#F1 Features: Make or Break for Hamilton

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

The very nature of Formula One’s driver rotation means the pilots come and go in waves.  We, the fans, are often left to compare drivers of different generations as a way of quantifying their skill and to define their legacy long after their racing overalls gather dust in a wardrobe.

Some such drivers divide opinion over how they should be considered, if perhaps their statistics flatter their relative talents.  To my mind, the most recent of these was the 2009 World Drivers Champion, Jenson Button, who is undeniably one of the most intelligent drivers behind a wheel of racing car, although it could be argued lacks the outright pace.  There are many who feel that he ‘lucked into’ his Championship win by simply being in the right place at the right time, as the double diffuser from Brawn GP dominated proceedings from the off.

When Button moved onto McLaren there was a direct comparison with another World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, who for all intents and purposes beat the Frome man.  The statistics would tell you that Button beat his teammate (Button outscored Hamilton over their 3 seasons together), although arguably it was Hamilton who drove development and was the team leader, until an errant tweet from Hamilton that many will recall.

The infamous telemetry tweeted by Hamilton, following the Spa 2012 qualifying

The infamous telemetry tweeted by Hamilton, following the Spa 2012 qualifying

The discussion of who is the better driver of the pair is something better left for another time.  My attention was drawn to a comparison between Lewis Hamilton and the 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve. The parallels are uncanny and will be sure to raise eyebrows…

Let’s examine the career of the older of the two, the Canadian, Jacques, son of Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve who sprung into Formula One in 1996.  He burst onto the scene with Williams, in the FW18, the quickest and most reliable of the season charging to pole position at the season opener in Australia.  He was only denied the race victory by an oil leak, but still managed to hold on to second place.  A podium on his debut; just like a certain driver from Stevenage managed 11 years later.

Villeneuve fought with Hill for the title that year, eventually losing out, having taken 4 victories.  This was a record for a rookie season, something which Lewis Hamilton would equal in 2007.  Both drivers were thrust onto the Formula One scene and rose to the challenge of the limelight.

It would be in their second season that both Villeneuve and Hamilton would triumph, again in dominant cars.  Heinz-Harald Frentzen had replaced Damon Hill at Williams, as Heikki Kovalianen had done Alonso, with both Villeneuve and Hamilton effectively being made the number one driver in their respective teams.  Both drivers fought a Ferrari driver for the title and secured the Championship at the final race of the season.

Left: JV celebrates in 1997 Right: Hamilton following the dramatic 2008 climax

Left: JV celebrates in 1997
Right: Hamilton following the dramatic 2008 climax

The parallels are there for all to see, but are not limited to just what happened in their early careers.  Both flew the nest in search of building their own Championship winning team to cement their future legacy.  The outcome of JV’s career has become part of the fabric of F1 history – having left Williams he failed to ever come close to winning the title again.  He would remain a one season wonder after failing to win another race after 1997.

JV moved to the newly founded BAR team, but was unable to repeat his previous successes. He scored a handful of podiums, before Craig Pollock, his team manager and long-time supporter, was fired and replaced by David Richards.  As soon as the support from inside the team was removed, he soon became uncomfortable within the confines of the setup.  His $15 million a year salary was called into question given his under-par performances on the track.  Whilst Villeneuve saw out the remainder of his contract, he drifted further and further out of favour as incoming teammates were better received than the Canadian, who on more than one occasion criticised the team.  Ironically, it was Jenson Button who had muscled into the BAR setup and out-scored JV firmly making himself at home within the team.

The alignment of Hamilton’s exit from McLaren and JV’s from BAR is staggering.  As soon as their feathers were ruffled and things did not go to plan they packed their bags and left.  The big money offer that Lewis Hamilton is chasing at the moment is undoubtedly part of the delay, which means justifying his value is of paramount importance.

So what now for Lewis?

2014 is now arguably a year of make or break for Hamilton.  Having left McLaren after so much poor reliability had cost him the chance to win in 2012, if the same were to happen in 2014 – with Mercedes – it would leave him in a difficult position.  He beat Nico Rosberg resoundingly last year (although much of this was due to Rosberg’s poor luck – which is demonstrated in the Victims of Circumstance final table for 2013) even though he was still bedding into his new home in Brackley.

Now without the guiding hand of Ross Brawn, he is left much more exposed than the previous year.  Given the pre-season expectation that he would not struggle against Nico Rosberg, and should beat him hands down, it would do no end of damage if he were to be outscored by his teammate.  JV was forced out of BAR after being beaten by his teammate for the second time in his career; a fate which could soon afflict Lewis Hamilton should he fail this year.

With just a year to go on his contract he finds himself in a precarious position in Formula One.  The big question, which currently is purely hypothetical, is where will Lewis go to should he be forced out of the Brackley fold? A return to McLaren is unlikely, racing with Vettel at Ferrari is also unlikely, both of the Red Bull seats will likely already be taken, as well as Bottas firmly making Williams his at the moment.  Even with a 17 point lead in the Championship, Hamilton says he is not feeling secure in the title fight.

Should he lose, he may even be forced into taking a sabbatical like JV did as he waits for a top seat to become available, although this would be highly unlikely with Alonso seemingly heading towards that fate.  At this point, what would be left of his legacy with his title win a distant memory?

The future is highly uncertain for Hamilton with so much more than just a world title resting on the next 3 races.  Should he win, he will almost certainly be offered his new contract, but more importantly he would cement himself as more than just a one season wonder. The next month is the most important of Lewis Hamilton’s career – I for one cannot wait to see how the drama unfolds.

142 responses to “#F1 Features: Make or Break for Hamilton

  1. Hamilton has to win 2 of the 3 races left, Niko being second each time. Remeber double points last race. Mercedes has to make his choice: Niko or Louis

    • That choice was made after Spa. Lewis will win it. If push comes to shove, Nico will encounter ‘invisible contaminants’ again.

      • Or perhaps Lewis’ brakes will fail, or his engine catch on fire. Or he’ll be handed the slower strategy even though he’s ahead on track.

        Do you think it’s possible for Nico to win this w/o there being some sort of problem with Lewis’ car?

        Nico still has one extra race finish this season (14 to 13), and of course hasn’t had to start from the back b/c of reliability. I don’t see how Nico could complain.

        • Barring unreliability, COTA is likely the deciding track. Nico’s best chance to win is Brazil, and Lewis dominates Abu Dhabi, so COTA is the one that could split them.

          COTA also happens to be in between those tracks average speed wise. Analysis at F1F shows Rosberg wins at faster avg. speed tracks, Lewis at slower ones, with Monaco, slowest of all as an obvious outlier.

          I believe that this (also mirrored in Vettel vs. Webber) shows the ultimate speed of the Ham/Vet – slow speed tracks will require more trail braking, which is where the last tenths lie.

    • Not necessarily, 1 win and 2nd places still gives him the title. If he goes into the last race with a 17 pts or more lead, then he can afford to finish 2nd and still secure the title.

  2. Just wondering, when has Rosberg actually passed Hamilton during a F1 race on track when both had good working machines and were on similar programs?

      • @ clearview . Not including off the line? Can’t think of one.
        When it’s mattered he has made mistake after mistake. Not just against Hamilton but also while overtaking slower cars. Vettel Belgium springs to mind. Being unable to pass Vergne in Hungary.

        • I agree with your point Spanners, apart from in Hungary his car was limping – both Mercedes’ were overheating.

          • Actually Nico only had a slight brake problem, Lewis was losing power which the team said cost him .5 seconds per lap after his 2nd stop, had it not been for that, he would’ve gotten pass Alonso

        • The one in Russia was a classic. No sudden movements from Lewis when he saw nico coming down the inside – simply drift back onto the racing line, and let the fool get his tyres dirty and try to find the right point to brake. And sure enough, he got too hot and flustered and tried to outbrake Lewis. Hook, line and sinker – Hexagonal tyres and any chance of winning the race gone. Another confidence boost for Lewis when/if he faces nico in a wheel to wheel battle again this season.

          Nico could have got away with braking early as the exit of that turn was so tight anyway that even if lewis outbraked nico, nico would be able to push lewis off the track and consequently take the lead.

    • He never had to. Only once at Bahrain and Lewis drove following the motto ‘we either both die or you stop trying to overtake me’. It’s rather ridiculous that Nico got busted for Spa when Lewis drove like an axe-murderer in Spain, Bahrain and Hungary.

      • “It’s rather ridiculous that Nico got busted for Spa.” Think so? Lewis simply defended robustly, outmaneuvered Nico, drove within the rules, and stopped short of eliminating his team-mate. He has no cause or desire to resort to underhand tactics to secure the title, and his recent surge of confidence should carry him there.

      • Oh c’mon … dramaaaaa! Lewis drove perfectly within the accepted rules of defensive driving in Bahrain. Even Nico agreed that all of Lewis’ moves, bar one (when Lewis went across his nose between turns 1 and 2), were fine.

        What pray tell did he do in Spain?!? Again, in Hungary, I’m assuming you mean the last lap wedge-out? That is perfectly acceptable and EXPECTED when you’re racing wheel-to-wheel. Again, Nico said “it was his corner, he’s the boss”. Just like when Nico did it to Lewis at the first corner in Canada.

        Rosberg not being able to pass in Bahrain after the SC stands out like a sore thumb. He had 10 laps, the SC had erased Lewis’ 9 sec lead, and he was on the faster tires. That should’ve been a formality. It surely would’ve been had the positions been reversed. I think that’s one reason why there was no SC deployed in GER after Sutil’s spin on the pit straight.

        • Let’s not forget, he was also using an engine mode that he wasn’t allowed to use. The same mode he complained that lewis used in Spain to defend his position.

      • @FatHippo What was the thejudge was saying earlier on this season when I asked him a question? – Oh yes, he said he admires those drivers that utilise everything in their armoury to get one up on their team mate….. – for lewis, he’s using his race craft to good advantage against Nico. Thejudge even said bergy boy needs to grow a pair when Lewis was thrashing him with 4 wins in a row. Unfortunately bergy decided to grow a pair by cheating in monaco.

        Bahrain, only one move was on the limit and nico even said so himself. You must have had some of your excrement in your eyes if you thought he drove like an axe murderer in Spain. And Nico couldn’t make inroads on lewis in hungary to make a damn pass.

        Isn’t it funny how thejudge and others were ranting and raving about how nico sent a clear message to lewis. Well how has that worked out? He cost the team valuable points and now you are crying about how he may have been punished. Well fu*k me, but if you reveal in a team meeting that you cost the team constructors points all because you wanted to prove a childish point to a team mate who is simply better in wheel to wheel situations, then don’t expect to get an easy time. If an employee costs your business/team for their own personal gain, then you’re going to damn well punish them. Perish the thought of you running a team, your employees would run amock.

        • I would say this post perfectly demonstrates the selective perception of those who think that Lewis shits rainbows and pixie dust.
          Just two years ago, when Rosberg squeezed Lewis off the track in China people were demanding his head on a platter. With the roles reversed this year in hungary it is magically okay.

          All those that now rave on about Lewis’ manificence should remember two things :

          a) He’s reaping the rewards of whar Ross Brawn, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have built up since 2010

          b) He’s getting the title handed even easier that Vettel in 2013. The latter never had a car that was 2 seconds faster than the rest – his was ‘merely’ a second faster.

          c) He never had Nico in the bag the same way Vettel slapped Webber into the middle of next week every weekend. So before you slam Nico for ‘not having made a single pass’, you should keep in mind that in most races he runs closer to Lewis than Webber ever came to trailing Vettel.

          Just because Lewis is basically sleepwalking to wins all year due to a massively superior car, some should remember how they denounced Vettels success last year as being down to the car. Well, what do you think is the secret behind Lewis’s success this year?

          • And your post defines selective perception as well rather ironically.

            Nico should have been beating lewis comprehensively this season then surely? – seeing as you say lewis is reaping the rewards of nico’s work in conjuction with brawn and schumi….

            Is he getting the title handed easier to him? Nico has been close to him and therefore Lewis still has to be on top of his game to wrap up the title – not to mention the times he has had DNF’s and a bipolar car causing him to start from the back of the grid.

            It looks that people who denounced vettel’s success may have an element of truth to it – Look at this season, cars lacking downforce, drivers having to manipulate the car more effectively than previous years. Lo and behold – Vettel’s in the sh!tter. Beaten comprehesively so far by the young buck in his first season with the team….

            Keep it coming, I got plenty where that came from

          • You mean like Lewis was beaten by Button, who everyone thinks is past his best? And if you claim influence by car reliability on Lewis’s achievements, look at the reliability record of Vettel this year and that’s not even mentioning the races the team mucked up (Canada, Monza)

          • He wasn’t beaten though. People will use statistics to support as they please. 2-1 over the 3 seasons. Button never realistically had a chance of a championship win.

          • @FH – Yeah sorry I forgot that without the reliability issues, vettel would be thrashing danny boy…..whoa hold your hippos, no he wouldn’t!……

          • The fact that Rosberg is giving more of a challenge to Hamilton than Webber ever could shows that, should Lewis win, his title is more merited. Logic is as logic dictates – the first driver you must beat it your teammate.

          • There is no such thing as a ‘more merited’ title. Are you saying Vettel’s titles are worth less because Mark happened to be crap at his job?

          • No, of course not. He did have less of a challenge from his teammate though.

          • Because he could adapt to the EBD cars and Mark couldn’t and of course because RB cannot build two working cars.

          • 2009 and even before that, Webber was simply not as good as Vettel and other teammates.

          • Sorry Adam but SiS already said “checkmate” sooo unfortunately that ends the argument.

          • @Adam

            “Sorry Adam but SiS already said “checkmate” sooo unfortunately that ends the argument.” – Spanners

            I can second this… See spanners, we can get along. Our very first agreement.

          • Amazing. I’m actually laughing out loud in the office. Glad I could be of service 🙂

          • There’s no doubting that Rosberg has shown more pace over a season than Webber, statistically speaking. But Webber’s best came in 2010, which is quite late for a modern career.

  3. Good article!

    * JV went to BAR who eventually became Honda -> Brawn -> Mercedes.
    * Both had their feathers ruffled by a certain JB.
    * JV dated a pop star Kylie Minogue whilst LH dating pop star Nicole PussyCat.
    * Both are still making absurd and forehead slapping comments in the media (and social media).

    But I think when LH wins this 2nd championship, that is when their respective universes will diverge.

    • Villeneuve always pops up to smear controversy over something that is clean cut and obvious. Let’s hope Hamilton and Button don’t go the same way when they retire.

    • To highlight how much winning/losing this Championship battle would mean for Lewis’ career and legacy…

      • If he loses this year, would it really hurt his legacy? It would go down as a farce, unless of course Nico somehow ups his game and wins the next 3 races in commanding fashion.

        If anything the comparison should be to Mansell, who twice lost out on the title despite winning the most races (though never 5-6 more!!!).

        • Lewis came into the year as the hands down favourite. It would hurt him badly to lose to Roaberg, even if that looks unlikely. The sport would be hurt more though if double points changes the title winner.

          • Oh Adam, if that were to happen, Lewis losing the title purely because of the artificial Double Points effect in Abu Dhabi, and still had a whopping 10-11 wins, I’d sit myself quietly in every online LH fan club and just feed on, and soak up, the beautiful, sweet symphony of pain.

            I have goosebumps contemplating it!!!!!

            Downside? I think TJ13 would immediately lose half it’s readership. Lol.

          • I’m not so sure Hamilton was the favourite, I understand last year was a learning year for Lewis but Rosberg did perform well against his supposed faster team mate

          • @SiS, it would definitely be painful. And ridiculous. Only the 3rd-ever driver to score double-digit wins in the history of F1, and they lose?!? I think a lot of people, and more likely the casual F1 fan, would be the ones to not bother anymore, as the sport (to them) just wouldn’t make sense anymore.

            I think it might also herald the term ‘Rosbergged’ into the lexicon, to signify undeserved rewards.

            “Oh man, Jeffries totally Rosbergged himself into the corner office, eh?”

          • Huge Lols

            TJ13 Lexican: “doing an Ijaz” – “Rosbergged”

            one is directed toward others – the other self inflicted – or can you in fact be “Rosbergged”?

            ie – Is the state of “Rosberggedness” one which though ultimately is self inflicted – was induced by external forces?

            Maybe as in…. ‘I think therefore I am’…. also …. I was “Deutschland disciplined” therefore I am now “Rossberged”

    • Here, let me give you multiple choice. This should help you figure it out…

      The point of the article is:

      A) To solve world hunger
      B) To give hidden satanic message when read backwards to the Hamfosi
      C) Just some sports entertainment
      D) All the above

      Here’s a hint… it’s not a, b or d.

      In case that wasn’t enough, additional hint… it’s c.

  4. Hmm, I’ve seen others try this comparison before, and it just doesn’t hold. Any similarities are superficial at best.

    “It would be in their second season that both Villeneuve and Hamilton would triumph, again in dominant cars.”

    Dominant car?!? I guess ‘dominant car’ means different things to different people. While JV certainly was in a dominant car in 1997, Lewis surely was not in 2008. The Ferrari was w/o doubt the best car in 2008 (not by much, but still better), which remains the last season that the DWC was not in the WCC-winning car.

    If we take the first 3 years for each (2 good cars, then a relative dog for each), we get:

    JV: 11 wins (22.5%), 21 podiums (42.9%)
    LH: 11* wins (21.2%), 27* podiums (51.92%)

    * most of any driver in respective period

    Looks similar, doesn’t it? But it’s deceiving. While Lewis’ totals are the highest in his respective period (2007-09), JV is second in both to Schumacher, who was always in lesser cars. Also, as I said before, the McLaren in 2007 or 2008 doesn’t compare to the 1996 or 1997 Williams.

    As for the rest, if Hamilton doesn’t win this year it will be strictly down to worse reliability than Rosberg. It’s quite farcical that Hamilton could potentially win 11 races, and Rosberg just 4, and Rosberg still win the title. If reliability holds for both in the next 3 races, and Rosberg doesn’t tag Lewis from behind in the next 3 races, then I don’t know too many people who would bet on Nico overturning Lewis in the points.

    It seems to me obvious that in order for Nico to do well, the team result for Mercedes has to suffer. He’s only led home two of the nine Mercedes 1-2’s this year. I think Brackley and Stuttgart have noticed the same thing.

    Lastly, there’s a typo saying that Button beat Lewis 2-1 in seasons. It’s Lewis that beat Button 2-1 in seasons, but Button outscored Lewis over their 3 seasons together.

    • i was going to say the same thing. although it’s probably enough to say that while villeneuve never won a grand prix again after 1997, lewis so far won in every season he competed in formula 1to rubbish the comparision.

      hamilton also never struggled to beat rosberg, as is evident by his 9 wins this season compared to nicos 4 wins. if it wasn’t for poor reliability, rosberg would have been humiliated this season, even if he would have beaten lewis in every race he didn’t finish.

      • “Humiliated” is an interesting word, especially considering Nico’s about to hand your beloved one-lap-wonder and grand speed meister his first season being out qualified overall by a team mate (9-7), and with more Poles (8-7).

        I personally wouldn’t feel humiliated by that.

        Additionally, at this very late stage in the season, Nico was the title leader up to Singapore – where a “substance” switched the lead of the WDC.

        Commendably, Lewis is epic when in a roll. No doubt about that.

        But Nico humiliated? Hardly. Nico’s star has certainly risen this season, pure speed wise, street fighting / mongrel wise, and as an overall competitor. Lewis’ star, as having been regarded as the very fastest and most talented of his generation at the season start, at best, has stayed the same or fallen slightly.

        Ask yourself this… At the start of the season, did you genuinely think Nico would have shaded Lewis’ one lap pace? Also, did you think that, with 3 races to go, that Nico would only be 17pts behind with 100pts / 3races to go?

        I know I didn’t, to both questions. Adam is right, Lewis is looking down the barrel of having the most wins in a non WDC winning year (epic failure), or securing a much needed second WDC (to substantiate his legacy and talent claims.)

        Either way, Nico comes out of this better than he was this time last year. By definition, Lewis can’t not have taken a reputational hit.

        Humiliated is not a word I think Nico would be feeling…

        But hey, that’s just me.

        Can you get a UMAD kangaroo pic… I like the Kangaroos lately.

        Peace,

        SiS

        • I disagree. Nico is still a case of clearly not there where you’d expect him to be. The moment when a car or 4 has the same speed (if ferrari or mclaren catch up next season) he’ll always be the last one of the (trulli)train… nico has a disease that massa and for a big part button share with him. He can’t overtake… or won’t overtake. .. unless his car is much better. By a big margin…

          • @Bruznic

            I agree with you about the “overtaking disease”. It’s quite apparent and frankly a big weakness if you are a racing driver. Lewis is exceptionally good at overtaking. So unfortunately for Nico, It’s racing, not rallying.

            Be that as it may, my point was that Nico would hardly feel “humiliation”, based on my above points. He’s performed very well all things considered from the start of the year.

            PS: I also recall Lewis love tapping every driver and his dog in Germany…

          • It’s not far-fetched to imagine Bottas beating Rosberg quite a lot in equal cars. Over a season, it would probably be quite close, if not shaded to Bottas. Once things even up a little, I can see Bottas getting between Hamilton and Rosberg, like he almost did in Sochi.

        • But were expectations like when Button joined McLaren? Lots of ‘he won’t hold a candle to Lewis’ were heard. But those in the know knew that Button and Rosberg are only 2 tenths off Lewis in raw pace.. Rosberg’s talent has been evident since 2007, just masked in a midfield Williams.

          Lewis’ problem this year has been all the mistakes under pressure, which has come about from his cutting muscle in the early part of the season. Once he started eating again, another round of multiple wins and dominant performances has ensued once more.

          • “Lewis’ problem this year has been all the mistakes under pressure, which has come about from his cutting muscle in the early part of the season. ”

            Well, that, and the Leprechaun somehow found a way to avoid cooking the brakes or have the cars spontaneously ignite themselves. (He did manage, though, to spill invisible substances in the other car’s wiring…)

            Part of Hamilton’s trouble (and mental swings) are obviously down to reliability, not just eating habits and own mistakes. Now that it’s gotten better, and that some reliability issues hit the other side of the garage, suddenly dominant performances are back.

          • But remember that Lewis dealt with Alonso in his first year – after that, Rosberg is like an entry level class.

            It’s true that momentum affects pressure, and Rosberg is feeling that now too, but Lewis didn’t make mistakes before this year – and I think that’s down to his physical state. When pushed, you need everything you have to deliver the ultimate performance.

            Muscles also contain a memory of how to drive the car, which is something Vettel in particular has to relearn to suit turbos, and why Kimi can’t drive the Ferrari most weekends.

          • I respectfully disagree on this point. His mistakes have come on short bursts, like qualifying laps. Mental strength plays a much larger part on this than physical strength.

          • I know what you are saying, but it’s under times of severe pressure when you need your reserves of strength, and any extra capacity you have. Lewis never lacked this until now.

            This is where the mental strengths of Alonso, Button to make key race decisions really come to the fore, Vettel as well. These guys are always asking for more information on what’s happening in the race around them, and it helps them make decisions like stopping for dry tyres first.

            Qualifying I would say is the most pressured point of the whole weekend – one try at a perfect lap, hence the usual preference for 2 attempts in Q3.

            I’ve naturally de-conditioned since my time as an athlete, and my experiences while driving over time mirrors that of drivers like Lewis this year.

          • @Adamac39…..

            Nico has made countless errors in qually and in the races, do we associate that with mental strength/weakness?

          • I would say Nico actually has a history of yo-yo performances when it really matters in qualifying, even before 2014. At times he could really nail it, like China 2012, but equally he could also nail Q2, but miss Q3, like Australia 2014. But in the mid-grid, this gets less noticed.

    • Thanks for noting the stat error. My memory did not serve correctly there – duly updated.

      You say 08 was not a dominant car, although Heikki masked what was a very strong car. I think the McLaren, with Ferrari input was a very strong car. Massa suffered poor reliability more that year.

      • “Thanks for noting the stat error. My memory did not serve correctly there – duly updated.”

        Lewis beat Jense 2-1. But Jense beat Lewis points-wise during those 3 seasons.

        http://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/who-was-the-greatest-f1-driver/#JButton

        “Over one lap, Hamilton indeed had a huge advantage, beating Button 44-14. However, Button’s race pace, consistency, and wet-weather skills saw him closely match Hamilton, finishing behind 27-20 in races and ahead 672-657 in points.”

        “Massa suffered poor reliability more that year.”

        Still waiting for that 2008 nail-biter Victims of Circumstances…

      • Don’t get me wrong, the MP4-23 was a very good car. It just wasn’t a dominant car, nor the best car on the grid in 2008. The BMW was also a very decent car that year, especially in the first half of the season.

        Heikki had a really good rookie season with Renault in 2007, besting Fisichella in the points, and through the second half of that season. He had some bad luck in 2008, but yes, he also didn’t come to grips with the car as McLaren would’ve expected. Not being able to win in Italy despite starting 2nd that year with no other “bigs” around, was surely a big mark against him.

    • Indeed, but for an engine blow 3 laps from the end, or a fuel hose in 2008, Hamilton’s career would have looked a lot like Stirling Moss’ until now. See if this description of Moss’ career fits Lewis:

      1954: An early debut gives a podium (like Lewis would have in 2006).
      1955: Learns trade alongside top driver of the day, 2nd with debut win.
      1956: Now the fastest driver, retirements give title to established master.
      1957: Stellar second half, with a new car, but too late to win title.
      1958: ‘The lost title’, through unreliability.. best season, most wins.
      1959: Not always in the best car, but still came close. Forgettable.
      1960: Missing race wins (through injury) gifts title to a car-based driver.
      1961: Just two wins, as the team builds to become dominant from the next year onwards.

      Moss also won races, poles and fastest laps in every year, undoubtedly the fastest driver of the period. Imagine if Lewis had over 20 wins and no title?

      Lewis securing his second title thus means he won’t be the only driver with 30 wins to have less than two titles. But it would also be a victory for speed over reliability, something which has not always happened.

      • “but for an engine blow 3 laps from the end, or a fuel hose in 2008, Hamilton’s career would have looked a lot like Stirling Moss’ until now.”

        Now turn it the other way around. In 2007, but for Leprechaun-like steering-wheel gremlins in the last race and a disastrous strategy in the penultimate race, courtesy of Big Ron, Hamilton’s career would have looked a lot like Fred’s now: 2 times WDC saddled for several years in less competitive or reliable cars, but still obviously very quick, and badly looking to secure a 3rd WDC. What ifs cut it both ways…

        • I agree.. I think 2 titles are a minimum for Lewis and the speed he has shown so far in F1, as it is for Alonso. The win count would agree – no driver has won 30 races and not scored at least 2 WDCs.

          Hamilton being a 1x WDC after this year thus parallels closer to Moss’ 0x WDC, someone who really should have had 3 titles.

          Hamilton’s had 4 great chances IMO – 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and it’s not hard to imagine him winning 3 of those 4, if the luck fell differently, or even 4.

          • “Moss’ 0x WDC, someone who really should have had 3 titles.”

            I was shocked when reading the Jackal that this guy lent his car to his direct title rival, Fangio, simply because (from memory) “he was young and had enough time to secure a first title later”. Would you wager today Finger boy lending his car to Fred to achieve this, or the other way around?

            “Hamilton’s had 4 great chances IMO – 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and it’s not hard to imagine him winning 3 of those 4, if the luck fell differently, or even 4.”

            This guy’s model is a very interesting read, but also yields some very curious results. (Curious as in “confirmation bias”.)

            http://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/who-was-the-greatest-f1-driver/

            For example when correcting for car performance and other factors, Fred captures a mind-blowing 9x (!) WDC crowns (out of 13 years in F1). No wonder that the guy started throwing his toys out of the pram at the first whiff of a rookie besting him in the same machine! As for Finger boy, take away his dominating Newey toys and he is still a 0x WDC according to the model’s predictions.

          • Ah, that was Peter Collins in the first example. Tragically, he died soon after, as did Musso (who didn’t give his car to Fangio as originally ordered).

            Vettel’s position in equal cars would almost be like Berger’s with Senna. But apart from speed, the model also rewards lack of mistakes – hence Alonso being so high up, and Gilles Villeneuve being lower down.

            Same applies for Senna vs. Prost, who are more equal without DNFs, while Rosberg falls to 15th without Schumi’s relearning 2010 bieng counted, which makes it more accurate.

            PS. There are many interesting graphs – such as competition being stronger than the trend line in the mid-70s, or the ‘Newey graph’.. those I find truly innovative.

          • It’s also interesting to note how early 2014 Alonso rates alongside Clark and Stewart’s 3 year peaks – how he got a podium in China is beyond me, and Hungary was a similar masterclass.

            Do you find the Alonso rating odd? There’s no denying he’s basically Senna + Prost, as Bob McMurray, who worked with both, admitted. Hungary 2003 was the first glimpse at his greatness, if not Imola 2001 in the Minardi.

            What marks him out as the greatest current driver is his consistency – from 2003 to now is 11 years, with only a small dip in 2007 (changing teams and tyres).

            Indeed, had Hamilton shown his early form every year, as Alonso practically does, “we would have been left to speculate on whether he was the greatest driver of all time”.

            Vettel and Raikkonen’s peaks were too short, like Hunt, but it’s admirable that they still got to those peaks. Lewis and Seb need to channel their ‘inner Alonso’ to thus become an all-time great.

          • OK, here’s his ‘3 year peak’ ranking of current drivers: Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Button, Massa, Grosjean. Wouldn’t that match most people’s top 8 drivers still on the grid?

            For current peaks, he has in early 2014: Alonso-Hamilton-Bottas, although Ricciardo would probably be 3rd, now that he has some wins.

          • Forgot about that, again out of 3 or 4 chances he only secured one, and really should have had two.

          • @f1esty
            “There are many interesting graphs – such as competition being stronger than the trend line in the mid-70s”

            I too was intrigued by this. It seems to indicate that in years past getting to drive was a rich man’s hobby, so only a very select few (and thus not the most naturally gifted) could take place in the competition. Nowadays with all the Team schools and spotting the talents in their diapers (who poops quicker?!), the competition net is much wider drawing in better quality drivers.

          • I agree, generally competition increases as population increases and more people are better off (and able to compete). The glut of talents in the mid-70s seems to indicate the success of establishing F2 and F3 in the 60s in my mind.

            Tom Pryce, for example, was a talent that almost got into a Lotus (for Ronnie Peterson), yet, with only a few podiums and a pole position (in a Shadow), similar achievements to his replacement, Alan Jones, he is all too easily forgotten, along with Carlos Pace.

            Mid-70s: Lauda, Hunt, Andretti, Peterson, Reutemann, Fittipaldi, Watson, Scheckter, Depailler, Laffite etc., with the early 70’s featuring many greats just before they retired, like Stewart.

            Similarly, Amon was overshadowed in the late 60s, while inevitable front-runners like the Rodriguez bros. died too early.

          • @f1esty
            “OK, here’s his ‘3 year peak’ ranking of current drivers: Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Button, Massa, Grosjean. Wouldn’t that match most people’s top 8 drivers still on the grid?”

            Yup, pretty much it. With Ricciardo and Bottas slowly but surely inching forward given one or two more seasons…

    • The notable part of that analysis is how Schumacher had more success than Villeneuve over the period, despite his car disadvantage. The 1997 Williams was a dominant car, but the drivers made it appear less so, like Webber with the 2013 Red Bull.

      The last part also makes me think of Button – for him to do well, inevitably, McLaren began to suffer…. Rosberg and Button also had similar pace at their peak, just a tenth or two off the top drivers of the day.

  5. I don’t think this season is make and break for Hamilton regarding his career to be honest, winning or losing the title just dictates how many zero’s there will be in his new contract! Don’t think Mercedes need the hassle of Alonso so will stick with Hammy. He won’t want to leave the best car, as nobody would, so imagine he would take a pay cut if required. I reckon he’ll want to win his third title to match Senna then go home to McLaren. Back to Uncle Ron to see out his career.

  6. Great article Adam, well done, not an obvious comparison but the longer you think about it… Made a link on my FB page, keep an eye on how the crowd responds, I for one cannot wait to see how that drama unfolds…:-) atb!

  7. Nice article, but based on false analogies. The only real parallel between JV and LH is that both took the F1 world by a storm and won their driver title in their second full time year. However, the parallels end there. While LH hasn’t had a chance to drive a title-winning material until this year, his career had never sunk to the lows experienced by JV. Hamilton was winning at least one race every year, managed to stay in the title fight until the end of 2010 season, and he can win the WDC title this year.

    • Several years of 4ths and 5ths (and 2013 would have been another 4th if not for Kimi’s absence) may not be as bad as JV, but LH was still with a top team.

  8. There’s an elephant in the room here.
    First year, JV vs Hill, LH vs Alonso.

    Which one would you rather go up against?

    • The first two. Schumacher almost defeated them both in inferior cars. Alonso is a top 10-ever driver candidate, along with Hamilton and Vettel.

  9. An interesting article, pointing out parallels which I must admit had not occurred to me before.

    You went off the rails a bit from here, though:
    The alignment of Hamilton’s exit from McLaren and JV’s from BAR is staggering. As soon as their feathers were ruffled and things did not go to plan they packed their bags and left.

    Count me unstaggered.
    Hamilton was impressive enough in a stuttering McLaren to be poached by a team with the resources to fund its current dominant title run…

    Whereas JV……

  10. This is just one of those Hamilton Derangement syndrome article we have come so use to seeing.The idea that Hamilton is a man in a make or break season,with his seat under threat and no where to go in f1 is quite delusional. what ever you smoking we Dont want any of it.

    Apart from what many poster have already pointed out that its all based on false premises and bad analogies.
    whats more disturbing is the under current of the article ,to devalue and deligitimize Lewis.
    we seen this from the judge and others who constantly create this false sense of chaos, drama and uncertainty around Lewis…as if he is always is free fall.you know the famous phrase his has Baggage…what Baggage?then they mention the twit and few verbal miss step his made.
    Worst of all is the double standard applied to Lewis,some how being out pointed by Button negates his reputation and achievement,yet the same measure is not use against Button himself and Alonso who were beaten by Lesser drivers.
    Another fallacy propagated by the chattering class is to reduce Lewis to be the fastest But only over a single lap.How many times have we heard that Lewis is fastest then the caveat of over on lap is added…. a nice BACKHANDED compliment coined by Brundle,which fits in nice with the Intelligence narrative…As you saw in the article Adam went out of his way to pronounce Button as very intelligent.

    The idea that Lewis is lost without the guidance of a Ross Brawn or Ron Denis is insulting and maybe even Tribal to put it nicely.that argument is not made for any other driver.and Hello chairman Lauda is his biggest fan,you should pull your head out and see the reality of the situation.

    And by the way you do know that Lewis has a contract for next year?some what you on about.

    • It is make or break for Lewis, no matter how you look at it. Before the season everybody was raving on how Lewis would sleepwalk to the title, but Rosberg turned out much closer to him than expected. Many people also forget that last year Lewis barely outscored Rosberg by 18 points despite having only one retirement to Rosberg’s three – oh and Nico won twice as often as Lewis. So in logical consistency to the mud you guys love to sling at Vettel, I’d submit that in a non-superior car, Lewis doesn’t shine quite that brightly, does he?
      You guys complaining that Lewis is ‘devalued’ and ‘deligitimized’ is really rich. Are you guys even reading what you post about other drivers? Vettel, Rosberg and Alonso get so much grief from y’all, you’d think Lewis is the only one who knows how to F1. And as for the baggage and the ‘few verbal missteps’. Are you kidding? This ‘cuz I is black’ malarkey was ‘of little intellectual merit’ to say the least. He duped his own team in Hungary and again in Spa when he leaked internals to the press. I would hardly call that ‘few missteps’. The driving talent provides only so much job safety. The causa Alonso should be proof enough that even the biggest talent in the world will not help you if you stepped on a few toes too often. So the criticism is valid.

      • Before the season started, the common speech was, that this formula would suit Nico, because it will be a thinking man championship. Will lewis be able to adopt his driving style? Will he be able to conserve tyres and fuel? Etc….All of which he has shoved down the throats of those who questioned his apparent ‘mental strength’. F1 is about performance and since he has been with the team, he has carried the same performance level over from his 2012 season all you have to do is just look at the records, those are facts and they don’t lie.

        Which team did he duped in Hungary?

        Hippo you’re bringing up things that happened while he was at Mclaren, that’s in the past, talk about what’s happening now at Mercedes, because what happened at Macca has no merit as to what his situation will be come the end of 2015.

        Sure Nico won more races in 2013, but are you forgetting that one of those wins, he inherited after Lewis’ tyre blowout and Seb’s engine going off to la la land?

        Oh I think you need to check your records again hippo, in 2013, Nico only had 2 DNFs (Australia and China) compared to Lewis’ 1 (Japan)

          • How can it be a DNF when he’s being classified as finishing the race? Or it’s only called a DNF in your book?

            When he got this phantom DNF, he was in 9th and wouldve only scored 2pts had he finished. Not much wouldve changed would it?

          • DNF means Did Not Finish, which he didn’t as he retired before seeing the chequered flag. According to the rules, however he was still classified as he finished over 90% of the distance. What’s so difficult to understand about that?

          • Hippo, you’re just being ridiculous now…

            If the final and official race classifications shows him being in the 19th and final position, then he did not DNF. So now re-telling of what DNF means won’t change the records. Maybe you should write one of your rants to the goons at the FIA and get them to change It.

          • Arguing over a technicality like this is ridiculous. The fact is, the opportunity to finish high up in the standings was denied. Either way, he has performed better this season than last IMHO.

          • @adamac39…..

            He’s in the most dominate car on the grid, don’t you think it would be more worrying if he didn’t perform better than people expected, even if his teammate was Ericsson? After all most people dismiss anything lewis does as being down to the car, so surely the same should apply to Nico.

            Did you think that lewis was just going to waltz to every race win this season? Come on now, let’s get real, with the car that he has, there shouldn’t be any surprises about his performance.

            But should questioning is, why is that someone who had 8 pole position has so far only turned 2 of them into race wins? Creating a false sense of hysteria about Lewis’ position in the team is just ridiculous, especially when he’s having probably his best season in the sport so far.

          • Hungary was a classified non-finish. It’s a stupid rule, and I’m not sure why it persists. It’s to catch lapped cars, but really it should only count if the lapped car finishes (i.e. sees the chequered flag) the race.

            Still, Rosberg was only on for 2 pts in Hungary ’13, which was a piss-poor result considering he had started 4th.

        • Lauda was stunned once when he was told he hadn’t started the 1976 German GP because he had his near fatal accident and wasn’t classified due to his early retirement. His reply was utter genius – “What happened to my ear then?”

          Did Not Finish strangely implies he did not finish the race, whether the semantics support your argument or not. The classification ruling is just another of those ridiculous grey areas that abound within F1.

          I guess it was similar to Honda and Mercedes getting precious over their image. An engine blew up, huge clods of smoke, bits of exploding metal over the track and yet the official line was hydraulics, as in loss of oil…. er yeh through that great big hole in the bottom of the engine block!!

      • Umm, and who did Rosberg inherit his win in GBR from? Vettel, who before that inherited the lead from Hamilton’s tire blowout. Rosberg’s other win was in Monaco, which is the easiest race to win once on pole. Pole is so important there, that people will do pretty much anything to get it, apparently.

        Hamilton’s win in Hungary last year outshone anything that Rosberg did last year.

        As for Rosberg retirements, it’s not like he was in decent points-scoring positions when he retired, was he? Way down in 9th in Hungary, as his teammate was winning. 6th in China, and I believe 5th in Australia. Whereas Lewis was looking good for at least 4th in Japan. Add in the points swing from GBR (Lewis -13, Nico +10), and Lewis was well clear of Rosberg last year, whilst learning in a new car/team.

          • Hmm, well there are, and there aren’t. Of course in the points table there are not … a win’s a win, 25 pts no matter if it was a commanding race win, or the result of a last-man-standing battle of attrition.

            On the other hand, there’s no doubting that F1 fans make subtle judgements of driver skill based on many small factors and context within a race, and through a season.

            Take the “bad seasons” for Lewis and Seb (2011 and 2014, respectively). Even in 2011, when Button beat Lewis, there were still some high points of note in Lewis’ season. Two of his best-ever wins (China ’11, Germany ’11) happened that year. In the first he made a great pass on his teammate before then hunting down Seb for the win, while in the latter he diced with Webber and Alonso for the win, passing Fernando around the outside of turn 2 for the lead late in the race.

            What has been the high point of Seb’s season this year? Singapore? He’s had 3 front rows this year (most after the Mercedes drivers), so I guess that’s noteworthy. There’s just not been much of anything to really rave about, even in isolation. I guess I expect some of those not-too-many-could-pull-that-off performances from the top-drawer drivers each season. Maybe I expect too much.

      • Lewis a emotional and unreliable at times, but that is the trade off for the raw pace he brings.

        As for inconsistency…check the Victims of Circumstance for Brazil 2013…

        • What are you talking about unreliable at times? If the car is reliable, he gets the job done.

      • I would like to say I rest my case….but hey 8 yrs in F1 for Lewis and all you got is a twitt and Cuz Im black….kinda prove my point…

        I wont go into cuz Im black because I dont want to open that can of worms.

        The problem with you Hippo and others when it comes to Lewis,you lack honesty and consistency.You guys just make things up.who ever claimed Lewis would sleep walk over Nico?,every poll showed that is was 49%to 48 in Lewis favor.
        As youve pointed out Lewis only won by 18 points so why would any one say it would be a walk in the park.

        You see Lewis cant win with you guys…you set a bogus high standard for him,which he inevitably wont reach,then you slag him.so by your standard he is either under performing of chocking.

        One thing that undeniable is that Lewis has taken pole and a win every that he has been in F1 and every year you can point to a race where he has had an outstanding notable performance.Something that no one else on the grid can lay claim to.

        [mod] Last sentence removed (ad-hominem)

        • “Something that no one else on the grid can lay claim to.”

          I’m not so sure Fernando Alonso will agree with that assessment. IIRC, the only season he didn’t win he sat in a Minardi. Something that is missing to put your deification of Lewis in context is the fact that except for 2009 his team mate also won at least one race and that means, he never sat in a car that wasn’t a winning car to begin with, except for 2009 and his team mate back then was Kovalainen.

          So I’m obviously not the only one, who can twist the facts around a wee bit.

          • And who’s fault is it that he didn’t have serve anytime in a rubbish car?

          • Alonso didn’t win in 2004 or 2009 either, with 2014 likely added to the pile. Seems like a 5-year thing …

      • Fist-pounding, screaming, “It IS a make or break season for Lewis because I, and SIS and judge —- SAY SO!”

        After a brief moment of lucidity, Hippo with you Jules commentary, you’re back to your myopic, if not worse, self.

        Cherry-picked information recontextuaized to suit a devious end is always subject to the truth. Unfortunately, in the world of the narcissist many of Internet Gangsterdom, and fool can create a blog and appear to be an authority —- because other narcissists are sure to follow.

        With sports, the fan blog revolution was truly marked by the arrival of an admitted passive-aggressive character named, Will Leitch. It was he who maintained that fans (you know, “fan” is short for, fanatic) know as much about sports as the people charged with disseminating information about the games to the public – the media corps.

        Leitch, puled and puled about this half-truth and created the blog, Deadspin, to prove his point. The Interwebs suddenly became filled with missives from pale-faced children who only wished they could participate in sports at a high level, come to bring these athletes to their knees.

        In truly passive-aggressive behavior, they took down athletes by first taking down journalists. Some of these paid scribes needed the smack in the face as they quite pompously changed reporting on the games to “commentary within the game article” by becoming adversaries of athletes. Though this was just another mainstream media ploy at maintaining authoritarianism – to appear as more authoritative about sports than the athletes and coaches themselves – the bleary-eyed fro staring at a monitor, children in the proverbial basement of their parents’ homes, ate that media directive whole.

        Leitch became a star in the blogger community and was gifted with a seat at the mainstream media table by the very people he and his crew of Deadspin minions shat upon.

        Leitch was at the center of a Bob Costas-mediated HBO special on race and media and sports (the show’s producers independently emailed, then called, this writer to help formulate the various factors that result in an overreaching raison d’être for the fact that racism in sports as perpetrated by the mainstream and so-called independent blogger mediums is a subtext of too much of the commentary and even in-game analysis of sporting events).

        Leitch ended up as a columnist at the New York Times. As proof of his lack of creativity as a writer and his inability to produce creative content, he is now, while garnering a check from the pinnacle of mainstream U.S. newspaper medium, as anonymous a writer as he was before deriving Deadspin.

        I do not know if there is an equivalent blogger-type in England or Europe, someone you all can point to who “changed the balance of power” from mainstream press to independent writers and writing. However it occurred on the other side of the Atlantic, the result is the same; mainstreams media used fans to bolster their authoritarianism by seemingly including them in their fold, only to marginalize them once the fan leaves his or her “independent” station.

        Today, that HBO special of six years ago or so is more important than ever.

        Hippo, SIS, judge and your advocates, please understand that when you constantly juxtapose White and Black athletes using terms like “discipline” to describe Nico Rosberg or “intellect,” “intelligence” to describe Jenson Button, but then take ONE tweet from Lewis Hamilton, remove it from its intended context, or take a selected few statements and decontextualize them to your liking, and demean one of the few very real thrilling moments in F1 this season – Hamilton’s German GP race – and conflate his touching two cars as, tapping every driver and his dog,” it IS exactly what “Samaritan” alluded to -racist.

        I wonder what you all thought of the opinions of the team chiefs who, save for two of them who named their own drivers, publicly on SkyF1 named Lewis Hamilton as the “best driver in the sport on the grid today.” I wonder if you notice how the Sky female reporter blanched when faced with replies that didn’t follow SKyF1 racist script of demeaning Hamilton (Brundle is definitely not the only offender in SktF1’s reporter/commentator camp). I wonder if you noticed how she abruptly changed the subject using, the hackneyed phrase when caught off-guard and with your panties exposed, “we’re running out of time” excuse to keep from being forced to ask the team chiefs to expound on their positive perceptions of Hamilton’s driving abilities.

        I doubt it.

        But from the constant demeaning of Hamilton here, I’m sure that those of you who did witness this promptly “harrumphed” at the notion that these ultimate F1 insiders could utter such blasphemy. I’m also sure all of you reached into your personal bag of verbal tricks to keep from facing the truth of their expert perceptions.

        I know my comments are always long and winding. However, deconstructing your words requires explaining, often using a back story to properly contextualize your present publicly-announced thoughts.

        In this case, included in the coded racism that persists when Hamilton is mentioned, is the manner in which you suddenly fail to understand even basic sports psychology which allows you to reposition drivers as something completely different than what your own eyes are seeing from them.

        Awhile back I asked some of you to watch races from previous seasons and listen to the views of the former drivers of Nico Rosberg. Of his many, many Maldonado-like moments, Rosberg was consistently chastised by these people. Their overreaching message concerning Rosberg was that, though he had enormous potential, he was undisciplined, petulant, almost wholly irresponsible, and, therefore, potentially a danger to his F1 driving peers.

        No one to my knowledge commented about this Rosberg driving truth.

        None of you have addressed the psychological effect of the 15 years of dominance Hamilton holds like a proverbial hammer over Rosberg’s head; a hammer that Rosberg himself acknowledged after the China GP.

        Hamilton’s advantage over Rosberg is the same advantage Roger Federer held for years over his peers. Not one of opponents would dare admit before a match that they walked onto the court already psychologically defeated buy many admitted a feeling of impending doom after the match. To a man, they ALL felt that IF they caught Roger on an off day he would, at the most crucial moments, rise to a place in his head they knew not of and produce his best tennis to quell their hopes of an upset.

        The same thing is happening with Rosberg and Hamilton as well as to other drivers on the grid who have raced against Hamilton throughout his F1 years. They ALL seem to make out-of-charcter mistakes when Hamilton is near, as did Button in Germany (I know it was explained away by both men but Button’s move was quite odd and was certainly far outside of Button’s reputation as a “smooth” driver who, if the car is close to drivable, is elegant in lines he takes around a track, rarely even spinning a tire. Alonso stubbornly puts up a fight if Hamilton’s Merc is mechanically disadvantaged but when the Merc is right or when Lewis is charging ‘Nando doesn’t put up much resistance.

        Massa will ALWAYS despise Hamilton for stealing what he thought was his 2008 WDC; stole Felipe’s vision of a Senna’s welcome by his Brazilian fans. Yet Massa has acted quite the gentleman when Hamilton passes this season in the instances where Lewis started at the back of the pack.

        There is no denying the truth of Fernando’s observation that Hamilton is the one driver on the grid today who can win with a lesser car – Hamilton has consistently proven this to be true. It is that rare quality that allows the sober-minded to draw comparisons with Hamilton to Ayrton Senna; who else today has won more with less than Lewis Hamilton?

        Instead here and certainly elsewhere, these conversations are rarely had. Instead, people here. ever since I brought up Hamilton’s rookie and 2nd years accomplishments attempt to say 2007 and 2008 were flukes – demeaning Hamilton by attempting to parallel his career with the lesser Villeneuve.

        Hamilton has also proven to be starkly honest with the F1 press. ANY other driver, as Sebastian Vettel has, would be hailed as someone who is a consistent breath of fresh air amongst the robot-like answers and statements from other grid competitors.

        Instead Hamilton is pronounced as unintelligent and childish with the press and in the social media sphere.

        All of you who engage in perpetuating the unwarranted negative perception of a driver who is so obviously in love with his sport, who cherishes his fortune at being able to participate in F1, who is a man of Faith (I’m not a man of the same Faith as is Hamilton but I laud his ability to adhere to his religion’s positive messages and his humility in doing so, quite unlike so many “of Faith” U.S. athletes), a man who remains generous with the press despite the F1 media’s overall negativity toward Hamilton and their treating his actions with suspicion rather than with thought and/or empathy, as they do in the case of Vettel or Button or Rosberg or Bottas, or Kvyat, even with Grosjean and Hulkenberg, and as they already doing with a 17-year old who is being handed the world while having won exactly no championship beyond karting.

        If we are not careful, the F1 world will mistake the present era as one dominated by constructors rather than drivers, unless the world of independent F1 blogs and the people who write them and comment on them leave their racial and nationality-based selves behind. Unless, rather tun blindly following and aping mainstream messaging, we see the era and the drivers of it for who they are.

        You and others like you treat Lewis Hamilton as if he is a blight on the sport; as if he is undeserving of the seat he has and had; as if the far less accomplished Nico Rosberg should be Merc’s #1 driver; as if Hamilton bullied McLaren into favoring him over Jenson Button and ruined Button’s chances at consistent WDC glory; as if McLaren fielded WDC-winning cars annually and Hamilton failed the cars, not the other way around.

        You treat winning half of the 16 F1 races so far as no accomplishment at all; as if the only way Hamilton can grudgingly be perceived as a valid F1 driver is by winning more races in a season than any other driver in the modern F1 era – but you will ascribe an asterisk to that achievement should it happen “because his car was so dominant.,” conveniently leaving out the fact that every race week, even the myopic mainstream F1 media recognizes and questions whether or not bother Mercs are dependable enough to finish the coming race.

        How is it possible that those of you who publicly pronounce these and other negative perception of all that is Lewis Hamilton is the way you see Lewis Hamilton don’t see the inherent dis-ease in your thinking?!

        Oh, and I nearly forgot your characterizing of his mates as “homies” and how you hate his so-called bling, as well as hating him for his pop singer girl friend. Negative imaging of the sort is more the territory of vacuous little girls than of grown men.

        The whole thing is singularly saddening. We’re about to sacrifice an era of great significance to the future of F1 because of petty, time-honored falsehoods and projections of hate – with their partner, debasement – of a fellow human that never should have existed in the first place… and play this nasty illness out over sports entertainment. Wow… (thanks Samaritan for your previous comment).

        • Just the usual accusatory bullshit of rac|sm… I’m starting to think you’ve never actually experience it, or even know its definition.

          I have come to realise you’re a one trick pony, Dill Will. The huge quantum of words don’t fool me, nor hide the lack of creativity, substance and logic in your post. You may get away with it where you are from, but there’s just nothing in your comment. Nothing new. Just nothing, at all.

          Same ol’, same ol’…

          I had a few stinging remarks loaded, it did make me chuckle for a small moment. But frankly the worst I can say, at least from my perspective, is that you are boring. That’s my realisation, just now.

          Just… Boring… That’s it really.

          PS: Oh and Fortis, I see your response to Hippo’s response to Dill Will. The one calling for maturity. When one is attacked in this grenade-like manner, as we have been, being called / implied as rac|st yet again, one has a right to defend themselves. Or more accurately, doesn’t have a reasonable obligation to reflect anymore than what has been given.

          You see, somehow Dill Will has learned a few words. But not courage. He pops around here and throws his verbiage grenades like an internet terrorist. Then sneaks away. Unwilling to face a debate. Or back up his words. But beyond being a cowardly tactic, and all that, the biggest thing that strikes me is just the huge vacuum of substance…

          Just boring…

        • Ah the ol’ bullsh|t accusatory ramblings of rac|ism. Same ol’, same ol’… I’m genuinely beginning to think that you don’t know the meaning of the word.

          Additionally, you are starting to look like a one-trick pony, Dill Will. It seems that you have managed to learn a few words, and maybe some of their meanings too, but the huge quantum of words used doesn’t fool me. It doesn’t hide the very apparent vacuum of substance, and the total lack of creativity, in your comment. There is just nothing there… nothing new… nothing original…

          Same ol’, same ol’.

          I did have quite a stinging comment loaded. A picture as well. But I realised something… Something far worse about you. Like a light bulb moment, if you will. An epiphany. I realised that you are boring.

          Just… Boring.

          At least the other Hamfosi, call them what you like, but they are an interesting and curious bunch. But you just, well, bore me. Total lack of anything…

          But besides the gargantuan lack of substance, I realised you employ quite a cowardly tactic in the way you enter here, from time to time, throw a verbiage grenade filled with, well, nothing really outside of a cookie cutter type poke at Hippo, The Judge and I, and then slink off like a reptile so as to avoid rebuttal, debate and the like. A kind of internet terrorism…

          It’s clear that you must hang on every word, in every post, that Hippo and I make. It’s flattering, in a way, having such a dedicated fan. I suppose I should thank you. You can also follow me on twitter now @stillisurprise

          But overall, it’s just plain ol’ boring. Well, for me anyway. For some sort of writer, I’d have thought you’d have been more creative… Oh well.

          See you in a few weeks for your next grenade. I can guess its contents now, but please throw it anyway. I like the reptilian-like slink off.

        • @dwil

          Thanks for your always thoughtful and enlightening comments. I’m never quite sure with how much I actually agree, but as with all academic prose you never do after the first (5-6) read(s). I have also been profoundly uneasy with some of the prose directed at Hamilton in the Daily News (and the way some of the discussions are being stirred up in the comments, including the newly bred “Hamilfosi” slur), and *some* racism is definitely flying around.

        • And breathe…

          Thank you for the thesis but you come at the subject of Hamilton from a completely different perspective and it is welcomed too.

          I’d like to say one thing though. a few months back, whenever Hamilton was reported negatively, everyone had an opinion. There was an article written on TJ13 about Lewis being attacked by the British newspapers for what he implied about Stevenage versus Monaco.

          Rather than follow the mainstream, the site published an article in defence of Lewis and found articles from the Guardian, Times or one of the British dailies in which just a day after he won the title in 2008, they had been to Stevenage.

          They described the place as grey, as far removed from F1 as you can imagine – they even interviewed locals who suggested that it was no big deal, wasn’t as if he had won the X factor. Even his headmaster said they had other international stars, i believe Ashley Young?

          The point is that the article did not get 1 comment at all because nobody is interested in agreeing with a nice story about Hammy, they want to feel they have to defend his corner…

          I authored that article, I don’t live that far from Stevenage and I know what was meant. Lewis even carried the Olympic torch through Luton which was the closest point to his home town and I was not surprised that not one of the Hamfosi came forward in support of a good story on their hero.

          Says more about the supporters than his detractors.

          • Actually I did comment on that article and if my memory serves me correctly, I was the one who mentioned that Ashley Young was also from Stevenage and he went to school with Lewis as well.

        • I have to say that that is an amazing comment. Worthy of being an article!

          For what it’s worth, the power of the media is huge… so huge that it affects us even when we don’t consciously realise it. Why did Murdoch move to controlling TV after starting in newspapers??

          This also persists with our unconscious dealings with people and society. I even wonder if this affects Hamilton and his own identity, as he is a media-driven person as well, hence his gravitation towards America. If he was not so inclined, he would probably match up well with UK-based Leona Lewis, rather than Nicole Scherzinger.

          It’s no co-incidence that I naturally produced American spellings in primary school, despite being situated near Liverpool and the north/south language divide. I’ve also had to start checking my thinking for racism/stereotyping as I’ve grown up, and influences from outside start to seep into my life experience.

          The two best drivers of this era are undoubtedly Alonso and Hamilton. Raikkonen and Vettel match up with each other well, so much so that their partnership currently matches up to Mansell/Berger, rather than Prost/Senna.

          There’s no doubting that Hamilton gave the best rookie display for many years, only 2 tenths off the ultimate pace.. the only ones better are all pre-war, coming in immediately fastest. Usually, WDC-good calibre drivers come in about 5-7 tenths off the fastest.. hence the plaudits for Kvyat and Magnussen, probably in this bracket this year.

          But the hype about Verstappen is that he’s probably the best placed driver to be the best rookie since Lewis – time will tell if he’s entered two years too early. But, both his parents were top level racers, so if anyone can, it’ll be him.

          Arguably, Lewis could have started in mid-2006, or if he got RB/Vettel treatment, from 2005. Who needs Montoya?!

          On Rosberg… he’s had him mentally defeated since their first race together, as they regaled after Bahrain. Lewis came close to winning the World Karting title soon after…. only for his engine to fail in the deciding race.

          Nico did grow up with the ‘silver spoon’ i.e. F1 WDC dad… not being the best since racing Lewis may have been a hard pill to swallow, never matching that achievement despite being a faster driver (comparatively) than his dad, or served as a great motivator. He avoided McLaren 2008 to get an equal Mercedes..

          But what shame is there in losing to a top 10 all-time driver? You could place in the top 25 fastest ever (comparatively) and still not win a WDC title – ask Berger how it felt to be overshadowed by Prost and Senna during your peak years.

      • Hamilton 2007. Equal points with Fred, but more wins/podiums for Hamilton. As per the regs, higher in the rankings. Without Raikkonen spoiling 1st place, Lewis would have snapped the title from Fred had the ratings stayed such. And if you think about it, not much different than Lauda’s half point vs Prost.

        If you also consider Hamilton’s legendary misfortune in the last two races of that season, then it’s clear that he beat the hell out of Fred during the entire season. No wonder Fred went out of his usual way to throw the toys out of the pram.

  11. I’m not sure how you came to the conclusion that this is a make or break season for Lewis. He has a contract for next year, he’s not under any pressure to justify his position in the team, all you have to do is look at his record over the 2 years he has been with the team to see that.

    As a full time works team, Mercedes has 17 wins, 10 of which is Lewis’, heck he’s the teams winningest driver in history. This season, he has a conversion rate from pole position of 86% compared to 25% of Nico. 69% win record for races he has finished and a 100% podium record and twice as many wins has his teammate etc…

    So I really can’t understand why this talk about if he doesn’t win this year, he may need to take a sabbatical like JV and he may find his seat under threat and from who exactly?

    If Nico doesn’t win this year (which I doubt he will), then it’s he who has to worry about his seat if he doesn’t hit back and win the title in 2015..

    • I disagree about Rosberg. He is a good fit for the team, not too expensive and ticks the boxes.

      I highly doubt HAM would take a sabbatical, but it will be hard to justify the high pay packet if he fails to win the title this year. Hence, next year could be his final year at Merc…although I don’t think this will happen.

      • So he wins 11 races and has an engine failure in Abu Dhabi and Nico wins the championship due to this stupid double points system, will he still be unable to justify his high pay package?

        I think he can point to his results as proof that he does indeed worth his salary, because it’s not like he’s not finishing races due to him making errors. It’s there to see, when the car is reliable and he starts on the first 2 rows of the grid, it’s either he wins or finishes 2nd.

        Sure Rosberg is cheap, but please define cheap? Because from what has been reported, his new pay package, brings him in line with what Lewis is earning right now, so that’s not really cheap is it?

          • That maybe the case, but for now, it’s all assumption fueled by the fact that Alonso is on the market. Mercedes has not solid reason to drop Lewis, because whatever Alonso brings to the table, Lewis brings the same, if not more.

  12. Adam, nice piece, thanks.

    For what it’s worth *I* do not think it’s Make or Break for Hamilton. The guy is overwhelmingly, clearly one of the top 2 F1 drivers out there. And although he may be requesting steep wages for his services and he might be more PR maintenance than the average F1 driver, he is obviously an indispensable asset for any team fortunate enough to have him. Remember that Saint Ross wanted him to (from memory) “resuscitate Merc’s development program”, this from a team who had Schumacher and Rosberg on their development program for several years.

    Big Ron was a fool to push Lewis away (something he no doubt regrets to this very day), and if Lewis suddenly gets dropped by Merc out of the blue, then teams will bend over backwards and break contracts with existing drivers just to accommodate Lewis in their teams, this year or the next. Not even Fred could conjure such a trick… (A rematch of Lewis and Fred at McLaren is too salivating to entertain…)

  13. I haven’t yet figured out whether this entire blog is just one big wind up. In one sense its like looking at a road traffic accident, you kind of fell you shouldn’t but often find yourself doing just that.

  14. Talk about biased towards Vettel!
    JB was a lot less fortunate than Vettel with his -on rails red bull for 5/6 years.
    And was completely outclassed by the rookie Ricarrdo.
    In my opinion JB would beat Vettel all day long.
    2008 Ferrari had the dominant car as demonstrated by Massa nearly getting the title!
    Rosbergs reliability last season? What about Hamiltons reliability this season. How many times has Rosberg beaten Hamilton this season fair and square with no failures? Once??
    Alonso and Hamilton are clearly in my opinion in a league of their own and Vettel is average in terms high standard of the drivers on the grid in the current era.
    The title may still be decided by double points/ reliability though…

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