F1 is “not a sport you can go back to” – Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton indicates he’s unlikely to consider taking a sabbatical from Formula One.

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On this day in F1

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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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58 comments on “F1 is “not a sport you can go back to” – Hamilton”

  1. Even the great Mario Andretti knows where the best racing can be seen.

    1. True. But he can’t let the public know about his secret crush on Super Mario Cart.

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        25th September 2017, 0:47

        Don’t you mean Super Mario CART?

        1. I prefer Super Mario Kart.

          By the way, the skill level on the world records for that game is probably without precedent.

          1. Forget sprinklers in F1, what about introducing red shells.

          2. @tiya didn’t Vettel hit a Red Shell last Time out?

          3. @mrboerns it was a banana

          4. @hugh11 well anyway it was red

    2. @hohum, there has been a darker side to that sort of attitude in motorcycle racing though, which at times actively shames riders for choosing not to ride when injured.

      This is, after all, a series where last year Petrucci was heavily concussed in a practise session, but allowed and even encouraged to continue riding even though he was complaining to Dorna’s doctors of severe memory loss and exhibiting a number of symptoms afterwards indicating that he had brain damage (and it is worth noting that other motorcycle series, such as the Isle of Mann TT, have stated that they would not have let Petrucci ride in the condition that he was in after his practise crash), and the disorientation from which is thought to have been a contributing factor towards his crash with his team mate in the race.

      1. Riding with a concussion doesn’t just increase the risk of accidents, but medical science tells us that further hits to the head after having a concussion are the most dangerous, causing permanent brain damage.

        1. @aapje, and yet, despite the medical evidence, it is quite clear that Dorna has no real interest in taking any action and there is a vocal section of the motorcycle fan base that think it is OK. I wonder how many of those who happily cheer such behaviour on will react if, as has happened in the NFL, we start seeing riders further down the line who start developing mental illnesses as a result of the head injuries they’ve suffered now and been encouraged to play down.

    3. Where did the doctor finish?

      1. 5th

        Bloody impressive.

      2. This question says a lot… for all the fuss about how great Moto GP is, and despite tv rating crisis, F1 still is the top motorsports league in the world.

        Aragon was a good race but, nothing particularly unexpected from a Moto GP race.

  2. I’m not convinced that beating Schumacher’s records isn’t a target for Hamilton, I suspect he is just being realistic that they are likely out of reach.

    I know matching Senna on 3 championships was an important goal for him. But given Senna’s tragic death, many probably feel he had more titles in him. Looking how fired up Hamilton was last year and is this year he clearly wants more.

    If beating Schumacher wasn’t also I target I don’t think he’d be carrying on, I just think it’s a target he’ll still be happy if he doesn’t beat.

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      25th September 2017, 8:30

      @philipgb I reckon beating Vettel is the real target, that’s his direct contemporary.

      Unless one of them is forced out of the sport (which could happen if the team pairs him with Verstappen), I’d expect neither to retire while they have a car which looks capable of titles. If either get to 6 titles (and surely at least one will), that’s when thoughts of matching Schumacher will come to the fore.

      1. Vettel is beating himself. No focus needed there for Hamilton, he just needs to stay on the road and his engine not to blow up at Malaysia this year.

    2. Yeas, I guess if he’d had the 2007 title and the 2016 one, then perhaps he might have been interested, but right now it’s very far away.

      1. lewis could already be almost there. he was close in 2007, could’ve won in 2010, arguably 2012 had he been more focused and less distraction from outside f1. obviously 2008, 2014 & 2015, should’ve won last year but fair play to nico rosberg, and now this year.

        1. ‘Could have won in 2010’ if only Alonso in the 5th best car hadn’t spolied the myth, with crucially two more wins than Lewis not just inherited second places 2007 style.

  3. I’m not convinced that beating Schumacher’s records isn’t a target for Hamilton, I suspect he is just being realistic that they are likely out of reach.

    Tomato. Tomato

    1. Not really. Hamilton says he has no desire to chase the target. I find it hard to believe he has no desire, I just think he will still retire happy if he doesn’t reach it.

      I don’t think he would have retired happily had he not matched the 3 of Senna though.

      1. Hamilton is always talking about his 5 year plan and goals. So I think adding 4 more in 5 years must look virtually impossible. He has spoken about beating Schumacher’s race wins total, though, so it’s not as though he’s uninterested in beating Schumacher’s records where feasible.

        If he wins this year and won next year, say, then I’m sure that, on 5 championships, 7 would become a target for him.

  4. Lewis would have to win this year’s, then 4 more to beat Schumi. That’s a tall order.

    Even the GP wins is quite a distance. We talk about Mercedes domination and previous to that, Red Bull’s, but how Michael was able to accumulate +9 wins in a season for 5 seasons (in 1995, 2001, 2001, 2002 and 2004) is remarkable.

    For the record, Vettel has achieved +9 wins in a season twice (2011 and 2013) and Hamilton 3 times (2014,15,16)

  5. This year + 4 more. It is remarkable, Vettel and Hamilton combined will outdo all Schumacher records by th end of this year.

    So two currently greatest drivers combined. Hamilton would essentially have to have double his current career.

    Aint nobody got time for dat.

  6. I only see Hamilton sticking around until the end of 2020 unless the new Mercedes engine really piques his interest, so he’d have to dominate the rest of his career to get anywhere near the overall records.

    It’s possible though that if Mercedes continue to invest heavily in F1 that he could take all of the championships between now and then (’17, ’18, ’19, ’20) which would see him tie Schumacher on 7, and depending on how strong a teammate he had could put him close on overall wins as well.

    I think it’s more likely we’ll see a passing of the torch to Verstappen at some point before then though. Age catches up with us all and Verstappen has got the advantage on most of today’s current top dogs.

  7. Schumacher cheated and had a subservient no 2 driver. His teams also cheated, so it’s not fair to compare careers. Retrospective withdrawals of the more flagrant cheats? Not going to happen given his current condition.

    1. You can say all you want about Schumacher’s ruthlessness and sometimes overstepping of the line but you cannot deny his greatness.

      In almost any car he was fast, matter how bad he would extract more than anyone else. Extremely quick in one lap and race pace. Hardworking and never put the team down.

      Just look at the number of times he finished 2nd in a WDC and you will understand how many more titles he could have won.

      Please don’t take a few of his indiscretions and paint him all bad, that is disrespectful.

      1. “Hardworking and never put the team down.”

        Schumacher did have the most privileged position within a team ever seen in F1. He was part of a pact with Brawn, he and Brawn *were* the team. There was no one else to put down. They were even bigger than the FIA at times.
        Having said that he was known to unnerve his mechanics by throwing his helmet at the wall several times. How well would that go down today with either of the top 3 drivers? The fans would never deal with it, drivers arn’t allowed to get frustrated these days.

        Schumacher’s greatness came from raising standards with mental and physical approach to the sport.
        With Mansell, Prost and Senna all out of F1 it was the perfect time for a new era. He only faced one driver during his peak who wasn’t easy to physche out. Yet he still cracked under pressure.
        I’m not sure who of today’s drivers could work harder than Michael if testing was still allowed. The competition to the dominant drivers since his era are far better prepared though.
        He certainly set the standards for younger drivers coming up.

    2. @skibomax define subservient.

      1. In the case of MS/Ferrari subservient means literally contracted to not compete. See RB’s comments in the Austria 02 post-race interviews.

        1. +1 What I was going to write: subservient = contractually obliged to be the number two driver.

    3. @skibomax that’s nonsense, Schumacher was a very good driver who spent years in Ferrari without a title but never lost faith in his team and his skills. Did you watch early years Schumacher, giving Senna a run for his money?

      Schumacher still is my childhood fave athlete.

      1. He wasn’t as quick as Senna Michael didn’t get a pole until Senna died, with Prost and Mansell already gone too. Mansell later outqualified him when he did a guest appearance for Williams (aged 41).
        I do remember Mansell bigging Schumacher up in 92 I think it was when Schumacher pressured him on a drying track.

        Schumacher was waiting in the wings he never looked like Senna himself, Hamilton or Verstappen’s early days.
        I do remember thinking Donnington 93 would be his Verstappen moment when he outqualified Senna, but Senna ran away with it, Hill surprising us into 2nd would be his main rival for the following 2 seasons.

    4. @skibomax Likewise Hamilton, Lewis didn’t park his car on the middle of the road and the rest unpleasant aspects are equal, the only difference is the standpoint journalism takes.

  8. “Seven championships – I personally don’t have a desire to chase that.”

    Lewis, you should check if you have any updates pending on your phone. They’ve fixed the autocorrect bug so the word “chance” won’t keep getting changed to “desire.”


    1. @petebaldwin You’ve hit on an interesting question here. Which drivers besides Schumacher had realistic chances to score seven or more titles during their careers?

      You’d have to argue Prost did. He took four titles but was close in 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1990 as well. Any others?

      1. No because the treatment MS got, particularly at Ferrari, was not realistic. Certainly not typical before or since his time. Contracted subservient teammates erasing the psychological and physical challenge they should have been able to provide MS in what was often the only other car on the track that could compete with him, which gave them the green flag to design the cars for MS’s tendencies, followed by designer tires from endless testing at Ferrari’s own private track. Had never happened before to any degree of that magnitude, for so many consecutive years. It is no wonder the numbers got complied as they did. Throw in the Max and Bernie show wanting a new icon post-Senna. The extra hundreds of millions to Ferrari, the veto power on the rules.

        Prost, Senna, Vettel, Hamilton…I can honour their lesser numbers of WDC’s far far more than MS’s seven. The other side of the coin for me of MM and BE’s MS/Ferrari is that I am still convinced to this day that many many drivers handed the same advantages would have compiled the same numbers, the difference being they wouldn’t have needed nor been able to bring themselves to be the bullies he was on the track, in spite of all the advantages.

        1. I totally agree with you. @robbie

          MS was a fantastic driver, no doubt, but we have simply never seen anything like the setup he had, EVERYTHING was geared towards him winning.

          I personally also feel his record has an asterisk next to his name for all of the cheating he was prepared to carry out. Senna was not squeaky clean either, but hardly in Shuey’s league in this regard.

          Back at that time and to this day, I had and have infinitely more respect for Mika Hakinnen than MS. He had immense speed, great courage to come back to be twice WDC after basically being dead trackside at Adelaide in ’95, and he was scrupulously fair on the track and funny and likable off it.

          1. @paulguitar, geared more towards winning than Senna, who effectively broke Derek Warwick’s career by vetoing Lotus’s offer to join the team because he felt he threatened his position at Lotus too much? More than Piquet Sr at Brabham and the choice of Rebaque as his team mate?

            @robbie, I know that there is a tendency to portray Schumacher as being exceptionally ruthless and a “bully”, particularly when compared to somebody like Hill, but I do wonder if sometimes we are guilty of perhaps glossing over some things that may not entirely fit with that narrative.
            For example, when asked in later life how he would have reacted if he and Schumacher had been in the opposite position in the 1994 Australian GP, he admitted that the temptation of being able to win the title by intentionally crashing into Schumacher would have been so strong that he might well have done exactly the same thing.

            Equally, with regards to bullying behaviour, I would say that there were some drivers in the history of the sport who had far darker sides. We might fondly remember Brabham now, but Bruce McLaren once recounted a story to Murray Walker how, in one race, Brabham once tore the wing mirror off his car and threw it at Bruce: he then used the excuse that his mirror had “fallen off” as a justification for running Bruce clean off the circuit when he tried to pass him, saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you coming” when Bruce confronted him after the race.
            Equally, in the 1969 US GP, he was so angry at seeing Courage take 2nd place in a car that he’d sold Frank Williams (expecting him to race in the Tasman Series instead of F1) that, on the lap back to the pit, he deliberately rammed Courage’s car in order to spite Williams by making him spend most of his winnings on repairing the car.

            Mind you, that was nothing compared to Regazzoni, a driver whom most in the F1 paddock held guilty for causing Chris Lambert’s fatal accident in Formula 2 (being accused by some eye witnesses of seemingly intentionally running him off the track for no apparent reason, since Regazzoni was lapping Lambert at the time – even the FISA report at the time, whilst not explicitly blaming him, did implicitly criticise him with their mention of the “exuberance” of the driver) and whom many thought would end up killing somebody in F1 – Fittipaldi, in more recent times, has said that Regazzoni tried to take him out in the title deciding race at Watkins Glen in 1974.

          2. @anon As always I truly enjoy your knowledge and input. With respect to Hill, he may have said that he might well have done the same thing, but the fact is he did not have it on him as evidenced by his behaviour throughout his career, imho. Put in the same position MS was…well, put another way…until Hill were to be put in that position he doesn’t really know how he would react but given that he simply has never shown himself to be the type I really doubt he would have done the same. But who knows right? Had he done that it would have been a one-off that’s for sure, and something to be condemned. Also, with the controversy stirred by MS’s whack on DH, it is actually a miracle and many would say was a farce that he got to keep that WDC, and Damon may only be saying he ‘might’ have done the same thing because somehow MS got away with it. Hindsight. Wind the clock back, reverse the positions, and I bet in a split second DH would not have ever thought he’d get away with it even if he could bring himself to try.

            I wasn’t aware of the bad behaviour of the drivers you have cited, and if they had career-long spans of doing this, then to me that makes them just as bad as MS who made a career of it, and they’d also be unworthy of my respect.

            And as I have said, and not that this makes Regazzoni’s behaviour less contemptible, but with all the advantages MS had, he really didn’t need to behave as he did, yet he did. He didn’t just need the WCC car, as most WDC’s do, he needed a subservient teammate, a designer car on designer tires, and the bullying to complile the numbers he did. No career compares to his.

        2. Miko Salo started to look like Fangio when he got in Michael’s car.

      2. If Alonso had gone to RBR or Mercedes rather than Ferrari, it isn’t entirely inconceivable that he’d have 3 or 4 more WDCs; but that still falls short of 7 or more.

        Schumacher was great during his time, but he also wasn’t fighting against the same level of drivers that Prost or Vettel/Hamilton are competing against. I still rate him very highly though, and even with tougher competition would probably still have the majority of his WDC’s.

        BTW – Prost nearly taking the 1990 WDC was an incredible achievement at the time. For Ferrari to get anywhere close to a WDC at that period was eye opening. Mansell was good, but Prost almost got there.

      3. @keithcollantine If Graham Hill had not been so distracted by racing in so many series, and had luck on his side, and had no been so seriously injured, then he could have been a seven time champ. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, natch! His lengthy career was positively marred by second place finishes.
        Of course, you are right about Prost. I still consider him to be the greatest champion that the sport has ever seen.

  9. I think the reason I don’t like Lewis Hamilton is that once he stops driving in F1 we will never see him at a race track ever again.

    1. I think many of the newest generation of ‘top’ drivers are going that way. If they can’t make it in their desired car they aren’t interested. Even Schumacher wasn’t running out to go jump in other cars after his Ferrari until another F1 seat opened up. Even JB doesn’t seem to enthused to do much racing, maybe try some things out and run cars for teams as sponsor favors but sportscars, Indy, etc just don’t seem to draw drivers who have had their time at the top. Mid-field drivers looking to still race, yes but champs don’t seem to want anything after F1. I don’t think Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen will ‘drop’ in series and appear in sportscars, Indy, GTs after their F1 days. Alonso most likely and Ricciardo wouldn’t surprise me, most of the rest of the mid-field I’d expect it except Hulk, think he may take the ‘champions route’ without having a title. But it sounds like he could be a good sportscar driver and tester.

      Kimi is a different story, but isn’t everything about Kimi kind of different than usual?

    2. I personally have no problem with that at all. He will have done and established enough during his active years.

    3. I think the reason I don’t like Lewis Hamilton is that once he stops driving in F1 we will never see him at a race track ever again.

      That’s odd because nothing in any of your comments here hints at your desire to see more of Lewis Hamilton.

      1. ! It’s clearly a love-hate thing.

    4. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, once a driver steps down from the top what interest could they have in a lower series?

      I can understand drivers with little to no success like Webber getting tempted into the other series like WEC where their talent might set them a little more apart than they managed on the F1 grid, but when you’re a multiple F1 world champion what is there to gain from some wins in other series?

      Hamilton will leave behind him a legacy as one of the all-time greats of F1. Anything below F1 would feel hollow in comparison.

      1. Fun? Schumacher kept going back to Karting. Now they all do it as part of off-season training. Beats jogging and weights.

    5. Theres more to life than F1.

      1. True. And that’s why we have those precious few weeks in winter to rest up.

  10. Honourable mention in the caption competition, i’ll take that. Thanks @keithcollantine

  11. On Lewis there are already signs that he is starting to look at other career options post F1 e.g. an involvement with music. I cannot see him having much to do with racing really after he leaves. Unless he leaves in the next 2/3 years, gets bored and makes a comeback.

    I think he will just see how the next couple of years go and if he wins the WDC in 17 and 18 maybe then he might stay a bit longer. If not then I cannot see him staying any more than 3 or 4 years which would coincide nicely with the change in regulations.

    1. @phil-f1-21 I think Lewis uses his fame to pursue his other interests, he leaves f1 and the rest stops.

      1. No chance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with his own TV show of some kind, if not his own channel by then.
        These drivers do tend to have different childhoods and miss out on a lot. they’ve had to work hard with their parents as part of a team to drive forwards with a lot of money being spent at a young age, often consudered an investment. The old-school drivers tended to wander off on their own and discover cars/racing by themselves.

    2. I could see Lewis having quite a lot to do with F1… …mostly because he’s bound to end up on stage for at least one F1 concert per year…

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