Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Does Hamilton believe he has an “utterly unblemished record”?

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has an “utterly unblemished record” as a driver which is “unprecedented” among multiple world champions according to James Allison, technical director at his Mercedes team.

Hamilton is one of just 16 drivers in the sport’s history who has won more than a single title, and it’s not hard to imagine which drivers Allison might have been thinking of.

Among the generation of F1 drivers a young Hamilton watched, several of them committed dubious moves in pursuit of the world championship. In a nine-year spell from 1989 to 1997, four world titles were decided by collisions between the contenders.

Alain Prost had Ayrton Senna off to win the 1989 title. Senna returned the favour 12 months later, at much higher speeds.

In 1994 Michael Schumacher swung his wounded Benetton into Damon Hill’s Williams to prevent him passing by and taking the title. He succeeded on that occasion, but failed when he tried to do the same to Jacques Villeneuve three years later at Jerez.

These are just the most extreme examples of what some of Hamilton’s peers have done. But does the man himself believe he is a cut above this kind of behaviour?

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Of course, asking a driver whether they are are cleaner than the competition is practically an invitation to ‘virtue signalling’. It is unlikely to prompt a fulsome ‘Yes, course I am’ from any but the least self-aware competitor.

1989 Japanese Grand Prix flashback
Nonetheless, at last year’s United States Grand Prix, where Hamilton put a lock on his sixth world championship, he was asked whether he considered himself a cleaner driver than Schumacher or Senna. Choosing his words carefully, Hamilton described how winning “the right way” was important to him.

Intriguingly, he hinted at incidents which have happened since his arrived in F1, as well as examples which pre-dated his debut.

“I don’t really think of it too often,” he said. “Obviously I grew up watching those eras and seeing certain things happen. And even in my time seeing certain things happen with other drivers.

“Like I’ve always said, I just always wanted to do it the right way, win it in the right way, just through sheer hard work and through ability. And I tried to stick by that year on year.

“It doesn’t mean I’m perfect in any way, shape or form. But I definitely would like to think I’m proud of the tally that I have and the way that I approach racing in terms of the respectful manner that I have.”

It’s for others to judge how clean a racer he is, Hamilton told the media. “Ultimately, it’s for you guys to reflect on how good that is. But that’s not going to change. That’s how my dad raised me to race.”

Four controversial title-deciders

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Keith Collantine
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73 comments on “Does Hamilton believe he has an “utterly unblemished record”?”

  1. Liegate says hi. So Hamilton’s record is not clean, although it is cleaner than Schumacher, Senna or Alonso’s records, and I’d even say that Liegate wasn’t as bad as what Vettel did in Baku 2017. However, cheating is cheating and Liegate was an act of cheating. So this statement is false. But at least Hamilton hasn’t deliberately crashed into other drivers, as Schumacher and Senna did.

    1. Liegate… he was a young driver, pushed in to the situation by the team. The reason it was so obviously a put up job is that you could see Hamilton hating every second of it. It was written all over his face, which shows you how honest he actually is. Its something thats never happened since. As such, its irrelevant in any sensible discussion.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        27th April 2020, 17:23

        A blemish, no matter the reason, is always relevant in a discussion about whether his record is “unblemished.”

        That’s why it’s best not to talk in absolutes – just say he’s one of the most sporting drivers in modern day F1 and everyone would say “yeah…. you’re right.”

        It’s the same reason why the debate of “the best” F1 driver will never be settled and yet, we can all (mostly) agree on a group of drivers who are amongst the best.

        1. Except in this case James is talking about on track actions, those similar to that of Schumacher, Vettel, Senna, Prost etc. In that regard, he does have an unblemished record

          1. Check Malaysia 2010

    2. Liegate – Dave Ryan took the rap for that.. The only other incident was when he was backing Rosberg into other cars in Abu Dhabi 2016 but you couldn’t really blame him! 2011 season he was involved in a lot of crashes with Massa especially but I don’t believe it was intentional, he was just a young racer going through a bad patch. Yes, I would say Lewis is very high on the list for the cleanest multiple world champion of all time. Far cleaner than Schumacher (dirtiest ever), Prost, Senna, Vettel and Piquet. Fangio, Lauda, Hakkinen and of course the Brit gentleman trio of Stewart, Clark and Graham Hill were also super clean and sporting

  2. Australia 2009, Austin 2015 are two instances where he did not drive very clean.. But those are borderline. Nothing compared to Schumi, Vettel, Senna.

    He is indeed one of the cleanest..

    Ironically, had Vettel retired after 2015, I would have probably held him higher than Hamilton. And Vettel didn’t even win any title after that, just destroyed his reputation.

    1. That’s curious.. How do you get Vettel in that line?

      1. Vettel’s major misdemeanors have been post 2015 (2016 – abusing to Charlie, 2017 – Bumper cars, 2019 – Dishonoring prior agreement to swap places).

        Prior to that, he didn’t do anything that was unsportsmanlike in the car. Japan 2007, Turkey 2010 weren’t intentional. Malaysia 2013 was intentional for sure, but not unsportsmanlike.

        FWIW, I do not consider Russia 2019 and Malaysia 2013 to be similar. In Russia, he was clearly the beneficiary of a particular tactic, his teammate held his end of the deal and he was supposed to repay the favor. In Malaysia 2013, Webber ended up ahead of Vettel simply by driving better in first half of the race. No one had given the other any help. But the race wasn’t over. So, it was ok for Seb to try and take back that position. Webber also fought hard for that position and eventually the better driver won.

      2. “2016 – abusing to Charlie,”
        His wording might have been completely wrong, but Vettel had every right to be furious. Verstappen should have given him the position and he did back Vettel in to his teammate. He vented his frustrations on a team-radio at high-adrenaline with poor choice of words, it’s not like he was beating Whiting up. He wouldn’t have used those words in the press.

        But, if you choose that, you could also argue Hamilton puled the racism-card after receiving multiple penalty’s.

        “2019 – Dishonoring prior agreement to swap places”
        I can’t recall the rules stating anything about having to oblige to teamorders. Hamilton made himself faulty to that as well (Hungary with Rosberg comes to mind, but even his first Monaco GP the team asked him to hold station and maintain a gap to Alonso, but Hamilton himself said he didn’t do it.)

        Vettel’s clash behind the SC in Baku was the only thing really against the rules which should have been punished harder.

        1. I like Vettel and whilst I agree with the gist of what you’re saying, I wouldn’t downplay the act of telling the race director to f-off. I know he gets emotional, e.g. Baku, but I actually find the Charlie message much worse.

        2. Gavin Campbell
          28th April 2020, 9:20

          The team-mate swap debacle of 2019 I don’t really care about. Vettels crashes with team mates while defending or overtaking is a bit of an issue but it seems to mostly come down to red mist.

          However the Charlie thing to me was unacceptable – in any other sport you would of been given your marching orders. A black flag would of been the minimum (plus possibly further sanction). Why he said it doesn’t matter (apart from maybe injury) you cannot behave that way.

          The bumer cars incident was also highly unacceptable and again should of seen a proper sanction not a slap on the wrist and some FIA work.

          Because of this I don’t think Vettel has had to tame his red mist over the years. He was always backed by Red Bull as the Golden Child and he FIA have seemed to be reluctant to hand him anything approaching a proper penalty for his actions.

  3. He’s no better nor worse than any of the other champions, or indeed any of the other drivers – they’ve all done something somewhere that could be considered bad. I’ve seen moves from Schumacher and Vettel that I’d consider awful just as much as I’ve seen them from Hamilton and Alonso. I’d agree he’s certainly done less awful things than some of them, but to say he’s done none is a total lie.

    ‘Utterly unblemished’ is a joke and frankly rather weird given the intense analysis of other champion’s percieved faults and the collective forgetting and airbrushing of Hamilton’s. In fact the only ‘champions’ I’d consider ‘unblemished’ would probably be Button & Raikkonen, but they only have one title, so probably don’t count in this discussion.

    1. Jeffrey Powell
      27th April 2020, 15:06

      You should try to view Clark and Stewart’s record, I know it’s a long time ago but perhaps at their peak they were so much better than the competition they didn’t ever feel that challenged.

  4. He does have a pretty clean record for someone who has been in F1 for 13 years, a few stupid remarks here and there, some things he could have done better, sure, but then that’s the same for everyone. Australia 2009 never seemed like his instigation, he did go along with it, but I can’t think of another driver on the grid who wouldn’t.

    And yet he still comes across as ruthless in a way, much like Schumacher, Senna etc, just more controlled. That debut season alongside Alonso is still the high water mark for any rookie.

  5. Hamilton has been aggressive at times, “for sure”. On the limit at times, treading slightly beyond in Austin 2015. But never blatantly running into someone on purpose. He’s of course made driving errors but has never been unsporting on track. But then unlike Senna and Schumacher he hasn’t been in the position of racing wheel to wheel with his competitor on the final race with a championship at stake. In 2016 he drove slowly because that’s the only thing he could’ve done at that point without attracting a penalty and Rosberg never intended to race him because he didn’t need to win. So the question is if it was Hamilton the position that Senna and Schumacher was in would he have done the same thing. And we can debate that for as long as we like but the fact is we’ll never know. We know his hunger for success but we also know he’s clean in combat too. So…

    1. A very sensible comment I think. I can never see Hamilton doing what Schumacher or Senna did though. Schumacher I think was particularly unsporting.

    2. Gavin Campbell
      28th April 2020, 9:22

      Erm 2008?

      1. …and 2007…and 2014… :]

  6. It’s difficult to recall and rate his whole career, but he certainly has an unblemished record this year.

    1. manoli moraitis
      29th April 2020, 10:47

      Damn it, ok, good one, sir/madam.

  7. Unblemished? Of course not. Cleaner than the likes of Senna, Schumacher, Seb, Fernando? Without a shadow of a doubt.

    It seems to be a British thing – Nobody would accuse the likes of Moss, Stewart, Clark, Hill (both of them) or Mansell of being unsportsmanlike or dangerous behind the wheel. Norris and Russel both seem to be continuing that trend, too.

  8. Cleaner than Senna and Schumacher? That’s a goal that even Grosjean is able to achieve

    1. Grosjean is neither a race winner or champion let alone a multiple champion though

  9. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
    27th April 2020, 15:58

    Cleaner than most drivers/F1 champions, for sure. But off the track? He’s made some questionable choices, decisions, comments.

    On track, his “…maybe’s its because I’m black comment”.”, him (somewhat) sabotaging of Rosberg’s race at Abu Dhabi, telemetry-gate, lie-gate are the only things I can think of.

    Dennis has admitted that Hamilton was partly to blame in the whole Alonso/Hamilton saga.

    But at the end of the day, we’re all human. Lewis is a talented driver and certainly one of the finest of his generation. He’s more than made up for his controversies with some fascinating driving especially in his pre-Mercedes era.

    1. ‘On track, his “…maybe’s its because I’m black comment”.’

      It was an Ali G reference, FFS. A joke, quoted from a comedy programme – the character who says it _isn’t_ black. That was the point. Hence why he said ‘is it because I _is_ black?’ despite usually saying ‘I am’ whatever.

  10. If a less marketable driver tried the erratic driving Hamilton pulls behind the safety car, they’d get stomped by the stewards. Vettel’s reaction to that at Baku was more than overdue. Outside of that, however, I’d say Lewis is one of the cleaner drivers. The only thing in recent years I could think of is Monza 2018, which I’d say was slightly more his fault than Vettel’s, but I wouldn’t even have penalised him if I was a steward, so it’s not even worth mentioning. In terms of sportsmanship, he has surpassed his idols by literal light years.

    1. Charles Leberk
      28th April 2020, 21:55

      It was confirmed by telemetry that Hamilton did not brake in front of Vettel in Baku causing the contact. Vettel’s reaction was to deflect attention from his own error.

    2. You simply have to kidding?

      I mean you have to be surely?

      Monza 2018 was his ‘fault’?

      A spectacular and perfectly clean overtaking move that in no way did anything other than make Vettel behave like he always has. Result. A spin.

      Further he is far cleaner behind the safety car than ever Vettel is – see just a few weeks after the Baku mess. Which I might add was not an overdue reaction to long standing erratic driving but a completely ridiculous piece of behaviour that should have seen him banned.

      Guess we know where to look for history revision…


  11. I agree with those who have said LH hasn’t been ‘perfect’ or unblemished, for the reasons cited by some, but then he wouldn’t be a human being if he was. He has most certainly been no Schumacher, who to me was always a bully on the track, the biggest one ever imho, and for more than just the obvious and most well documented instances.

    As to Senna, he was also flawed as we all are, and I will always excuse him for Japan 1990 when after he took pole, on that Saturday night, Balestre of FISA switched the pole sitter position to be on the dirty side of the track. While one can always argue that in spite of that it was still up to Senna to keep it clean, I think that is very hard to do when one feels cheated and conspired against. It was practically the first thing he was asked about on his walk back to the pits after the incident, so it was a very contentious part of the weekend for him to have been out on the dirty side. Even if one were to still argue Senna was to blame, you can’t tell me politics and Balestre didn’t play a role in setting that incident up. Then again, so was MS being moved from Benetton over to Ferrari where a mega team was out together for him, about politics.

    1. “As to Senna, he was also flawed as we all are, and I will always excuse him for Japan 1990 when after he took pole, on that Saturday night, Balestre of FISA switched the pole sitter position to be on the dirty side of the track.”

      The pole sitter was not suddenly changed, Senna himself started on pole on the exact same position in 1988 and 1989. In 1990, after securing pole, he and Berger went to the stewards to change it, they agreed, but Ballestre disagreed. It was Senna himself who asked for the change in the first place (in 1988 and 1989 he didn’t seem to have a problem with it).

      It’s a typical Senna-thing. Trying to force something and when he eventually gets rejected, he claims it’s a conspiracy against him. People tend to say that Prost was good at the political games in F1, but Senna was very good at playing the victim in the media while being a less then clean driver on the track himself. He bullied drivers of the road as well, held up people who were trying to do qualifying laps, crashed in to his title rival on purpose. Yet Senna is a saint and Schumacher is the biggest bully ever. Both off them where very much equal in that sense. People tended to say that if you tried to pass Senna he would leave you the choice to go off together or back off, exactly the same as Schumacher did.

      1. Indeed, schumacher and senna were equal when it comes to sportsmanship or lack thereof.

      2. Tim Lemmens Your version of events caused me to search for more info on the topic. I can see that you likely used Wikipedia for your info, and I can also see that I didn’t have it quite straight either. A further search sent me to an article from this site from 2010 on the topic which I will reference.

        Turns out Senna and Berger both went to FISA regarding the placing of the pole sitter’s car ahead of the race weekend. It turns out that in the previous years when Senna got pole and was put on the dirty side he got terrible starts, so to imply that he was ‘fine’ with starting on that side previously, would be inaccurate, hence why he was trying to get that changed. He had proved to everyone in the previous two races in Japan that it was not an advantage to get pole.

        So I then wondered why he didn’t just intentionally place himself in second place on the grid then, and take the more advantageous spot on the clean side and let Prost have the pole. The answer is that a decision hadn’t been finalized until the Saturday night, so he had to just go for pole and hope that he and Berger had made a strong case for why pole shouldn’t be on the dirty side. When the decision was made to leave him on the dirty side, that of course upset him and made him suspicious of French head Balestre siding with French driver Prost. It likely made Senna wonder if Prost had gotten pole, Balestre would have made the switch for him and put him on the clean side as per Senna’s and Berger’s lobbying.

        As you’ll see in the article there was another factor that had infuriated Senna ahead of the weekend which was that the runoff area he was disqualified from the Championship for using previously, was now deemed legal to use only one year later. So had they decided that one year previously he would have had that Championship, and had 4 not 3. Again, to Senna this would have been seen as a slight against him and would have eaten him up inside as an injustice on that weekend.

        To claim it was just a Senna-thing and that he always claimed conspiracy against him is completely false, and in ‘90 he actually had cause to feel conspired against on a few counts. And btw nobody is calling Senna a saint, including me, and yes it was MS that by far made much more of a career of playing the bully while never having a WDC teammate to play on his mind, or to have to beat in an identical top car, but rather ones contracted to not compete against him, and while having only favouritism from the FIA. On top of having more advantages against the rest of the grid, and especially his teammate, than any driver ever has in F1, he still needed to be a bully to achieve his ‘success.’ Shameful.


        1. “Senna got pole and was put on the dirty side he got terrible starts,”
          His terrible start in 1988 had nothing to do with the dirty line, he just bogged down right after the start. In 1989 he did indeed start worse then Prost, but the driver in 4th started better then the driver in 3th. There was absolutely no proof that the starting position was the issue. Either way you look at it, the pole position was not “suddenly changed”. It was changed back after a request from the McLarenboys.

          “It likely made Senna wonder if Prost had gotten pole, Balestre would have made the switch for him and put him on the clean side as per Senna’s and Berger’s lobbying.”
          Exactly, he was always thinking about conspiracy’s. It’s not a secret.

          “To claim it was just a Senna-thing and that he always claimed conspiracy against him is completely false, and in ‘90 he actually had cause to feel conspired against on a few counts”
          So did Schumacher in 97, if you want to do some research. With Senna, it goes a lot further then 1990. It’s something that comes back in his entire career.

          Senna was just as much a bully on as off the track, as Schumacher. He made sure Warwick didn’t join him as a teammate as he was afraid he would have gotten preferential treatment in the team. After Prost, Berger was very much second driver at McLaren. They did not hire Berger because they believed he would fight for the championship, they hired Berger because he was generally slower then Senna and he was befriended with him.

          Senna was brilliant at playing in the media. He was very charismatic in public and that’s why people adored him. That’s why, whenever he said something, people tended to go along with it. I’m not saying Ballestre never ruled in favour of Prost, but he also never went against the rules. Senna can feel as upset as he liked about 1988, the rules were pretty clear, he himself made it possible to get disqualified. It was the same in 1990. He might have been on the dirty side, he could even be past by Prost in the first corner, he had every chance of overtaking Prost in the race. Prost didn’t finish in front of him once in the 6 races before, Senna had to retire once. The McLaren was the quicker car. Senna just decided to take him off and then play the “conspiracy-card”. In fact, had they both finished, it would by no means garanteed that Prost won the wdc. Senna raced him off because he would win the championship and used all the other bs as excuses.

          By all means, take a look at practicly all of Senna’s races. He was always over the limit. He pushed Prost against the wall, but when Schumacher did it with Barrichello, it was worthy off a black flag. Senna was holding up people in qualifying to ruin there laps, nobody seems to care, but when Schumacher parks his car to ruin 1 flying lap, he is the biggest cheater in the sport. Senna had so many collisions with cars because he didn’t want to yield, but that’s not bullying. Schumacher made not even half as much contact with other cars then Senna did, but he bullies. Senna get’s unlapped by Irvine, without contact, and he goes to punch him in the face after the race, but he is not a bully. I can go on and on with examples. People overlook most of Senna’s bad sides because he had this supercharismatic personality, in contrast with the cold Schumacher (in press) and because he died.

    2. Jonathan Edwards
      28th April 2020, 13:15

      I’d agree with the other response to you post, and add that Senna’s move hast to be seen as the worst transgression in F1 history, far worse than Schumacher in Jerez or Adelaide. Schumacher should rightly be condemned for these two, but they were both heat of the moment decisions, made in a split second, in the realization that a championship was about to be lost. Senna’s move was premeditated, and happened at a speed likely in the excess of 80-100 mph higher than Schumacher’s two collisions. Senna could easily have killed Prost and himself, and, again, he said he was going to take Prost off prior to the race.

      No one, with knowledge of the velocity delta and the fact Senna’s move was premeditated, should ever conclude his was excused, and Schumacher was the dirtier driver.

      1. @Jonathan Edwards Heat of the moment decisions?

        You can’t know that, as one could argue MS knew going into those Championship deciding races what the implications of a dnf, or trailing behind, would be. For all you know he may have decided well ahead of time that he was going to win at any cost. That certainly has appeared to be the case by his actions. The fact that MS did this sort of thing to Mika Haakinen before they were even in F1, and then did it again in F1 in 97 after having done it in 94, shows a pattern that makes your ‘split second’ theory a little harder to justify. Of course Mosley, in order to shelter MS from any real punishment for Jerez, termed MS’s move as ‘instinctual’ and therefore worthy of only minimal penalty. To that I have always wondered then why all moves by all drivers good, bad, or indifferent aren’t all just ‘instinctual’ and therefore not worthy of anything but minimal punishment when they go wrong. Also in the case of MS’s incidents, he never once had any sense the governing body was conspiring against him, especially not throughout the course of one race weekend, and a Championship weekend at that.

        As to your notion that the speed of the cars at which incidents occur is relevant, then let’s exonerate Vettel for his extremely low speed sideswipe into LH while behind a safety car, as just one example. After all, according to you if the action of jinking one’s steering wheel and moving one’s car into someone else’s is done at a lower speed, that action of moving the steering wheel to the desired effect can be forgiven much more, like it is somehow more understandable, or less intentional, if done at lower speed.

        Bottom line for me is that to claim Senna’s action was the worst transgression in F1 history because it was premeditated, is wrong. Senna did not make a habit of this (Prost had a hand in it in 89) unlike what is a popular stance for those who chose that tack. It is MS that made a career of this kind of behaviour, without any strife created towards him by the governing body…just all on his own…which was far more despicable.

        1. Jonathan Edwards
          28th April 2020, 17:53

          Your entire paragraph devoted to the speed at which an incident occurs only helps my point. I actually do think those who acted like Vettel committed murder were overreacting. However, that is not the real point. You present this argument in the context of how the stewards should view an incident, as it pertains to the rules they serve to enforce. I’m aware there’s a rule written that prohibits drivers from driving into each other, and that in this sense, the three incidents broke the same rule. I’m also aware that Senna T-boned Prost at 160 mph, and any sane person should realize that this act has bigger implications than what FIA rule it broke.

          Regarding premeditation, you’re speculating on Schumacher, whereas Senna stated he was going to do what he eventually did. There is a difference, regardless of how strongly you feel you know what Schumacher was prepared to do.

          As to the other items you always seem to mention with Schumacher, there’s a lot that can be debated there as well. You always cite all the help he received from the FIA. 1994, the multi race ban for the black flag incident for passing on the warmup lap? I’ve seen cars pass each other on the warmup lap numerous times and the commentators don’t give it a second thought. But it was such an egregious transgression in ‘94 to warrant what it turned into? Why didn’t they step in to help their favored son there? Why did they institute the tire rules in ‘05 with the specific aim of ending Ferrari’s dominance?

          I won’t argue with any F1 fan that dislikes Schumacher for his on track antics. He did plenty of things he shouldn’t have. But some people have a pathological need to amplify everything he did to a degree I cannot understand. You speak very intelligently on numerous F1 subjects. We agreed on Vettel in Canada last year as I recall. Yet you can’t mention Schumacher in a post without following it up with how horrible he was, on levels never before seen in F1. Why?

          1. I was only presenting an argument that the speed they were going doesn’t change the ‘crime.’ You are equating speed with danger and letting MS off the hook (not entirely I know) for a select couple of his many incidents that happened to be (I’ll take your word for it ) slower. How about we consider MS in his Mercedes moving over Barricello down whatever that straightaway was, at very high speed. Didn’t get a penalty for that, but it’s an example that should be added to the sample list if we’re going to rate drivers by their indiscretions and tie in a ‘danger rating.’ I’m speaking in more generalities than that. F1 is always at least somewhat dangerous. The list of occasions when MS bullied others off the track is extensive, on top of the actual physical and intentional hits.

            With the Senna/Prost incident of ‘90, there was history there from the previous years, and a lot of it was political, particularly with the head of the governing body. Does that exonerate Senna completely? Of course not, but it is not like Senna just made a habit of taking people out for kicks. It is not like he just picked out targets on a regular basis and then warned us that they were in it if he didn’t get a good start. As flawed as Senna’s decisions were that weekend, he had ‘help’ in making that decision via the manipulation of the very body that should be neutral on this sort of thing. The French head of FISA should not have been siding with the French driver Prost and creating an atmosphere of distrust.

            And that’s why to me MS was far far worse. He never had the ‘incentive’ shall we say from being conspired against by Moseley, to feel he had to stand up for himself. He just went ahead and took all the advantages he had been handed, and still felt the need to whack people and be the bully.

            You ask me why I have such an issue with MS, and I would ask you why you do not. Why you have to boil his behaviour down to a couple of low speed incidents that you claim were split second and therefore more understandable. You think they didn’t help their ‘favoured son’ every time and therefore he was not favoured? Again I have to ask why you are so determined to sweep MS’s behaviour and that of Bernie and Max under the carpet so readily? You see they did favour him immensely. Even with all the miriad illegalities and the whack on DH in 94, MS got to keep his title. In 95 it was the suspicion that Benetton was using illegal TC. Then suddenly MS is moved away from there from where he was still under contract and winning, to losing Ferrari, with pretty much his whole crew from Benetton as well. There was big politics going on between Max and Bernie and Briatore at the time. But not against MS.

            The rest of course was history with MS having the most resources ever put into one driver, ignoring the needs of his intentionally hired sub-par teammates who were only there because they knew they would have to sell out as their only way of ever getting to Ferrari, and the list of advantages MS had as a result, with the designer car and tires and the endless testing on their private track, and MS still had to be the greedy bully.

            Somewhat predictably, you then cite the rules changes for 05 that were meant to halt Ferrari as some sort of ‘proof’ that they didn’t favour MS. Of course that was after a decade of favouring him, and his 5 Championships with Ferrari and then yeah, it (that kind of favouritism) was just no longer sustainable, as audience diminished from the predictability. It has been quite common in F1 for rules to be changed to try to upset a monopoly that a team might hold on the titles until it is detrimental to the audience numbers. I think you should ask yourself why you are more relatively fine with a decade of that, and an MS that still had to use his car as a weapon to win, over a one-off mistake by Senna.

          2. ” How about we consider MS in his Mercedes moving over Barricello down whatever that straightaway was, at very high speed. Didn’t get a penalty for that, but it’s an example that should be added to the sample list if we’re going to rate drivers by their indiscretions and tie in a ‘danger rating.’”

            Schumacher did get a penalty. And like a said above, Senna did basicly the same thing to Prost.

            “With the Senna/Prost incident of ‘90, there was history there from the previous years, and a lot of it”
            In the whole of 97, there was a history between Villeneuve and Schumacher as well. Not at the least the strategical ‘disqualifying’ Williams took after Villeneuve had ignored multiple yellow flags.

            “Then suddenly MS is moved away from there from where he was still under contract and winning, to losing Ferrari, with pretty much his whole crew from Benetton as well. There was big politics going on between Max and Bernie and Briatore at the time. But not against MS.”
            You should listen to Brawn his podcast for his move to Ferrari, as well as why Brawn actually decided to move. It makes sense that Schumacher wants to take the key personell to Ferrari as well. They all got a big figure of money, money is everything in F1.

            “In 95 it was the suspicion that Benetton was using illegal TC”
            There was no suspicion in 95, that was 94.

            “The rest of course was history with MS having the most resources ever put into one driver, ignoring the needs of his intentionally hired sub-par teammates who were only there because they knew they would have to sell out as their only way of ever getting to Ferrari, and the list of advantages MS had as a result, with the designer car and tires and the endless testing on their private track, and MS still had to be the greedy bully.”

            There was absolutely nothing stopping a rival team to do exactly the same. Hire a first driver, have a survant, test as much as you want, … BMW, Toyota, Mercedes(McLaren), Honda(BAR) all had the resources to do exactly the same. I also hate the “designer tyres” argument. Off course a tyre is going to be made to the wishes of your best team. Should they have desigend tyres for Minardi or Jordan?

            You also conveniently miss all the rule changes between 2001 and 2004 to try and stop Ferrari’s advantage.

            You make it sound as if Schumacher constantly took competitors out in the race. Schumacher did no such thing. He was very hard in defending, but even then he was mostly fair. He went very hard on Hakkinen in Spa 2000 (nothing Verstappen hasn’t done, btw) and he pushed Frentzen of the track in 98 at Canada. Apart from the incidents of 94 and 97, that’s about it. He didn’t do anything else Senna didn’t at least do.

  12. The question is, when I write a comment on here in 10 years, reflecting critically on Hamilton’s career, will I have to include a few words along the lines of “though he did that questionable thing on the track,” as I would have to were I writing about Schumacher or Senna?

    Currently, the answer is no.

    I’m sure I could pick and prod little incidents out of my memory if I really needed to, but there’s nothing that comes to mind that would get close to being a ‘must mention’ type of blemish.

    1. Actually yes other than Hungary 07 when both Lewis and Fernando both did equally bad things I can’t think of a lot either has done that is that bad. Few little things but not a lot.

      Fernando got the benefit of 08 Singapore but its quite clear to anyone he wouldn’t of played a part in that (He didn’t need the win, Renault did, had a Ferrari deal pretty much already, the strategy was fine- same as others near the back that day and same as MS did at Monaco 06 and if you get a calculator you can work out the basics of fuel strategy for yourself… Those that can’t shouldn’t comment on that era of racing)

      But would either run into another one to get a title. We just don’t know…

      1. ‘Fernando got the benefit of 08 Singapore but its quite clear to anyone he wouldn’t of played a part in that’

        Seriously?! It’s established beyond any real doubt that Alonso conceived the plan and orchestrated it. It is beyond any doubt at all that he knew of the plan and was actively involved in it.

        You’re wrong about the strategy – that is how we know Alonso was in on the plot, because he followed it perfectly before Piquet went off.

        You’re also wrong about his character. He’d do anything for a win that served his purposes, which were mostly making his successes his own and his failures the car’s. This epitomises his career.

  13. petebaldwin (@)
    27th April 2020, 17:13

    Hamilton is a fairly sporting driver (moreso than Vettel and Schumacher) but when he’s battling someone closely for the title, he’s much like anyone else would be.

    We really haven’t see a huge amount of him fighting for a title in a close battle. He was up against Nico for a while which wasn’t exactly a friendly rivalry and then at the start of his career with Alonso and Massa which also involved a fairly large amount of controversy.

    He’s a relatively sporting and clean driver – possibly the most sporting and clean driver on the grid at present but he’s certainly no saint and is far from “unblemished.”

  14. My comment either got deleted or didn’t post in the first place, so here goes again:

    It’s ridiculous to claim he’s got an unblemished record. In the last few years he has indeed benn very clean, but that is much easier when out in front most of the time. I’m don’t think he was always clean in his battles with Rosberg, but then Nico wasn’t clean either. But people should remember that he was a crash magnet in 2010-12, and it was usually his fault. He consistently failed to take responsibility and came up with some rubbish conspiracy theories – like when he took out Maldonado in Monaco (or it could have been Massa a year before) and implied the stewards had given him a penalty because they were racist. Ridiculous. That’s when I lost respect for him and have never really got it back.

    1. W (@vishnusxdx)
      27th April 2020, 19:28

      He consistently failed to take responsibility and came up with some rubbish conspiracy theories – like when he took out Maldonado in Monaco (or it could have been Massa a year before) and implied the stewards had given him a penalty because they were racist. Ridiculous. That’s when I lost respect for him and have never really got it back.

      Oh please, such utter rubbish. We was not a “crash magnet”, in those years. He had a bad record in 2011 for sure, but totally not during 2010 or 2012. Crash magnets are Maldonado, Grosjean (in recent years).

      And the phrase “it’s because i’m black” comes from Ali G, a white satiric actor, he used it alot… you know… satirically. So judge all you want but keep context in mind PLEASE.

      1. @vishnusxdx he probably had more accidents than anyone else bar Maldonado in those years. 2012 wasn’t so bad – 2010 and 11 were though.

        And I’m fully aware of the Ali G thing – the thing is though, he wouldn’t have said it if he wasn’t trying to make a point, would he? Unless he’s stupid, which he really is not.

        1. The whole point of the Ali G joke is that it has nothing to do with colour. So anyone who thinks racism is in there somewhere clearly doesn’t get the joke.

          1. He clearly used it in a pointed way. He was not joking, that was clear if you watched the interview.

        2. “He PROBABLY had more accidents than anyone bar Maldonado…”
          That’s a bit fuzzy for me. Did he? Or didn’t he? Let’s not make things up to fit your agenda. He either did or he didn’t. I’m thinking your bias is clouding yor memory somewhat.

        3. He absolutely did not have more accidents than anyone else. At any point in his career actually.

          That is a statistical fact that your are welcome to look up.

          In 2011 Massa set out to be as difficult as possible. There were five incidents two were Massa two were LH and one racing incident. Massa was penalised as well something often ove4looked in the rush to find something bad about LH.

          While 2011 is seen as his ‘bad’ year it should be put in context. He won races just as many as his team mate and got the only none red bull pole of the entire year. The only one. All year. That is how fast the 2011 Red Bull was.

          Much of his 2011 was frustration that once again Macca were out of the title race and were nowhere near Red Bull. That plus his crazy girlfriend makes for an awful year yet one in which his results were actually quite good. Button did not really care he was a hundred points off Vettel in 2nd his only wish was to beat Hamilton.

      2. In addition there’s the whole ‘lying to get another driver punished’ thing in 2009. That’s a stain on his record as well, but one that is oft forgotten now.

        1. Well… fair play. At least you made a somewhat factual comment this time.
          Nobody goes through an F1 racing career at the very top without a blemished record. That is just how it is. Winners will push the limits of their cars and the laws of the sport. Lewis, while sometimes dropping clangers off track, has earned his place at the top of this sport in every aspect. He races hard and goes right to the limit of what’s allowed but he rarely goes over said limit.

  15. Must be a slow racing news day,,, Oh wait a minute…

  16. Mr. Hamilton is one of the cleanest drivers in F1. His kicking out Alexander Albon from 2nd position in Brazil (that would have been his first podium for RB and a moment to shine next to his teammate Max) was, as Hamilton stated, a mistake, a miscalculation. To me it was more a rookie fault, a beginners clumsiness, a totally unnessesary Ocon-like (same spot) faul.
    But Hamilton has always been very good in promoting his own Holyness and innocense while at the same time smearing suspect on one or the other fellow driver. And that…. is the dirty-side of mr. Holyham.

    1. Brazil was clearly a mistake in trying to overtake to quickly. It might look clumsy, but it happens more than you think in F1.

      If you really try to bring down a driver without any good arguments, at least use correct facts, as it was not the same corner as with Verstappen and Ocon. The situation was completely different as well.

    2. Maxi-fannboys, you are the most ridiculous bunch of people on the internet.

    3. Wah wah wah…that nasty Lewis Hamilton

  17. I think the notion Hamilton is cleaner is broadly true. Especially since 2014 it has made sense, allowing him to accumulate points while rivals crash. Think Singapore 2018.

    But I fear he is driving the wrong way for the current (last years?) rules. He is bullied by Verstappen and Leclerc, normally backing off first. Think Leclerc’s weave in Monza 2019. I don’t like it, but I think he might need a few crashes to maintain respect.

    1. 6 WDCS say he has earned respect regardless.
      There is a grain of truth in what you say but Lewis knows how to win WDCs and it doesn’t involve getting into unnecessary scrapes with young pretenders with everything to prove.
      Lewis could and would be just as aggressive if he didn’t have a wdc at stake like VER and LEC, as he has proved on several occasions when his title is won. Let’s see how they both cope in a scrap for the title. All they have had to fight for is a few race wins so they can afford to put it all out there.
      No doubting both LEC and VER’s talent but they have much left to prove. Lewis not so much.

  18. I have frequently discussed this with friends, and I believe Hamilton is a clean driver simply because he wants there to be no doubt that he deserved to win. I believe that he believes he can win honestly; and if that’s the case, why would he want to taint the wins with mutterings, murmurings and suspicions?

    Guy simply believes in himself and wants to prove it beyond doubt. Lesser people cheat because they don’t have the faith that they can produce the goods, no matter what.

    1. I agree with you up to your last line. Maradona says that can’t be right.

      I think some people lose sight of the difference between winning and beating your opponents. They think it’s winning that’s important, because that’s what people praise them for, when really that’s just a consequence of being good enough to beat everyone else.

      Another category of cheat – Alonso, for example – just glories in getting away with cheating, in pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, and would do it even if they were already likely to win.

  19. It is a fair belief, that Hamilton is a cleaner racer, than other greats.

    I wonder what happened if Nico persisted for a few more seasons. What would happen if he was in similar position to the greats?

    I don’t believe he would simply roll over and politley back off.

    1. Nico was the dirty one of the two.
      Monaco and Spa 2014, Barcelona 2016.

  20. Well, Hamilton certainly is a cleaner driver than both Schumacher and Senna, that’s for sure. I don’t like him as a person (in the media of course, I don’t know him in reality), but as a driver he is almost flawless in recent years….being with a superior car of course. It will almost certainly be different if he is with the second strongest car and has to overdrive in order to get a result. But having the best car is not his fault, he is doing the best he can and I respect that.

    And I certainly respect him for wanting “to win the right way”. This is important to me as a fan too. That’s why my number one will always be Mika. Sportsman 100%. Gentleman 100%. Tough racer 100%. Not a single shady moment in his career and in his two championships. He always treated others with respect on track. Kimi is the same way. Both are cool characters too.

    1. Just a quick reminder about Kimi: 2018 british GP.
      A crucial manoeuvre in Vettel’s win

    2. “Not a single shady moment in his career”
      Apart from being banned for constantly crashing cars out at the start of GP’s that is… Hakkinen calmed down a lot after his nasty crash in 95. Before that he reguarly crashed out himself and other drivers, Grosjean-style.

  21. speaking of Vettel. Lets not forget this dozy :


    Vettel was way out in front, then slows and slow and slow until Hamilton is right up behind him, then he pulls that stunt. After this near miss, vettel then shoots off into the distance. Showing there was nothing much wrong with his car. Makes you wonder what was going through his head. And then his dramatic over reactions afterwards. “not like this guys”

  22. “Hamilton And Vettel’s Near Miss In Montreal | 2019 Canadian Grand Prix”

  23. Lewis Hamilton has an “utterly unblemished record” as a driver which is “unprecedented” among multiple world champions according to James Allison, technical director at his Mercedes team

    Clearly Allison didn’t look before the Senna/Prost era as I can think of a lot of multiple champions who raced cleaner than Hamilton, imho.
    Fangio, Clark, Hill and Stewart to name a few. And let’s not forget Hamilton’s hero Niki Lauda.

    1. Lewis Hamilton let team mate Valtteri Bottas back through to take 3rd at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix – but could his act of sportsmanship come back to haunt him at the end of the season?

  24. F1oSaurus (@)
    28th April 2020, 18:45

    Even Villeneuve noted how much of a gentleman racer Hamilton is.

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