Lewis Hamilton: Astounding Or Atrocious

Prasanna VenkatachalamContributor ISeptember 16, 2008

When Lewis Hamilton lost the World Championship in his rookie season by one point, I was one of the many who admired the rookie’s talents.  When the 2008 season began with Lewis’ victory at Melbourne, I personally thought that it was THE best way for a driver to start his championship bid after a disappointing first year. 

However, as the season progressed, I have slowly switched sides, and recently have become a fan of www.lewishamiltonsucks.com.  I am sure that I am not the only one to share this view of the Briton, and I began pondering how anyone can turn their back on an amazing driver such as Hamilton. 

Although many claim that the hatred against Hamilton is purely based on his African American roots, many also argue that they are rather tired of his antics.  For me, personally, the latter is very valid.

While Robert Kubica, in a recent interview, declared that all drivers respect one another, Hamilton made this comment when asked about the Kimi Raikkonen’s driving skills at Spa:  “That’s the way he drives. If you don’t have the balls to brake late, that’s your problem…”  This statement wouldn’t have enraged many Ferrari and Raikkonen tifosis if Hamilton had only stopped speaking after that.  However, he took the liberty to comment on Felipe Massa’s position in the championship:  “Massa is the one who has to work damn hard to keep up with me.”

In a previous interview, he has openly talked about his superiority over all the other drivers from the past and the present:  "I'm no No 2, whoever you put me next to - even Michael Schumacher."  Although I agree that every driver should consider himself second to none, blatantly claiming supremacy over a legend such as Michael Schumacher is rather primitive.

Even though one can state that Schumacher was also arrogant, and that arrogance is required to become a champion in this sport, Schumacher has seldom shown his arrogance off the track.  He might have driven reckless, he might have gotten into fights with David Coulthard over racing incidents, and he even might have even purposefully blocked the Rascasse hairpin in Monaco in 2006 to secure pole position; but no one has ever called that man arrogant, because he did what a racing driver is ought to do: drive, fight and win at any cost. 

Hamilton does have something in common with Schumacher, as he will also do anything to win.  He will drive his heart out as he declared in an interview:  “I'm a racer, I do the best job I can on the track and I race my heart off.”  That statement would have been acceptable if he had only decided to stop there; however, he continued on to say that “There’s no-one that puts more heart into it than me.” 

My question would be this:  why would people spend millions purchasing Formula One teams, and hire drivers who don’t want to put their ‘hearts’ into this sport or who don’t want to win the World Championship?”

Everybody agrees that Hamilton is a good driver, but he is also not a perfect driver.  Whether in racing or in life, everybody makes mistakes; the highlight of Hamilton’s faux pas came in Canada when he disregarded the red light at the end of the pit lane, and ended Raikkonen’s race. 

During the Thursday press conference at France, Anne Giuntini from L’Equipe asked Lewis the following question:  “Sorry to disturb you, Lewis, but is it what you call a small incident involving Kimi being a victim? Is it smaller than a mistake that would annoy only you?”  Instead of providing a straightforward answer, Hamilton reflected with this rhetoric:  “That’s what I just said, didn’t I?” 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a little “arrogant?”  Kimi made a similar mistake in Monaco when he ran into the back of Adrian Sutil, but he had the “balls” to openly confess to the heart stricken Force India driver.

Hamilton’s self proclaimed superiority over the other drivers goes deeper when he blatantly admitted that he has a more athletic than most drivers.  At the Thursday press conference in Britain, Hamilton was asked the following:  “At the Reebok launch the other day you were quoted as saying you thought you were fitter than Jenson. Is that the case?”  Hamilton’s response was obvious:  “I’ve noticed that Jenson has a bit of a belly and so… I’m only joking! I was just trying to be positive.”  I think anyone can agree that one can be positive about themselves without putting anyone else down.  When Jensen Button threw down the gauntlet and invited Lewis to a triathlon, Lewis initially agreed only to back down a while later due to concerns shown by his management. 

I am completely aware of the fact that there are people who are ready to say that I am reading between the lines here, so here is a final quote from the omnipotent Hamilton himself from a TV interview, where he was questioned about his feelings from Turn One in Hungary, where he and Heikki Kovalainen lost their first and second place on the grid, respectively:  “Hungary was a disappointing first corner for me.  As you know, when I’m racing, generally no one overtakes me.  And if they do, it’s only on the inside, and that’s a big gift.  When I got overtaken on the outside, that’s something I swear would never happen again.”  I don’t think it can get any clearer than that. 

Hamilton: I am the best.

In my opinion, Hamilton has to realize that he indeed is a human being and not a demigod as he thinks he is.  When a manufacturer such as McLaren provides a car such as the MP4-23, a driver has to be able to extract 100 percent from the car, and provide results.  There is no surprise that Lewis is winning Grands Prix with that car; however, what’s more surprising is the fact Fenando Alonso was able to finish fourth in the Italian Grand Prix after starting eighth on the grid with an inferior Renault. 

What’s truly mind-blowing is the fact that Sebastian Vettel was able to produce a victorious drive in the treacherous conditions in a Scuderia Toro Rosso’s STR4.  What was even more astonishing was that Vettel was reluctant to make any correlations between himself and Schumacher:

However, Vettel’s record breaking achievement seems to be getting overshadowed by the British press, who simply cannot stop praising Hamilton.  I have also noticed that the majority of Lewis Hamilton’s fans are British, and there is something fundamentally wrong if the majority of your fans are of the same nationality as you; I mean, does anyone here remember Sanjaya Malakar?