Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Hamilton won’t be appreciated until he’s retired – Wolff

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton won’t be fully appreciated for his talents until after he retired from Formula 1, his team principal Toto Wolff believes.

Wolff said Hamilton ranks as “the best we have ever seen” alongside Michael Schumacher, the seven-times champion he replaced at Mercedes in 2013.

However Wolff believes Hamilton’s ability won’t be fully acknowledged until after he leaves F1. “We’re only going to realise when he retires one day,” Wolff told the Middle East newspaper The National. “We tend to never acknowledge somebody’s great performance while it happens.”

“We are always full of the types of people who retire or die. But they are never saying ‘This guy is really unbelievable, we’re alive to witness an exceptional performer’. I think we should recognise that while we are still racing.”

Hamilton has won 73 grands prix, leaving him 18 shy of the all-time record held by Schumacher, which he could reach this year or next. He could also match Schumacher’s championship tally if he wins two more. The 34-year-old signed a new contract with Mercedes last year which will keep him at the team until the end of the 2020 F1 season.

The team’s new car for 2019 will be revealed on February 13th.

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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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85 comments on “Hamilton won’t be appreciated until he’s retired – Wolff”

  1. “We are always full of the types of people who retire or die. But they are never saying ‘This guy is really unbelievable, we’re alive to witness an exceptional performer’. I think we should recognise that while we are still racing.”

    It’s easier said than done. People always find it easier to appreciate the performance of someone in hindsight than during the present, probably because you remember the surrounding circumstances much more clearly – it is easy for us, today, to say that Hamilton has been winning because Mercedes’ car was unchallenged for 4 straight years, and that Vettel has crumbled under pressure in crucial stages in the championship, because we saw all of it happening before our eyes. It is easy for us to snort at Schumacher’s dominant Ferrari years because we know that he had the best car, and we saw that Brawn had no qualms in giving him preferential treatment in the team.

    But I’m sure that to the average F1 fan who started following the sport just after Schumacher retired, he is the greatest driver in the history of the sport, because they are not as aware of the circumstances that led to his dominance as we are. Similarly, in a few years, the circumstances leading to the statistics etched in the official records of the FIA about Lewis Hamilton will be forgotten by almost everyone except the most dedicated fans, and it will be easier for F1 fans than it is now to appreciate Hamilton as the holder of the record for most career poles, and perhaps career championships and wins as well.

    TL;DR: Hindsight is always 20/20, and I don’t think Toto protesting human nature is ever going to change it.

    1. Spot on comment!

    2. “it is easy for us, today, to say that Hamilton has been winning because Mercedes’ car was unchallenged for 4 straight years, and that Vettel has crumbled under pressure in crucial stages in the championship, because we saw all of it happening before our eyes.”

      But this is not what we saw with our own eyes. The Merc was unchallenged for 3 straight years-2014-2016. The Merc car dominance ended after 2016. Ferrari had the car to challenge Merc in 2017 & they did in fact do that. Have people already forgotten that the SF70H was often a match for the W08 in race trim and that Vettel/Ferrari did in fact lead the championship for the bulk of 2017? As for 2018, the SF71H was more or less an equal match for the W09. Vettel had superior reliability too.

      And why did Vettel crumble at various stages? Did Vettel exist in some sort if vacuum? He crumbled partly because of the pressure Hamilton was able to exert on him. For example, in Monza, Lewis put pressure on Vettel in passing him on the outside on lap 1. This caused Vettel to ultimately spin when he tried to defend. In Germany, perhaps the knowledge that Hamilton was rapidly progessing through the field, taking nearly 2secs a lap out of Vettel, contributed to the pressure Vettel was feeling, and he crashed into the wall. Etc etc etc

      This is what we saw with our own eyes, but the narrative often gets changed to one of “he’s won because of the car”…

      1. The Merc was unchallenged for 3 straight years-2014-2016. The Merc car dominance ended after 2016. Ferrari had the car to challenge Merc in 2017 & they did in fact do that.

        A brain fade on my part. I calculated two years of Ferrari’s return to competitiveness, but forgot that the 2019 season hadn’t started yet.

        And why did Vettel crumble at various stages? Did Vettel exist in some sort if vacuum? He crumbled partly because of the pressure Hamilton was able to exert on him.

        I acknowledge that Hamilton played a role in exerting mental pressure on Vettel, you have to wonder how much closer the title fight could’ve been if Vettel did not succumb to it, which is the point that I was trying to make. For instance, if he had even as much mental fortitude as Rosberg in 2016, he too could’ve won a title by 5 points. I’m not deriding Hamilton’s hand in how the last two seasons played out, he has been Godlike. All I mean to say is that it is easy for us to make excuses to put Hamilton down than it will be 10 years later, because we know how the events transpired in detail, but it is very likely that all the minutiae will be forgotten in a decade. In 10 years, Toto’s “prophecy” will come true, because it is human nature to appreciate things in hindsight.

        1. if he had even as much mental fortitude as Rosberg in 2016

          I’m not sure Rosberg had any increased level of mental fortitude in 2016 over his other season. He had some pretty terrible races (Canada, Austria, Germany, Monaco, Spain off the top of my head) and had some tremendous good fortune in others.

          1. It’s impossible to deny Hamilton status as one of the best ever after the last season, so 2016 became even more troubling for those who refuse to recognize how great Rosberg also was.

            Nico was an exceptional talent in his own right, just extremely unlucky to face one of the very few who is better than him in equal machinery in a dominant team. He could easily be a triple or quadruple champion against a lesser talent.

            Nico’s title was one of the hardest and most deserved championships I can remember, because he beat someone better than him, and that was so exhausting that he chose to retire.

            In the hindsight, I think their rivalry will be seen as one of the greatest ever.

  2. I don’t think Hamilton is not regarded as an exceptional performer. I personally just think he is exceptionally unlikeable outside the racecar. Schumacher also was, on a completely different level. Schumacher was ruthless, Hamilton is whiny. To none of them I would say they haven’t deserved what they have achieved. They both have the combination of talent, work ethic, and focus that make F1 greats.

    That being said I almost always root for whoever is going against Hamilton, because god damn I cannot listen to “how the fans made this possible”.

    1. Pray sir what is your character? Are you likeable and un-whiny? If he gains motivation from delivering for his fans than he should acknowledge it.

    2. I hear what you are saying but I block it out because I don’t know if he is like that really. I doubt if he is but I don’t know him so I wont call him unlikeable because I hear a radio message or he wears a gold ear ring. I wouldn’t be so ignorant of my own intelligence. I work with people who I don’t REALLY know. Unless you are very close to someone you cant know their character.

      Of course we all want swashbuckling James Hunt types who thru charisma and a don’t care attitude charm the birds from the trees. Lewis isn’t that and maybe tries to hard but don’t do yourself a disservice by judging on such meagre information.

    3. I am only stating my own reasons for my dislike of Hamilton’s TV persona whilst recognizing he is an amazing racing driver. I am not passing judgement on his character, he can be the best person in the world for all I know. What I am or am not is a moot point.

      I am only commenting on what Toto said, and only stating my personal view on the subject. I also cannot stand Nico Rosberg talking, and he could be one of the best people in the world. I don’t know. I can only say that I find him very annoying when talking on a microphone. Same with Hamilton.

      No need for the salt.

      1. @elijueta

        Your kind of asking for a lake of the stuff when you make a comment on one of the greatest drivers of all time based on how he is ‘whiny’ when thanking his fans on the microphone.

        You clearly have a problem with him. Just either say so or keep quiet. There is little worse than the new passive aggressive type comments that pop up now no one can really dispute his ability.

        The ‘I used to be a fan but’ types of comment or any mention of tattoos really belong elsewhere within the Internet world.

        1. You clearly have a problem with him. Just either say so or keep quiet. There is little worse than the new passive aggressive type comments that pop up now no one can really dispute his ability.

          That is my whole point, I do have a problem with him. Just not with him as an athlete/racing driver. I consider him to be one of the best of all time. There is nothing passive-agressive about my comment. I merely am trying to disagree with Toto that he is not recognized when I think he is. I was trying to expose that people in general don’t like him, for a variety of reasons, but that they do recognize that he is one of the greatest drivers maybe ever.

          The ‘I used to be a fan but’ types of comment or any mention of tattoos really belong elsewhere within the Internet world.

          How that has anything to do with what I said is beyond me. Also Hamilton himself couldn’t give two craps about what I think of him or his tattoos.

          1. @eljueta re your comments about Hamilton out-of-the-car, i agree with you. In-the-car, he’s in the right team at the right time. Schumi, when not driving, was worth following, etc.

          2. I was trying to expose that people in general don’t like him, for a variety of reasons

            How do you know he’s not liked in general? Why is he topping F1 driver popularity contests if he is “so disliked”? And apart from Monza, he usually gets a decent reception at the various tracks. So where is the evidence that “he’s generally not liked”? A couple of negative posters on the internet isn’t proof.

            All drivers have their fair share of “haters”, even more so when they’re seen to be winning all the time. For example, Vettel regularly got booed when he was dominating in the RB..

            But who cares? It’s a driving competition, not a personality contest. There’s a couple of drivers on the grid i personally don’t like, but i don’t feel the need to vent about it. It’s not important.

          3. So much this. @eljueta I feel exactly the same.

            Incredible driver, just can’t get around his personally out of the car – but that is irrelevant. In the car, racing, particularly in 2018, Hamilton is arguably flawless.

      2. I can honestly say I don’t find any of the drivers annoying. They’re all there to do a job and have different personalities and characteristics. We may have favourites and support some more than others, but we shouldn’t try to damn and judge these guys based on tv interviews and radio snippets.

        The amount of comments I read about Lewis on the radio for instance is weird. He’s driving fast and under pressure. Of course he will sound stressed and may complain to or question to his engineers. However, they’re part of a team and they’re racing. I think we’d be better off not hearing the team radio sometimes.

  3. If your cynical you could say HAM walked into most of his titles because of the dominant Mercedes where Schumacher led Ferrari to the dominant team it became.

    But I think Lewis is already recognized as a F1 great and the 2019 season he’s probably get the chance to show it again.

    1. So did Lewis not help Mercedes on their path to dominance?

      1. You could argue it was again the Schumacher/Brawn Combo that led to the dominance of Mercedes.

        1. How so?

          For some reason Lewis never seems to get credit for helping a team develop a competitive package. When Rosberg left, i saw a past F1 designer saying that Mercedes will now struggle because they relied upon Rosberg’s technical ability to help development. Where was that technical ability pre 2014? Mercedes as a unit got better after he left and are still the team to beat. That Same designer has said nothing more on that topic since then

          1. You might remember in 2013, everyone said that Rosberg would be far better suited to the hybrid era, because the cars were more complex, and Rosberg was the “engineer’s driver”– And then he had to study the “Lewis Hamilton Lift & Coast for Dummies” manual to keep up. ;)

            Hamilton consistently went faster than anyone in 2014, and used less fuel doing it.

            Will Buxton wrote a fantastic pair of articles about Hamilton and Rosberg back near the end of 2014, and they delve pretty deep into the characters of both racers as he’s known both of them since their GP2 days. Search for “buxton blog contenders”.

          2. It was a gut feeling and I can’t really back that claim to be honest. My bad -.-

          3. Thank you to Grat. Really enjoyed the blog about Lewis by Buxton. Nearly everything he said resonated. Beautifully written

      2. I don’t think he helped making the hybrid PU, but maybe he did some work on the simulator.

        Mercedes was already 2nd in the 2013 WCC because both drivers got good points. To me that tells they already had a pretty good car before they got the amazing hybrid PU in 2014.

        When Schumacher arrived at Ferrari in 96 the car was pretty bad and they only got 2nd in the WCC because of Schumacher’s results. Irvine was nowhere near him. It took some years for the car to become good enought for Irvine to get serious points as well.

        1. You do know that the it was not only the PU regs changed for 2014, right? They didn’t win just because they had the best PU, they also had one of if not the best chassis as well. The 2013 and 14 cars are absolutely polar opposites.

          Give him his just due, he shown over his entire career that he has all the technically ability to lead a team and help them develop of competitive package. We all saw how McLaren nose dived when he left

        2. @anunaki Then clearly you have not seen 2013 season, you just watch the stats online and than conclude that Mercedes was a solid car. It was not. The car became better due Hamilton’s input, why Mercedes made ZERO progress from 2010 till 2012 and than suddenly when Lewis joined the team it’s because of Schumacher ? Schumacher didn’t even do simulation work cause it made him seas sick so please tell me what Schumacher’s input was..

          1. I don’t know where you think I put any of the Mercedes progress or dominance on Schumacher? I didn’t even imply it.

            Toto Wolff is talking about Lewis not getting the recognition he should and I bring the cynical view on it. And I explain why I think Schumacher played a bigger role in building the Ferrari team and car than Lewis did for Mercedes.

            To reply to the PU / chassis remark: you can’t deny the Mercedes PU was stunningly better than all the other ones right away from the 2014 season. It was faster and more reliable. And yes they also had a very good car but their main advantage is because of the superior PU imho.

          2. Schumacher didn’t even do simulation work cause it made him seas sick …

            I found a The Telegraph article from 2011 claiming this. Even so, I’m slightly sceptical of it. Was this really true, or was he claiming this so he could avoid having to do it?
            Many years ago I saw New Zealander Bob McMurray (he was an ex-McLaren mechanic) on TV talking about the McLaren simulator. While it could simulate bumps, corners, braking, etc, it didn’t have to. There were different levels of simulation or realism, and in fact it it wasn’t safe for anyone without the physical training of an F1 driver to be in it at the 100% level. I think he said the maximum level of realism an untrained person was allowed to experience was something like 50%, and that even then that was a very rough ride. I can’t imagine the Mercedes simulator couldn’t do the same: have different levels of simulation, otherwise how would the engineers and such like be able to test it when the drivers weren’t present? So why couldn’t Schumacher use the simulator with level of physical realism reduced?

      3. One can argue that Schumarcher also helped in that sense.

        1. @m-bagattini Schumacher’s input from 2010 till 2012 was minimal, zero progress was made and it took his engineers from Beneton five years to make a winning car at Ferrari lol. Just accept that the car became better due Hamilton’s input dude.

          1. @noname A little-known fact is that the same miracle happened with McLaren: Hamilton secretly worked for them during the night while still driving in GP2. He had such influence that as soon as the 2007 season started, the car was already WC material thanks to his remarkable effort. Unfortunately, he lost a rock-scissors-paper game against Alonso and that lead to him standing second in the WDC.

            A better known fact is that Irvine, not really a candidate to the WDC, was almost able to catch the 1999 WDC while Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone. The car was already good at that time: in fact, it actually won the WCC.

          2. You state that Schumacher’s input was minimal, while the car became better in 2013 due to Hamilton’s input. How can you possibly know if either is true?

          3. @m-bagattini Wolff’s right. Alonso retired from competitive F1 racing over a decade ago and his reputation only get better.

          4. @kevinc Because Schumacher did no simulation work cause it made him sea sick, hence his input was minimal. The Mercedes became better and better due Lewis’s input, i know for many people is difficult to accept but that’s how it is.

          5. @m-bagattini Yes, that’s the stuff you say when you can’t come up with a solid argument. And you do understand that Lewis only finished 2nd in the WDC because he got hampered by McLaren who benefitted Alonso with better strategy such as Australia were McLaren undercut Lewis to benefit Alonso, that action alone gifted Alonso extra points and lost Lewis points. Had it been equal from race one than Lewis had Alonso in the bag with ease and i haven’t even spoked about how McLaren poured more fuel in Hamilton’s car to make him heavier than Alonso aka slower and how McLaren gifted Alonso the Monaco race win etc. So don’t even go there.

          6. @noname funny how you cherry-picked your facts, ignoring, for example, Lewis starting that Hungary war by leaving the pits before Fernando or Lewis parking in the gravel in China.

            If my grandfather had five balls it would have been a pinball, we say here.

          7. @noname if we’re going down the road of crediting drivers for their teams improvements (which I don’t believe in) then surely Mercedes improvement in 2013 was down to Schumacher and Rosberg’s work from the year before? Hamilton would have had no input in the design of the 2013 machine as he was a McLaren driver.

            Also, to say that there was no improvement from 2010 to 2012 while Schumacher was driving for the team is disingenuous – Mercedes started the 2012 season with a genuinely competitive car for the first half of the season, including winning in China (and they realistically should have won Monaco as well).

          8. @m-bagattini Cherry pick what ? Hungary came out of frustration of being treat as a No2 driver by McLaren to benefit Alonso despite Lewis was often faster than Alonso. And clearly you didn’t saw 2007 China cause everybody body with a brain knew McLaren was not allowed to win the WDC or WCC because of what happened, hence the team kept Lewis running on bald tires despite the Bridgestone managers several times urged Ron Dennis to pit Lewis for new tires. What other ‘examples’ do you have.. Nothing.

          9. @kevinc Actually Lewis joined at the end of 2012, not 2013. And Schumacher did not simulation work cause it made him sea sick, how much clearer do you want it ? ‘SCHUMACHER DID NO SIMULATION WORK CAUSE IT MADE HIM SEA SICK’ – And when Lewis was announced Mercedes also built a new state of the art simulator Hamilton had to work in first (cause he had driven the very good MP4-27) and tell the differences between the cars. Do you even knew how that win in China came to place ? Lewis was given a 5 place grid drop due gearbox issue all of a sudden and started P6, P7. McLaren was gaining on Mercedes and would not have won it if the race was 2 laps longer.

          10. @noname I’m so sorry: I didn’t noticed the tinfoil protecting your brain earlier.

            Can’t wait for the next “History: revised” episode!

          11. @noname that China win? The one where Rosberg took pole by half a second with only one run, and went on to win with a 20 second margin? Don’t think Button was closing at a rate of 10 seconds a lap towards the end of the race, but if you want to believe that McLaren were beaten by the lap count, sure, be my guest.

  4. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
    8th February 2019, 8:56

    Personally I do think drivers get much more praise once they’re retired. Schumacher was mostly only considered the “GOAT” for some because of his statistics, but in recent years he’s been much more appreciated for his speed and talent. Also look at Ayrton Senna: he was definitely one of the greats, however people seem to completely over-rate him since his fatal crash. I think, much like Rosberg is now, Hamilton will be more appreciated once he’s retired from F1, and only when there’s a next top dog (whether it’s a Verstappen or Leclerc) will people give him more credit.

    1. @invincibleisaac

      “Also look at Ayrton Senna: he was definitely one of the greats, however people seem to completely over-rate him since his fatal crash.”

      Can I please ask why you say this? I am not having a go but did you ever see him race live? When did you start watching F1?

      I started watching Aryton in 1985 and he was something else- he done driving that no others could do at the time (You Tube 1985 Adelaide Pole Position)

      Senna wasn’t overrated when he died by a proper hard core F1 fan, maybe be by the outside world. He is the only driver whom I can think made Alain Prost look silly a few times, and Prost is truly one of the greatest too.

      1. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
        8th February 2019, 15:39

        @garns Born in 2000 so never got to see him race live. Don’t get me wrong, I still rate Senna very highly, but not miles above the other greats. He did beat Prost, although they were quite evenly matched over their 2 years as team-mates: Senna had 14 wins to Prost’s 11, and he had significantly more pole positions (26:4) although Prost had more Fastest Laps and more points over the 2 years. Senna definitely had more raw pace, but Prost seemed to make fewer mistakes and didn’t resolve to dirty tactics like Senna and Schumacher, which some people seem to ignore.

        I do rate Senna very highly and slightly ahead of Prost, but personally, I think of Jim Clark as the best ever. It’ll be interesting to see where people rate Hamilton in a decades time

        1. @invincibleisaac
          Jim Clark- what a racer!! Isacc you have great historic race knowledge mate, Senna was up there :)
          Enjoy the season, I cant wait!

          Shame you didn’t see Ayrton race, its many of my best experiences as a young fella, he was truly fantastic!
          Shumi was the same- but yes, the both won at all costs………….not great there!

          1. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
            10th February 2019, 13:34

            @garns I’m really enjoying watching Hamilton race in the peak of his career at the moment, knowing we are watching one of the all-time greats at his best. This year is shaping up very nicely – Hamilton in great form, Verstappen in what will hopefully be a competitive Honda-powered Red Bull, and Vettel vs Leclerc is going to be mega as well!

            Who do you think will be champion this year? My bet is on Hamilton for a 6th title

    2. Is Rosberg more appreciated than before he was gone? Try and find any compilation video featuring Rosberg’s best overtakes, the results are disappointing. The guy was a fast driver, but he wasn’t a racer and it makes him forgettable.

      1. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
        8th February 2019, 21:27

        @reg I think Rosberg is more appreciated since he retired, and for several reasons.
        – Hamilton has been on top of his game the last 2 years since Rosberg left (which makes Rosberg look really good as he was able to be him to the title in 16)
        – Bottas has struggled to match Hamilton as a team-mate (again making Rosberg look good as he was a match for Hamilton)
        – People don’t remember the lack of race-craft as much, the main memory is of Rosberg beating Hamilton to the title

  5. The fact is that once a champion like Hamilton retires, people rooting for his opponents can start letting go their feelings and truly see him as the star he was.

    That being said, if someone who follows F1 can’t admit after 2018 season how strong as a driver he is, that person won’t be able to admit it even when he’ll retire. I was one of those that until the first 2018 races considered Hamilton one of the best drivers but also a lucky one and a bit overrated. I changed my mind after the impressive work he did after.

    1. @m-bagattini

      Autosport described him as ‘below par’ for the first part of 2018. If you look at every season he’s raced, he uniquely has those small periods of not delivering in every one. Which is interesting in the context that other drivers are very quickly dismissed when they make small mistakes in odd races. Other drivers that are being judged in much lesser cars, yet Hamilton’s continual failures at McLaren became ignored after joining Merc’s and seeing their advantage stretched out to 2 seconds a lap, sometimes.
      Interesting that he wasn’t very good at altitude in 2018 either. Where as Verstappen far out-shone him.

      I gaurantee if Honda match the Merc engine this season, that Verstappen wont be appreciated either when he inevitably beats him again.

      1. @Big Joe

        “If you look at every season he’s raced, he uniquely has those small periods of not delivering in every one. “

        I doubt Autosport described his first half as “below par”. To be frank, the only race where Hamiton struggled in the first half of 2018 was China. And, having the odd off race isn’t unique to Hamilton. All drivers have them. As for Verstappen, at altitude, the RB was the best car on the grid. Looking back at Mexico 2018, Bottas got lapped such was the Merc struggle with their tyres.

        As for him “underperforming in the McLaren’s” i can only suspect you are new to F1 (perhaps a Max fan?). Ok, you have a point about 2011 but in all the other years, on the whole he performed well. Let’s look at his McLaren years:

        2007-Beat/matched a double WDC in his rookie season. Voted driver of the year by Autosport.
        2008-Won his first WDC in a car that wasn’t the outright best. The F2008 was a competitive match. Voted Driver of the year by the Team Bosses.
        2009-put in some good performaces in a subpar car. Voted driver of the year by some F1 site e.g.https://www.autosport.com/f1/feature/2509/mark-hughes-top-10-f1-drivers-of-2009
        2010-Keith pulled off some stats on here that showed that 2010 McLaren was probably only the 3rd best car. Yet Hamilton challenged for the title. Scored driver of the year on RaceFans.
        2012-Excellent season from Hamilton.On track, he was quick, consistent & largely error free. Let down by poor pitwall operations & an unreliable car.

        I think there can be little doubt now about Hamilton. Vettel has had a comparable car for 2yrs now. I’d even go further & say that Vettel had the best car in 2018, yet Hamilton managed seal the title with 3 rounds to spare.

        1. @amam

          What a load of rubbish.

          2007 was all about him getting second places whilst Alonso, Massa and Rakikonen were beating him. A couple of important ones inherited. Without which he wouldn’t have been close to Alonso.
          2008 Alonso outscored him in the last part of the season in that rubbish Renault. Lewis bottled the last race as he bottled races in 2007.
          2009 A sub-par car? like Alonso’s Renault you mean? Red Bull engineers have claimed Alonso would have won 2009 driving the Red Bull.
          2010 Rubbish. McLaren had the 2nd best car. Easily shown by Button and Massa’s results. Alonso was exceptional in 2010.

          Again, claiming Vettel had the best car in 2018 is wishful thinking. Lewis was easily beaten when Vettel last had the best car.

          1. @Big Joe

            (1) In 2007, Hamilton matched Alonso on wins so i’m not sure why you are only referring to 2nd places. And you have to put the season into context. Hamilton was a rookie, while Alonso was a double world champion who had 5yrs plus racing experience over Hamilton. Alonso also did more testing in the 2007 spec McLaren than Hamilton. So, IMO, Alonso should have walked it.

            Alonso also had slightly better reliability than Hamilton. Perhaps Alonso wouldn’t have finished so close to Hamilton if they had equal reliability and the team didn’t favour Alonso with team orders in Australia & Monaco. Ron Dennis openly amitted that the team opted to give Alonso the better strategies in both Australia & Monaco.
            Hamilton made less errors than Alonso & was slightly more consistent than Alonso too. Perhaps you need a reminder of how the two drivers performed:


            And to be fair, if you think Hamilton bottled 2007, then the same applies for Alonso. He was in the same car & also lost out by 1 point.

            But, the facts are that Hamilton beat Alonso in the championship classifications. No amount of revisionism from you will change that

            (2).Hamilton won the championship in 2008, so, no, there was no bottling. He made a few mistakes, but do did Massa & Kimi in the rival Ferrari. At the end of the day, Hamilton got the job done. As for Alonso outscoring Hamilton in the last few races of 2008, so damned what? Webber scored more points than Alonso in the first half of the season while driving an even more “rubbish” Red Bull. Using your silly logic, that means Webber is better than Alonso!

            (3) Yes, a sub-par McLaren. What’s your problem with that?

            As for Alonso being able to win in the RB of 2009,what on earth has that got to do with the debate????

            There’s no rhyme or rhythm to your comments. They are all over the place.

            (4)Yes, the Ferrari probably was the 2nd best car of 2010. Keith pulled some stats, showed the Ferrari & McLaren were very close on overall pace, with Ferrari marginally ahead

            Pete Windsor did similar analysis and concluded Ferrari & McLaren were similarly matched on pace. But with the Ferrari being the more reliable car, overall, a good case can be made that Ferrari was the marginally the better car.

            As for Alonso being exceptional, he had a good season, but actually made more errors than Hamilton. Personally i think Hamilton was the best driver of 2010.

            Massa was exceptionally poor in 2010 (remember he had a big accident the previous year) & was reduced to being a number 2 driver, a supporting act or Alonso (e.g. Germany, Fernando is faster than you). So Massa is no accurate barometer of the car. Alonso was the true gauge of the Ferrari car. And overall, i think most would agree that Button is a better driver overall than Massa.

            (5) 2018-The Ferrari & Merc were close. Again, Keith pulled some stats that showed there was very little to choose between the two.
            AMUS, which goes into more detail, concluded Ferrari was quicker slightly more times than Merc in 2018. And, Vettel’s Ferrari had the best reliability. So, no, it’s not wishful thinking to say the Ferrari was marginally better than the Merc.

      2. @Big-Joe So much nonsense. Lewis could easy be WDC in 2007 had McLaren not benefitted Alonso from race one in Australia and other races, Lewis could be WDC in 2010 had his car not broken down from P1 in Spain, P3 Hungary and P3 in Singapore, Lewis lost on those races by no fault of his own 55 points, Lewis would be WDC in 2012, he lost around 120 points due poor pitstops, car issues etc. So your whole comment doesn’t make any sense.

        1. @noname

          Lewis bottled 2007 and 200,8 as you asked.
          Mansell would have been 5 times world champion with the same reliability and luck. Yes I’ve checked the results. He would have been 3 times WC without an injury and the cruel tire blow out.

  6. Whiny lol… I give up

  7. I’ll remember him as the man that destroyed McLaren and the only driver to have the same and most dominent engine his whole career.

    1. That is hilarious. I don’t even know where to start with that lol.

      1. @BNK

        Well you could try and put down the Mercedes engines and claim it was all Lewis. Funny how he was 2nd rate at altitude last season. So there’s two pieces of recent proof what happens when he loses engine superiority.

    2. Big joe

      You come across as someone who has not watched or does not remember any races.

      Many folks posting here have been watching the sport for years/decades and are knowledgeable and well informed. Frankly, you regularly embarrass yourself when discussing Hamilton.

      1. @paulguitar

        Who cares?
        I stated what I will remember him for. He is a 1 time WC (nearly bottled 2008 too) if he hadn’t joined Mercedes. He left it for Alonso to challenge Vettel for championships when Alonso had the 3rd and 4th best cars. He’s not the kind of driver you could claim would have challenged in slower cars. He’s lucky not all races are at altitude. Where Verstappen made him look ordinary.

        1. LOL, Well, Big joe, you are free to live in any universe you like, even a totally ignorant and uninformed one.

          Enjoy your fantasy whilst brighter people laugh at you.

        2. @Big Joe
          he left it for Alonso to challenge Vettel for championships when Alonso had the 3rd and 4th best cars”

          Hamilton also challenged for the title in 2010. He actually led the championship fight at the half way stage in a car widely considered the 3rd best. He went into the last race still in the title hunt-despite having a less reliable car than Alonso and having a WDC teammate who was taking points off him. Alonso was fortunate that his car had the best reliability and he had a teammate that was willing to act as rear gunner & move out the way for him e.g. Fernando, is faster than you….

          Who knows, if McLaren had asked Button to help Hamilton in the way Massa helped Alonso, perhaps Hamilton would have been crowned 2010 champ.

          As for 2012, Hamilton drove superbly, but the McLaren car was too unreliable to challenge for the title, and the McLaren pitwall kept making mistakes.

          Your posts on Hamilton lack balance, are widely inaccurate and are almost troll-like.

  8. I wonder at what point will we see Hamilton decline.

    He’s 34 now, which is an age most drivers tend to start losing that extra tenth or two of pace (Fernando Alonso being an almost unique case here). I actually thought due to his lifestyle his decline might already have started, but he has surprised me by keeping up his levels of performance.

    Will this be the year he starts to lose that peak performance?

    1. Will this be the year he starts to lose that peak performance?


    2. Why is Alonso a unique case?

      1. @KGN11
        He’s always been a unique case. he’s the most mentally strong driver, which would give him a few extra years.

        1. He wasn’t that ‘mentally strong’ in 2007.

    3. I think it’s a combination of F1 being much more safe and much less physically demanding.

  9. He won’t be appreciated until he retires? So, being arguably the most popular F1 driver in the field, most recognisable and marketable individual and a multiple world champion doesn’t count? He has the largest fanbase of any driver and drives for one of the most popular and successful teams – let alone consistently ranks within the top three of best drivers voted by team principals and fans, both of current drivers and champions. I mean personally I can’t stand him but I can accept and respect his achievements – you’d have to be an idiot not to.

    Is this like ‘the pack have caught us up’ again, Toto? Of all the people that need a hype man, Hamilton is not one – his achievements stand regardless of whether you like him or not. (Begrudgingly)

    1. I mean personally I can’t stand him but I can accept and respect his achievements…

      You know him personally?

      1. @gufdamm
        Thats not what personally means.

        1. In this context, yea, you’re right. I just read it as if he meant in his opinion, and not lewis as a person.

  10. What is Wolf smoking, Hamilton is super popular.

  11. What on Earth is he going on about? Anyone with even a vague understanding of F1 appreciates that he’s right up there with the best of all time. Trying to pick the very best of all time is subjective but in the modern era, no-one is close to matching his combination of speed and consistency.

    I think Verstappen will be as good as Hamilton eventually – he’s got another 13 seasons before he’s Lewis’ age!

    1. IMHO Verstappen has a higher ceiling then Hamilton….Verstappen at 21 is as good as Hamilton at his peak. Therefore I strongly believe, when Verstappen gets the complete package and becomes the complete package, that he wll be better then Hamilton ever was.

      1. Did you even watch the first six races last year?

        MV is a fast lad but this perennial rookie is now just a few months off of LH entry age to F1 and if you think anything that went before is irrelevant then you should take a look at LH ‘rookie’ year (I do not mean a glance of Wiki) in the GP2 series.

        I have no doubt MV will go onto good things but with his current attitude it will take some time. Time during which LH was already a world champion. With poles and race wins and all sorts of stuff!

        MV at this time is nowhere near what LH was at the same age – there is some work to be done yet and no his ceiling is not higher. You just see someone who has nothing to lose, a truly awful set of racing ethics against someone who is winning twice as many F1 races per year than MV has ever managed in four years and, the big one, where you can’t crash for six races, the championships.

        He will get there but not yet, not quite yet.

  12. Well, if Toto wants Lewis appreciated now, make Lewis retire now.

  13. “Lewis Hamilton won’t be fully appreciated for his talents until after he retired from Formula 1, his team principal Toto Wolff believes.”

    Seems like a silly statement, to me. Who doesn’t appreciate Hamilton’s talents as a driver? As far as stats and records go, there’s more to that than just the driver, including the quality of the car and team and other competitors. My suspicion is that being in the dominant car for so much of his career has kept him from displaying just how really good he is. Facts are that he is damn quick as well as fast, is extremely consistent on the track and hardly ever makes mistakes. My only regret is that we haven’t been allowed to see him really challenged (overall) by some of his contemporaries in cars that were just as competitive. That would have been great racing. People dismiss Rosberg’s talents completely, but that was some of the stiffest competition Hamilton faced, and Rosberg pushed him hard in an identical car. As far as judging driver talent is concerned, a spec series or BOP can be very telling.

    1. “My only regret is that we haven’t been allowed to see him really challenged (overall) by some of his contemporaries in cars that were just as competitive.”

      But we did see this to a certain extent in 2017 & 2018. Ferrrari had comparable cars. IMO, Ferrari had the best car in 2018.

  14. Fact: lewis hamilton is the benchmark driver. Mercedese is the benchmark car. Together they are the benchmark. Lets try to b realistic. I dnt care if lewis eats veggies inly or meat. Thats not why im interested in him in the sport. I dnt care about his life style. Thats not why im interested in him in the sport. He is at present the best driver in the best car. People deal with it.

  15. Shumy is the greatest? If he is or was sooo great why did he not win in the mercedese?? Surely he could over drive the car beyond its limits, design it better than the engineers and improve it on every level. Theres no need to diminish hamiltons talent with excuses like being in the best car etc…. Which year was it where he was the ONLY driver to beat the redbulls to a pole when the redbulls were dominating. It was both a perfectly hooked up car and driver.

    1. @wayne

      2010? when Alonso got 2 poles in a worse car. Button got 2 wins in the McLaren and 214 points, 7 podiums in total.

    2. It would seem Big Joe that your an absolutely clueless revisionist.

      It’s frankly laughable reading your stuff – the hurt must be really bad.

      It was 2011 Hamilton’s worst year. Where he won three races and obtained the only none red bull pole of the year.

      1. What’s laughable is to see Racefans.net going the way of other websites where Lewis can’t be criticized at all. This is what placing one’s ego onto a driver does to ‘fans’.

        Hurt? clueless?

        w tf?
        I’m one of the few F1 fans who it seems hasn’t invested my ego into the sport, let alone a driver.

        I’m also in the minority of people who actually like the guy. Lewis was always a nice lad. Polite, reasonably well spoken (typical Grenadian middle class accent) Conscientious. And has been good for Mercedes image.
        I will continue to propose however, that if he didn’t join Mercedes he would have only won 1 championship, a lucky one at that. Lewis is not a relentless driver over a string of races, let alone a whole season. He’s been beaten by Massa and Raikonnen when they were at their best, as early as the season just gone.
        He was poor at altitude last season and also looked off form when Mercedes struggled on its tires. He wasn’t even regularly a class above Button or Rosberg, who both had impressive races against him.

        This is the guy who at one point had a worse reputation on track than Verstappen ever had. I wont hurt your ego further by quoting Niki Lauda and Jackie Stewart.

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