On Hamilton and his driving

You love Lewis Hamilton, or you hate him – but there is no denying that he is currently the best driver on the circuit. With Kimi struggling badly, Alonso in a mediocre car, and Massa never being a natural driver, it is not difficult to find the best car+driver combination in the circuit.

But I am not writing this post to praise him; instead this is about his sportsmanship, or rather the lack of it. Till yesterday I had been neutral to him, but now I’d really hate it if he wins the Drivers’ Championship. Yesterday at Monza at times he was lapping 2 seconds faster than anyone else on the track, and even then while overtaking he was forcing the other cars off the track. Ok, I understand he started 15th and had to race brilliantly to get in to the points – I am not denying that he did not have a brilliant race, his driving was amazing – but why the unnecessary shoves, and nudges? He forced Mark Webber outside the track, when overtaking Alonso he immediately forced his car in front of the Renault making Alonso take evasive action even though Lewis had the track, and the speed to cross Alonso comfortably. And this was not just an isolated incident; there were many such incidents where even when he had the firepower to overtake easily, he was forcing other drivers off the track, and take evasive actions. Hamilton drove wonderfully for the 7th position, but he crossed the thin line that separates aggressive and fair driving from unsportsmanlike and unfair driving.

Hope Massa wins the Drivers’ Championship. Vettel was awesome – deservedly won the race – and so was Kubica. Hardly anybody noticed him till the last few laps – when it was clear that he’d have a podium finish to show for BMW’s awesome strategy, and his near flawless driving.

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24 Responses to “On Hamilton and his driving”


  1. 1 Ankit September 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    didn’t see yesterday’s race 😦 but read about it 🙂 but hats off to Vettel
    And I dont like Hamilton either because of those stupid and arrogant comments of his.

  2. 2 Keith Collantine September 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I think the short answer to your question is he did those things because he looked at what other drivers have done in the past and repeated those moves.

    I don’t think a lot of his moves yesterday were sporting, nor a lot of moves I’ve seen from other drivers in recent years, but they’re legal. And if an F1 driver isn’t prepared to do them to defend his position he’s going to get fired.

  3. 3 Arun September 15, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    well if he is playing within the rules you really can’t complain.
    people hate aussie cricket team, because of their arrogance, but they play within the rules and win!
    i think its a similar case here.

  4. 4 Kunal September 15, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Ankit, you missed a great race.. try to catch the highlights, you won’t regret it 🙂

    Keith, I know the moves are legal, but there was never any threat to his position when he was trying to overtake them.. he was so fast, that most of the drivers were almost giving him way, and yet he came in the path of few while overtaking when not needed at all.

    Arun, hmmm.. that is a nice analogy.. but it was something like Australia are already clearly the winner, and still keep on sledging just for the heck of it.. it is within the rule-book, but not sportsmanlike.

  5. 5 fifthdecade September 15, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    You have to remember the mirrors on F1 cars are useless in the rain – you just can’t see behind you, and with the cars being so low on the ground the spray from your own and other cars just makes them invisible to you. In the post race interviews Kubica said he actually overtook a car without actually realising it – he passed it in the impenetrable spray and just didn’t see him.

    When Hamilton moved over to the right of the TV screen on Webber, Webber was making an attacking move on the outside of the approach to the next corner, and on the replay Martin Brundle on ITV pointed out that Lewis was looking to the right, not the left, in order to focus on the corner, not on a car that wasn’t near him a second before and certainly didn’t see him – couldn’t have seen him even.

    As for the overtaking move on Alonso, I rather get the feeling Alonso wanted to get out of the spray, not avoid Hamilton who was travelling a lot further away. That’s no more than you or I would do when travelling on a wet motorway at 70mph with lorries kicking up huge amounts of spray you just cannot see through – move to the next lane and you immediately see better.

    When Hamilton drives in the dry he is a clean driver, unlike Schumacher for whom a lot of the current rules were designed to help him get away with his consistently dirty driving like weaving, blocking, and pushing off the track, even driving into the sides of Damon Hill’s and Jacques Villeneuve’s cars! Now that’s dirty driving.

  6. 6 mythalez September 15, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    aah .. all these racing on empty roads .. no fun at all … 😛
    video games r more fun 😛

  7. 7 Karan September 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    There is a reason why Hamilton is always under the stewarts’ scanner.

  8. 8 dileepv September 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Let me correct you, Hamiltion is the best driver only on wet tracks. He could have won the race if it had rained for a longer period.

    Vettel was good on the wet track. Rain played a major role in his victory. He was the only player on the track who didn’t have a spray.

    WTF is happening with ferrari, Kimi is not at all driving well and still ferrari extended his contract till 2011. Massa did a very good job yesterday, he was very cool and composed.

    And god no more rains on the race day please. I can’t see this domination from hamilton

  9. 9 Chittaranjan September 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Mebbe Lewis was pissed off by the fact that many of the drivers thought his Spa move was incorrect and agreed with the penalty. And to prove them a point or two, he chose unnecessary aggression.

    Even McLaren have said before that they’ve needed to calm him down from time to time.

    And Kubica’s overtaking of his teammate Heidfeld without even seeing him was on the first lap where there was a lot of spray whereas Hamilton’s move on Alonso was much later in the race…so ‘avoiding-spray-in-the-face’ mighn’t be the reason why Alonso ‘swerved’…unless he was deliberately side-shoved by Lewis.

  10. 10 sid September 15, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I agree with kunal on this. What i love about Kimi, Massa and Schumacher is that they generally play fair. Kimi’s one off incident involving Sutil being the exception.

    What is happening with Hamilton is that he’s being too arrogant. He thinks that he can do anything because of all the hype he’s got. The way he’s interacted with Alonso last year, Kimi at the start of this year, and his driving in general is absolutely nonsense.

    A point in case is probably Keith’s comment that you have to win at the end of the day, but isn’t it too much when a driver risks the others lives in the process of winning? They drive at 200+ kph. You just cannot ignore the fact that you might end up screwing the life of the other driver in your urge to win. That’s a big no-no. Schumi wouldn’t dare do that ever in his life. That’s why he’s a great champion.

    ps-
    One off events also involved schumi, but what i said is in a general way.

  11. 11 sanyam September 15, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    i missed it as usual 😦

  12. 12 Maruti Borker September 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

    I missed the race 😦 , I dont know why the hell kimi is in a very bad form, when he used to be in McLaren i thought that once Schumi is out, his racing + the excellent Ferrari car would do wonders. Schumi on the other hand is known for his fair racing and good sportmanship, i think hamilton doesn’t get it , all he wants is to win points for the championship.

  13. 13 Sangfroid September 16, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Not much of a F1 follower.
    However, I believe everything is fair in love and war. A race equals war 😉

  14. 14 Carles September 16, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Hamilton is always forcing the others cars when overlapping. I will be very disappointed if he will win the championship.

  15. 15 Kunal September 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    fifthdecade, Thanks for the comment. What you say about the Webber incident makes sense, but I’ll have to check the repeat footage again… as for the Alonso incident, I kept on seeing that maneuver from many angles, but I don’t think Hamilton was that far ahead or Alonso was trying to get out of the spray. I still think Hamilton has unnecessarily aggressive at times..

    Rama, 🙂 what else would a non-driver say? 😛

    Karan, yup, there is a reason…

    dileep, hmm, not just wet tracks, I’d say currently Hamilton is in the top two in dry conditions too – the other being Massa right now.

    Chittaranjan, without a doubt Lewis would be pissed at that decision, and I was surprised that most of the drivers supported that decision… shows Hamilton is very unpopular among other drivers too..

  16. 16 Kunal September 16, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    sid, very well put…

    sanyam, don’t miss the subsequent races, just one point is the difference right now 🙂

    Maruti, as far as I could make out Kimi is having issues with his tyres.. they are not reaching the optimal racing temperature soon.. in spite of not scoring any points in last few races, he always has the fastest lap to his name, shows there is no problem in the mind or driving skills, but a car issue.

    Sangfroid, hmmm.. I have always liked Keith Miller’s philosophy

    Carles, so would I… hope Massa wins the Championship

  17. 17 Saaki September 16, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Kunal,

    I’d like to disagree with you slightly here, Lewis is one of the finest F1 prodigies we have around, i’d say something like Senna and Schumacher. Remember those early days of schumacher, i beleive Mika Hakeinin was the ruling world champion those days, every body was thrilled with a new underdog rookie beating the champion, much like a gladiator.

    This was the very reason we looked up to Hamilton beating Raikkonen [ who never stepped into schumi’s shoes].

    Being agressive initially was part of the deal where a young driver has to establish himself, but i do think he went over the top this time.Kudos to FIA for bouncing off a few points off hamilton’s score , that should teach people to behave. You always need to participate with sportsmanship, it is very essence of competition.
    Marks the difference between being barbaric and competitive.

    But that said, Lewis Hamilton is one hell of a terrific driver, and under those wet condition starting from 17th ,he did what was required to win.

    @ Fifthdecade–

    COmpletely agree with the useless mirrors of F1 cars in the rains.
    I also think Vettel won because only he was on Wet tyres in the track correct me if i’m wrong here.

    Anyone remember last years Japanese GP which Hamilton won in reallu screwed up drenched rainy conditions…??

    But again guys we need to notice Kubica and Nick Heidfield’s talents.. i am sorry for Alonso though, he’s having pure hardluck.

    ciao…

  18. 18 manuscrypts September 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    he’s not been happy with the other drivers’ reactions to his ‘stripping’ in Belgium.. i guess he just wanted to get to the points, irrespective of who had a problem with it… i hope all of this doesnt go to his head

  19. 19 goitaly September 16, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I agree with you kunal. Hamilton is being more aggressive than he needs to be. If he keeps driving like that he can expect to spend a lot more time in front of the stewards.

  20. 20 Dinesh Babu September 16, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    It was sad to see Kimi fade away at Monza. I thought he was going to do a 1 stop and get into points. I also thought Lewis had the race and it was only a matter of time before he caught Vettel. But things turned and it was not for his good. He drove well and I have to agree that sometimes his aggressiveness falls off to unfair driving. I hope he doesn’t become a Montoya.

  21. 21 drabir September 16, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I haven’t watched racing for a while. But if Hamilton is driving the way you say you are, I’m definitely going to watch the next race.

    We don’t watch racing for it’s sportsmanship, we watch it for the dangerous overtakes, arrogant drivers and risky maneuvers. At least, that’s the reason I started watching F1. I’m glad that Hamilton is the way he is, I may not love him but he definitely makes the sport interesting again.

  22. 22 fifthdecade September 17, 2008 at 8:48 am

    many of you are forgetting how Senna and Prost would drive each other off the road in their pursuit of the World Championsip. Schumacher regularly pushed people onto the grass – his brother at Monza, Fisichella at Interlagos, and other drivers in other places. I already mentioned his driving into Hill and Villeneuve but omitted that he had a whole season deducted from the score sheets (although strangely was allowed to keep his points, non-counting as they were.

    Also, you have to remember that Ron Dennis and Max Mosley have a feud going back over 30 years, of course McLaren drivers receive more penalties than Ferrari drivers – the FIA sporting council is seeded with Ferrari supporters who make up more than 50% of the total council members.

    As for the other drivers’ opinions, they are in competition with him. The opinions that should be listened to are the ex-racers no longer associated with any particular team, so people like Damon Hill, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda and so on.

    The shot of Hamilton passing Alonso used a telephoto lens which compresses distance. As it was also a head on angle, the distance could have been metres but would have looked like centimetres as you cannot see the space between the cars. Anyway, Hamilton was travelling tens of km/h faster than Alonso so even if he did want to give Alonso back some of the sand Alonso kicked in his face last year it wasn’t as dangerous as the move Alonso made on Hamilton when he squeezed him towards the edge of the road at Eau Rouge in Belgium last year.

    Hamilton is the most exciting thing to have hit F1 for many years. Let’s not kill his spirit before he develops further, or he’ll push off to race in America! Give the lad a chance.

  23. 23 Kunal September 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Saaki, I think instead of disagreeing with me, you indeed agreed with me 🙂

    manuscrypts, it was imperative that he gets to the points, else he would have lost the lead to Massa… even I hope he keeps his head on his shoulders..

    goitaly, he must have been on the radar of stewards in that race…

    Dinesh, let’s hope so.. Hamilton is surely an awesome driver.

    drabir, you have a point, he is making the viewing much more interesting. but then I’d watch any race even if there are no dangerous overtakes, arrogant drivers and risky maneuvers 🙂

    fifthdecade, I agree that Hamilton is the most exciting thing to hit F1 in recent times, but then I feel he needs to be a bit less arrogant. He is one of the best drivers around, and also one of the most disliked in the racing circuit…


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