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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.