is understandable why he did it.

          In fact I would be disappointed if he hadn’t retired considering how often he has publicly stated it was his plan and I hope he doesn’t make a big money comeback as a few are speculating.

    2. It’s good to see Hamilton is doing some deep self reflection. Not many drivers on the grid would be capable of doing this to be honest and that’s despite some people claiming that Hamilton has an inflated ego. This statement show’s his true side and it’s good to see.

      I think that he is on the right track to resolving his form this season with an open honest attitude like this.

      1. It’s good to see Hamilton is doing some deep self reflection. Not many drivers on the grid would be capable of doing this to be honest and that’s despite some people claiming that Hamilton has an inflated ego

        It is good but the BBC did an interview with JB last weekend and he said there were plenty of times where he wondered about his speed and other things and I’d have thought most drivers in their hardest times would feel a bit shaky confidence wise and look at whether they’ve made mistakes. Not to take anything away from Lewis though.

        1. Good point Steph. Jenson in particular had quite a few seasons at BAR probably going through that experience. Perhaps this is Lewis finally growing up?

        2. I think most drivers do loose confidence in themselves at times for whatever reason, but it is one thing having feelings of self doubt and another thing making them public, especially in sport such as F1.

          Some people will view it as a sign of weakness and so may not even open up to their own team.

        3. If I were Lewis, I’d just be using the rest of the season to have fun and explore the limits of the car (but not the rulebook). The championship is over and he can effectively use the remaining races as a learning curve. Testing is so scarce these days, and even then, you’re not practising and honing your racecraft.

    3. Hamilton does seem to have resigned himself to the fact that this season is just one of those years where things keep going wrong where other times he would have narrowly avoided problems.

      Possibly the fact that he isn’t leading the team in the driver’s championship has slightly reduced the pressure he feels so has calmed down a bit, and hopefully some of Button’s attitude and maturity has rubbed off on him.

    4. Whatever the guy says it gets mangnified and analysed a thousand times times. Hope this puts to bed stories about his season so far. He has basically admitted to maybe putting himself in situations here and there that weren’t ideal but has also erred on the side of bad luck at times too. As not only a big F1 fan, but a proud britain, I hope fans and the media can support all our drivers when they are going through a bad patch not just the ones who are doing well or winning. Despite the PR/Media faces and their obvious exceptional capabilities, F1 drivers are ultimately human and feel emotions just like all of us. Reading constant analysis of how bad you have become and where its all gone wrong and about your girlfriend and father etc has to be draining and soul destroying at times. Hope LH can answer all those questions on track in the upcoming races, sooner rather than later, and provide some exciting F1 racing.

      1. Well said. He’s still a young driver and he’s rarely faced any criticism so for it all to come in one season and be beaten regularly by your team mate is a world away for him.

    5. All this apologizing seems a bit of an overkill. I don’t think it is necessary, but I guess it is nice to do. But this “respect” he speaks of (if to Massa or other drivers) probably needs to be shown on track. Not with words…

      I think I’ve been in the wrong place in the last few races.


      1. I think that’s a mental ‘wrong place’ rather than a physical. Although one has led to the other a couple of times…

      2. As in : my wheels on your front wing type of wrong place :D

        1. or: My wing under under your rear wheels.

    6. I think Hamilton will be glad to see the back of 2011.

      No doubt if he is involved in some other controversy soon there will still be people saying that Hamilton never accepts responsibility and always blames others.

      After Spa he said the coming together with Kobayashi was his fault even though plenty of observers still think Kobayashi deserves some of the blame.

      Also when he talked about his problems in qualifying last weekend Hamilton took the responsibility for not getting his final run in.

      1. If Lewis had sped up during his last run in Q3, he could have found himself to be very close to Jenson.

      2. Given the stewards decision not to penalise Hamilton in Suzuka for a similar move on Massa to the one on Kobayashi in Spa I think it’s safe to say that the Spa collision wasn’t all his fault.

        Basically they investigated the line Hamilton took on the previous lap at turn 16, it was the same and Massa was trying to overtake on the left into a right-hand corner and he wasn’t ahead of Lewis. Pretty much exactly the same as Spa, but obviusly was much slower speed and didn’t end up with Lewis flying into the barrier.

    7. I still cannot believe his poor pace in Suzuka was the result of his personal problems/state of mind. Something must have been wrong with his car.

      1. His problems started on saturday when he ended up setting his Q3 time on a set of tyres that were used in Q2. This had a knock-on effect in the race when he had to pit earlier because of a suspected puncture (the tyres had fell off the proverbial cliff), the team played around with the balance during pits to counter act a problem that didnt exsist. He ended up coming out into traffic after the pits and was subsequently leapfrogged.

    8. I think re-used his soft tyres from Q2 in the first part of Q3. As he missed his 2nd lap in Q3 he had to start the race on these well-worn soft tyres.

    9. regardless of the negative comments that he’s constantly coming up with.

      That’s not the best way to end your, let by gones be by gones statement.

      Look, he did it again,

      whether or not he does mean them.

      I don’t think he needs to antagonize Massa more than he already has.

      However, despite that nitpick, It’s nice to see him accept responsibility for the season he’s been having…

      Well, ok, he didn’t actually do that either, but it’s a lot closer than before! :D

      1. I agree @Mike.
        He could have phrased it better, and I doubt his respect is the same as it was before. I think back in ’08 Massa respected Hamilton more than viceversa. Now, I think it’s the opposite, just because Felipe has had some tough races involving Lewis’ mistakes, and is (comprehensively) fed up with this.

        1. Fixy, what can you specifically point to in 08′, whereas Lewis displayed in any incident or incidents any form of disrespect to Massa?

          Any way that Lewis would have phrased his comment, would never be enough with some. I hope Lewis understands this, and not give them a second thought!

          1. Taking offense at the last bit I’m just going to list a few alternatives that he could have come up with. And for the record, he did it twice, not once. Ergo comment with an s.

            It’s easy, in this sport, when you’re competitive and in the heat of the moment, to say things that perhaps you don’t mean,

            1. End the sentence there.
            2. And I’m sorry that it’s affected our relationship like this.
            3. I think we both need to learn from this.
            4. I’ve made some mistakes and I will learn from this.
            5. Things will be better from now on, I’m sure.

            Unlike my suggestions, his comments, i.e.

            whether or not he does mean them.

            is the same type of aggressive afterthought that ruins what could have been an attempt at a reconciliation.

            But if Massa reads this, it’s only going to annoy him even more, and Lewis knows this too.

            1. @Mike. You’ve got to be kidding with your statements right? The guy comes out and openly talks about his problems and mistakes and you’re disecting every last word of his and STILL criticising him!!

              With people like you around no wonder he gets defensive.

              I hope he smokes the field on Sunday. But no doubt even if he does you’ll have something negative to say about him. Quite sad really.

            2. Of course I’m criticizing him!

              Did you not read what he said?
              How can I not when he is still publicly goading Massa?

    10. When you look at what Button has achieved this year. you wonder what Hamilton could have done had things gone differently for him.

    11. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      13th October 2011, 14:52

      Lewis Hamilton says the problems he’s experienced this year are mainly of his own making.

      In Peru, when a person says something SO obvious like what Lewis has said, we replied “so you are Columbus!!!” you have discovered a whole new world Lewis!

      1. The obvious about ourselves is seldom that obvious to ourselves. He’s maturing and learning. Something we all have room for, right?

        The interview struck me as painfully honest and self-doubting. It’s a shame people get some kind of vicarious kick out of others being so honest and self-critical, particularly when so many are ready to accuse the likes of Hamilton of arrogance and dishonesty.

    12. First step to recovery is always realizing your own mistakes, and that’s certainly the hardest part. Now Lewis, it’s time to return to the car, with mind and body working in perfect harmony, to bring yourself to the top step of the podium.

      *Guru mode, OFF*

      1. *Guru mode, OFF*

        you hit the nail on the head.

    13. No, Lewis. It is your girlfriend, your management firm, and Rihanna. When will he learn?

      1. How Rihana got in there?

        1. She decided to grace the Canadian GP this year. Don’t ask me why.

          1. kenneth Ntulume
            14th October 2011, 11:02

            I agree to the general fact that Rihanna is quite a distraction, but ofcos not in this specific case of Lewis woes, howvwer i beleive that the writer is unconsciously just expressing his troubles…..any straight Male that is honest will agree to a general fact of Rihanna, being a massive distraction

    14. i’m glad to see a far more mature Lewis emerging from all of this as i’m a huge fan and am hoping this’ll also help him return to his best.

    15. I’m sure he has said similar things like this before and i havent seen any sign of improvement. Its time to quite the jabbering and get to work.

      1. I do think this is a bit of a novelty for Hamilton @dpod, formerly he has quite often blamed the team for wrong information, strategy, tyres, …. etc.

        But you are perfectly right on Hamilton just should go out there and do the job instead of talking. That will probably be part of the solution of his problems.

    16. I think that is down to the fact that he is not more the first driver.
      My impression is that it is a confidence problem. He has been always hyper-protected in McLaren and now with Button outperforming him, it isn’t that he is not a great driver, but he needs to be reassured constantly to outperform.

      Welcome to adulthood, where you have to deal with your hideous, obscure demons.

      If he survive to Button next season, he will become a better driver!!

      1. If you look at the season, Button has simply capitalised on races where Lewis crashed or had tangles. Button went on to win @ Canada by arguably crashing out his team mate. @ Spa an accident with Kobayashi put him out of a podium. Japan was altogether amystery re tyres. Point is Button is in a good place and much more mature now than he ever was but due to Lewis’s performances is not under immense pressure to perform. Given an accident free race and no bad luck he will always outperform Button, fact.

        1. @sklal79 – Unfortunately the accidents and the “bad luck” are part of his current run of performance, as LH says himself in the article.

        2. I also believe that on a good day, even for both of them, Hamilton would outperform Button.
          Sadly, Hamilton is having nothing but bad days, at least on race weekends and it is his own fault, so right now Button is outperforming Hamilton.
          But I think that, when Hamilton get his head straight and start doing what he is best at which is driving super quickly, he will have Button covered most of the time.
          At least when it stays dry.

    17. Finally he agreed that he has made the most mistakes this season.I think FIA should have had Massa also in the press conference.

      1. I would have love that… just love a good F1 fight or drama :D

    18. If this was 1999, the FIA would ban the McLaren for irregular mirrors.

    19. Not a huge LH fan but I have no problem with him really…good to see him own his actions this year…I predict better years ahead for him and that he will have learned some things from this year.

    20. It’s the earrings. Men shouldn’t wear them. All his problems started when he put them on. It affects your balance and your spatial awareness, look at how women drive!

      1. kenneth Ntulume
        14th October 2011, 11:05

        Nick…u might be unto something here!!!!!!

    21. kenneth Ntulume
      14th October 2011, 11:09


      The implication is, ONLY if Lewis underperforms, thats when he is in the same league with Felipe…..VERY MEAN

    Comments are closed.