Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton: Petulant child // Can pace and potential make up for youth and inexperience?

Published by Mr. C

I think Ron Dennis made a mistake signing Lewis Hamilton for 2007. I believe he would have been better off putting McLaren test driver Gary Paffett in the 2nd seat instead.

Now, I appreciate these views may be at odds with every single other person* in the UK right now, but I honestly believe this to be the case. Here's why.

No matter how good a racer Lewis is, he's in very grave danger of destablising McLaren's 2007 championship campaign. During the press conference that followed his 2nd place at the Monaco GP, Lewis made the following comment about his strategy:

Yeah, I was actually quite surprised because I was fuelled to do five laps, maybe six laps longer than Fernando and they stopped me with three laps.

I've got number two on my car. I am the number two driver.

To which the more experienced Alonso felt the need to interrupt with:

I think...I can clarify maybe the situation. I was two laps later than I should be in the first stint because I saved fuel in the first part of the race.

So, according to the not-so-bright Lewis, if he starts the race with five extra laps he should get those five laps, regardless of how his teammate is driving. Nothing changes apparently, those five laps were his.

The thing is, that's not the worst part. Because of Hamilton's public bellyaching, the FIA got a whiff of the dreaded phrase 'team orders' and are now subsequently investigating McLaren. They issued the following statement this morning:

The FIA has launched an investigation into incidents involving the McLaren Mercedes team at the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix in light of a possible breach of the International Sporting Code.

So, lets assume for a second the FIA find McLaren in breach of the rules, they could have their Monaco constructors points deleted - in which case you can pretty much blame Lewis if they lose that championship this year. Or, the team could be banned for a couple of races - in which case you can blame Lewis for blowing Alonso's chances of retaining his world title too.

It's actually unlikely that the FIA will do anything though. The rules in question weren't brought in to prevent good race strategy, only the blatant manipulation of race results, and that really doesn't appear to have happened in this case.

But my point remains, the young boy in the team isn't helping by shouting his mouth off in this way. And it's not the first time. Prior to the last race he blatantly gave away the teams pit stop strategy by trying to defend his lowly grid position versus his teammates.

Hamilton's problem I think, is he's starting to believe his own hype. He's acting like a spoilt, petulant child who's upset because he can't have his own way. The media suggested before the Monaco GP that it was the man's destiny to win the race because he's never lost in the Principality. Now I hate to point out the obvious, but I've never lost a race around the twisty streets of Monaco either, but that doesn't make it my destiny to win in F1 anytime soon does it?

So you have to ask, would Paffett be doing a better job right now? I say yes he would - because he'd be a better team player. He'd be less inclined to try and usurp a world champion and he'd help, rather than hinder McLaren in their bid to win both titles. Also with Paffett you get an experienced tester. Rumor has it that 'Little Lewis' spent so much time sending the team round in circles during his last test, they came away with next to no meaningful or useful data. Excellent work Mr. H.

Don't be surprised if Alonso gets the lions share of testing duties this year. It's not driver favoritism, it's the basic need to get a job done (although you can expect a Hamilton family member to come out with a line about being number 2 regardless).

In Gary you get a well rounded individual with a years testing experience and knowledge of the 'McLaren Way'. In Lewis you get a hotheaded youngster with his own agenda and a mighty big gob to match.

It's a recipe for disaster Ron, a recipe for disaster.

* It should be noted that, as a much better judge of character than me, Christine spotted the attitude in Hamilton way before I did. I forget on which show we talked about it, but I have to doff my hat to her on this one.




  • God, how I love to say I told you so. :0)

  • Oh dear.

    Good read first of all. You may be right about Lewis. I was one of the few who thought Lewis should have spent one year testing for McLaren, and have Gary Paffett in the race car.

    I don't quite know what he said to other reporters and whether they twisted his words, but in the press conference he didn't seem too disappointed or annoyed. I dunno.

    Ron is a smart man. Hopefully things don't get as bad as you've mentioned regarding the championship. McLaren really deserve to win this year (eventhough I'm a Kimi fan I was a McLaren supporter before he joined).

  • >>

    This is true: How exactly?

    Hamilton has scored 38 points, to sit with as many points as his partner.

    I get the point about Ron D telling him to cool down to preserve both cars and all that, fair enough: but Hamilton was prevented from having a crack at Alonso through the preferred methodology of gassed up to run for five more laps and while the car was light, make up the time to Alonso and then pass him in the pits.

    Some BS was made up to cover it by saying it was the fear of the safety car coming up, but I think Dennis got some serious lobbying from Alonso and held back Hamilton.

    It happens, and to the extent of stopping both drivers wrecking both cars as did Honda's Button and Barichello did at Spain, fair enough.

    Not letting Hamilton _try_ and sort out his plan was a disgrace, and wrong.

    That said, Alonso looked imperious all weekend, a superb performance.

    brendan (back in Atlanta)

  • Evenstar, you're probably correct, i was thinking worst case scenario, hopefully the FIA will see sense and the team will live to fight another day.

  • brendan, in my eyes Hamilton was an accident waiting to happen all weekend. he binned it in practice, he looked ragged throughout qually, and he hit the barriers several times towards the end of the race (when he wasn't even pushing!).

    he lost any chance of a fair fight because of this.

    i think ron recognised the pressure the guy was under, and made a wise decision.

    the BS you mention was used by Ron in order *not* to criticise or highlight Hamilton's shortcomings.

  • Really, if you look at what's happened, it's just media hype.

    Hamilton has always been saying "I'm a number 2 driver, I'm a rookie, I'm learning," and whilst the way he says it leaves us all knowing he doesn't believe it - it's the corporate line.

    But the British media wanted Hamilton to do well, because it's about bloody time we had a Briton be good at sport. So, they pick up on what he's said, spin it out of context, and lo and behold, an FIA investigation.

    They've never picked up on all the other times he's hinted at strategy playing a part in the difference between him winning and finishing behind Alonso. Because that's the way the sport goes.

    The FIA will find nothing, Hamilton will go on and do well again, and the media will find something else to focus on.

  • "...and the media will find something else to focus on."

    very true.

    btw, anyone know where brendan was before he got back to Atlanta? i feel i've missed out on something.

  • I'm not so sure Hamilton's ragged approach is a bad thing. From what I've seen (limited, I'll admit), most drivers clip the barriers at least once during the race. Even when the cars were delicate, way back in the mid-late '90s, they still survived the odd brush. Well, mostly survived. I think Hamilton's approach to letting the tail move happy is refreshing, particularly in comparison to a driver like Button who has to have the car perfectly balanced to achieve his ultimate speed. And even though he was 'ragged' in qualy, he still put it in second, third if you take Raikkonen into account with a strong lap.

    If you can get away with clipping a barrier or two (or five), and the car can take it, then I say go for it. Certainly makes it more interesting to watch. And at least he didn't bin it during qualy, unlike a certain highly paid Ferrari driver.

    Although I agree that Ron made the right decision in order to keep a strong result. In my mind, if the decision was made around about the time of the second round of stops, it was 100% acceptable.

  • Was all this hulla balloo started when Ron mentioned to ITV's Ted Kravitz that the race was 'controlled' from after the first round of pit stops? I knew that would trigger off something. I just thought of it as the race being under their control i.e they had the victory secured because obviously there was no threat at all.

    And what's the point in letting two very aggressive drivers, wanting to mess each other up mentally as racers, race each other at Monaco? Ron Dennis has always been a team man and he does whats in best interest for the team. Alonso was fastest in qualy, faster than Hamilton all weekend and therefore it was common sense that he won, it wasn't down to team orders.

    Ugh. Lol.

    Christine is right, the media will find something else to chew on soon.

  • Christine is right, the media will find something else to chew on soon.

    You betcha'. The build up to the British Grand Prix has already started with the adverts on TV. I can hear it now: "Will Lewis Win At Silverstone?"

  • looks like Macca have been cleared of any wrongdoing:

    http://tinyurl.com/2d89nb

  • about the barrier brushes - Hamilton said on Saturday (before race) during some TV interview that in Monaco you simply have to touch the barriers all the time if you want to be quick ... and he did. I walked part of track after the race and man, there was lots of rubber on the walls, surely not only Hamilton was touching them :-)

  • that's true schwarzwolf, you have to be close. but after you've been told to calm down, hold station and make it to the end of the race?

    i'm guessing he was in a bad mood and felt the need to prove a point. in fact that sounds a lot like a montoya rather than a future world champion.

  • you strange, strange person. Costing mclaren the championships? what on earth is wrong with you? And whats this 'public bellyaching'? Have you even bothered to read the post-race press conference and seen Lewis' comments on the matter?

    FIA acted after Ron Dennis publically stated that he told Hamilton to back off. The investigation was nothing to do with anything that was said by Lewis.

    You seem to think it would be wiser to put a slower driver in the car, so that the mighty Alonso can do as he pleases, unchallenged.

    And your comments about Hamiltons testing are completely unjustified; you have used no evidence at all to back up your outrageous comments.

    Sad that someone like you should have the opportunity to corrupt people's minds with your biased, narrow-minded trash.

    Thankfully real F1 fans do more research and know that your opinion is merely a wild theory from your own brain, rather than based on any facts.

  • "you strange, strange person"

    thanks jem, guilty as charged :)

  • Well, apart from mentioning the strange bit, how about answering those other questions from Jem, because to me these spoilt petulent child commnents from you are very strange indeed. He's not in it to be a team player as you would suggest Paffet of all people would be, and to mention him alongside Alonso is very strange because he did not set the testing scene alight, always lagging behind the other testers. He's not there to play second fiddle or to fill a supporting role. He's was leading the championship up to Monaco for god's sake. Lewis has shown us he's capable of winning races, and I believe he could've if he did'nt pit earlier for who knows what reason, by team order.

    Let's remind ourselves what a sterling and courageous job Lewis has done up to now as a rookie, and being consistently faster than a 2 times world champ. Maybe thats your crux with him....

  • here's a great recipe for winning both world championships:

    - take a proven world champ

    - put in fast car

    - shore up team with supporting partner to bring home constructors points

    - win both titles

    yeah it's oversimplified, but it worked great for renault and ferrari the last couple of years

    Brad, on the quote:

    "Lewis has shown us he’s capable of winning races"

    when exactly? his team mate has got pole and two race wins under his belt. what's hamilton have...a smattering of podiums? i think you're wrong about monaco. alonso had the legs on him the whole weekend.

    Jen, on the quote:

    "...your comments about Hamiltons testing are completely unjustified"

    not really, look at the times he was putting in during the course of the Malaysia test. it's clear to see the team moved backwards towards the end of the week. why else do you think alonso got the nod for the whole Barca test?

  • I disagree that a team should seek a 'supporting partner'. Much better to have 2 strong drivers pushing each other, like Prost & Senna did! I'm sure Renault would have preferred Fisichella to have been getting in on the action a lot more in 05 & 06. If Ron thought like you, he would've just kept De la Rosa in the car.

    I agree with Brad that Lewis has shown he is capable of winning, I think most people would expect Hamilton to win a few races this year. He has outperformed Alonso on more than one race weekend, and if he can do that at a circuit where Mclaren have the advantage over Ferrari, then you see what I mean.

    And you havent answered my query about what Hamilton's public bellyaching is. As far as I'm aware, he hasnt made any public bellyaching at all, and your comment that he could cost Alonso and McLaren the title(s) is a massive exaggeration!

  • I don't think anyone is denying that Hamilton has done a fantastic job for his first season in F1. He's in a fast car, which probably accounts for his podium finishes, but it's blatantly obvious the man has talent.

    However we all have to face facts: he is the number two driver. He has said so himself. This doesn't mean he's not allowed to win, it doesn't mean he can't fight for the championship. But it does mean that Alonso has the priority.

    Whether we agree with there being first and second drivers is a completely different argument, and possibly one we should look at closer. The point here is that Lewis is the guy in the number two seat, and so far he seems to be uncomfortable in that role. He wants to do well, and no one can blame him, but sometimes in F1, you have to bide your time.

    I also just want to say to Jem that it's not at all fair to say we don't do our research - you have absolutely no idea. And quote: "your opinion is a wild theory from your own brain..." isn't that what an opinion is??

  • fine jem, i'd have to agree with you on the 'supporting partner' point. i don't think Gary would be slow though, i'd expect to be very quick.

    the public bellyaching is a problem with 'our Lewis'. he did say too much at the post race press conference. he gave the journalists present just enough of a hint that team orders might have occurred for them to hassle Ron, and then look what happened.

    alonso tried his best to stop the guy blabbing but the damage was already done. without those words no FIA investigation would've taken place...probably.

  • From what I've read, it was Ron Dennis's comments that caused the investigation, rather than anything Lewis said. Thats why I think it would be unfair to say that had Mclaren been penalised, Lewis would've been to blame. If Mclaren had been penalised, it would've been mclarens fault for imposing the order (to hold station). I didnt actually think mclaren did anything wrong, and unsurprisingly they didnt get penalised (renault & ferrari have told drivers to hold station in recent years, without any furore).

    'public bellyaching' is a bit harsh, he only said that he was told to slow down, which is the truth!

    about the testing, I dont know much about the malaysia test but it we do all know that testing isnt really about lap times, and I'm sure there's a good reason why Hamilton isnt at the Barcelona test. A good tester should be test-driver, not race driver. If Paffett is good as a test-driver, then best for Ron to keep him there! Just look at Wurz. He was rubbish at Benetton and still is, but he does know how to develop a car

  • see, from what i've read (namely the journalists from autosport.com who were actually in that press conference), it was Hamilton's tip-off that led them to hassle Ron. in which case i stand by what i said.

    he was moaning that he had five extra laps of fuel and wanted to use them. the concept of race strategy seems to have escaped him. the point is, the place to talk about it is a team debrief, not the post race televised feed!

  • "A good tester should be test-driver, not race driver."

    that's a fair point, but Ron let Wurz go! i thought he was doing alright this year, for a tall bloke.

  • Everyone is free to have their own opinion - period! This article here, though, makes no sense from A - Z. Life is just that what Lewis Hamilton is showing us and what Ron D has brought us to enjoy and look forward to from race to race - an endless and huge struggle. the young fight the supposed old and matured to check their place in history. If I had the choice between Hamilton or Paffet it would always be Hamilton. What's this c**p about Paffet knowing the McLaren way? Hamilton has bee bred the McLaren way 10 years or so! Have you even bothered to check how Paffet compared to testing times a year ago he did an outright poor job. Paffet is a proven product he too has won every championship he took part in before he stepped into DTM but so did all the other major F1 drivers Button wasn't bad either but they came and made a statement be being fast on the go Paffet hasn't done that in F1. So, I would always choose a pure hot headed racer who I have put the schooling to rather than Paffet. Final point, jumping all over Hamilton's back is pretty POOR, this boy is damn fast, has quick hands, is always on the edge plus he is intelligent and has patience and so far he has always delivered the maximum. He is by far the most above standard far beyond average driver out there and yes he was lucky but what came first, his luck or his abilities, something Ron took notice of far before Hamilton even knew he had it. so grow up be good sportsmen and don't insult people you know absolutely nothing about. You would certainly not like to have that done to you. Blame bloody ITV and the press not the boy he is doing what comes natural to all pure-blooded racers, Senna did it, Prost did it and M.Schumacher did it why not LH the best and/ or luckiest product - maybe - ever!?

  • phew migo, that's a lot to read there.

    i take your points, but i'm not jumping over anyone's back, just trying to offer a differing opinion to almost every other Brit in the world right now.

    i can and do blame ITV, i'd also extend that blame to this weeks Autosport magazine which is cover-to-cover Hamilton. i am sick of the hyperbole, but that's not what i'm talking about here.

    the key point i'm making is that the furore about team orders this week was sparked "by Hamilton's comment to the media", and that maybe a different driver wouldn't have made those comments.

    mclaren got away with it this week, but if the boy doesn't sharpen up soon, he'll be sure get them into more hot water in the future.

  • i will say, comments on this post have surprised me a little. i'm detecting the same kind feelings coming from LH fans that i used hear whenever i dared to criticise Mr. Micheal Schumacher.

    after only a handful of races, that's a pretty good following Lewis has picked for himself up already.

    keep the comments coming. am enjoying everybody's views.

  • This is a season to live for, not like all the others we had when there were only two drivers in a "tight" dog-fight. MS vs. Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Alonso. Now we finally have a season where there are four damn good drivers pacing the track and taking points. And hell who doesn't want Kimi to finally claim victory he deserved that. but then again Alonso is ever so complete and darn down-to-earth nice why not him either. Then there is Massa and Hamilton, two drivers young and upcoming with lots of time ahead of them. WOW what if? anyway this just to make sure you understand my position on things. I am not an all-out Hamilton fan, but, damn it he is feisty, good and brings fresh air to the whole circus because he says things others might not want to and he says them with a smirk on his face. Is that nothing to cheer for instead of calling him stupid? H.J.Stuck demands of Ferrari to now call out Massa as their Numero UNO driver, I find that disgusting now that finally M.Schumacher is gone all seems an open end thing and only the best and luckiest driver will win. I put my coins on Alonso but Wow what if Kimi, Massa or LH take the prize? can't wait for 2008.

  • far be it for me to say "i told you so". but i read with interest Alonso's comments on this matter today:

    "It all began because of that press conference and what he said."

    :)

    Alonso added:

    "What nobody said was that I also had fuel left and that we both pitted ahead of time. That was the big confusion."

    i'll say no more.

  • 06-10-2007 “Lewis Hamilton : Petulant Child”: What can said all the people, after the amazing race of Canada, Hamilton was perfect, Alonso make a lot of mistake. Time will said if Hamilton is a petulant child or one of the best man of the F1.

  • alonso was hopeless during that race, utterly hopeless.

    mind you before the race lewis had the following to say about his own comments at monaco:

    "Maybe next time I might watch what I say, but I just said what I felt. I'm only human."

    so i guess ron had a word about shouting his mouth off in press conferences?

  • So...

    "Brad, on the quote:

    “Lewis has shown us he’s capable of winning races”

    YOU:

    when exactly? his team mate has got pole and two race wins under his belt. what’s hamilton have…a smattering of podiums? i think you’re wrong about monaco. alonso had the legs on him the whole weekend.""

    I guess because Alonso called him a lucky winner, he should be call "lucky petulant child."

    Whats the lesson here my dear lady. Don't see fallacies where it does'nt exist. You can blame this one on your friend Christine, I'de be careful with what she comes up next....

  • Brad, do you actually listen to our show?

    after the canadian race i called alonso on his "lucky" comments. it wasn't bad luck he came into the pits when it was closed. it was his fault for being out of position. had he been closer to Lewis (or in front) the pit lane would have still been open.

    fact is Lewis knows he was wrong to say what he did in the press conference. i called him on it and several days later he admitted as much.

    you're wrong to blame anyone except yourself here buddy.

  • I don't really understand what Brad is saying, but he seems to like dropping my name into the comments every now and again!!

  • maybe he likes you?

    i like that i wrote the post but you get the blame.

    as i should be i think.

  • Oh my lordy!

    Considering how Lewis finished at the end of the 2007 - I wonder if any of you would care to comment on Hamilton now ?

    In his debut rookie season of 2007 - he finished 2nd. Narrowingly missing out on the title because of inexperience & pressure.

    Claimed the title in 2008. Terriffic battle between him and Massa.

    2009 was a shock to Lewis. The car just wasn't the best. As result there were times when he threw his toys out of the pram - but to be fair he did man-up to this. 2009 was a good wake up learning curve for Lewis - that things don't always fall his way .. as a result it made him a better driver and a better person.

    2010 - despite having an inferior car to the Redbull's - Lewis and Jenson have done a sterling job.

    So in summary, try to see the bigger picture in a driver and a person - as opposed to just bleating for the sake for it.

  • Just so I understand this correctly, you're telling us we should have seen the bigger picture of Lewis' four years in F1... three and a half years ago?

    I really need to send that crystal ball to be repaired.

Comments closed to new entries.