Hamilton’s pursuit of perfection


Last season Lewis Hamilton finally delivered the much needed second Formula One drivers’ title that many felt he needed to be included in the pantheon of the sport’s greatest drivers. For Lewis, 2014 was a season filled with ups and downs; from accusing his team mate of cheating in Monaco, disobeying team orders in Hungary and the infamous Spa incident. However he prevailed, winning 6 of the final 7 races and 11 in total (the most he has every accomplished in one season), thus securing title number 2.

We roll forward to 2015 and that momentum has continued. Lewis has taken pole position in all 4 races along with 3 wins (9 out of the last 11) and a second place. Hamilton now leads the F1 driver standings by 27 points over fellow team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg and 28 ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Following his most recent victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis spoke to the APA and was asked if he felt he was unbeatable, to which he replied:

“I don’t know what the feeling of being unbeatable is. I know I feel very powerful in this car with the package we have, and I feel I’m able to get everything from it.
“I also feel more comfortable in this car than I did in the one last year, and I feel within myself, with whatever approach I have, the power is greater than ever in terms of strength in the car.
“It’s like ‘yes’. I put the car there and it goes there, I get the exit.
“Naturally you always feel there are things you can still improve on, but it’s hard to always pinpoint what those are and to tell the team what to focus on.
“That’s what a team leader has to do, and, along with Nico [Rosberg], I’m trying to guide the team, to tell them where to go next.”

We can glean from this that Hamilton clearly sees himself as the number one/lead driver at Mercedes, whatever his contract in fact states.

Lewis also had a few words for those who suggests he doesn’t work as hard as his fellow drivers and he just relies on his natural abilities

“Of course I analyse. You can’t be a world champion without doing that. I remember speaking about this a long time ago and I don’t know if people get a perception as to who you are as a driver, but I work as hard as any other driver.
“Just because I do things differently it doesn’t mean I’m worse.
“There was a point where people said Nico was a doctor of this or that; Jenson [Button] was a doctor of his tyres.
“I tick off all the boxes, and I’ve worked to do that.
“The results I get are not only from my raw ability because I study hard, I work hard to make notes about my tyres, about every single thing I do, which I’ve done since my days in Formula Three.
“Ultimately, I don’t care what people think. I just do the job.”
Winning three of the first four races, is as close to ‘perfection’ as the results get without being perfect and Lewis believes he is fulfilling his potential.
“I know the potential I have, and whether or not I’m living up to it. I feel I am coming close to full potential – although who knows exactly what that is – but I do feel quite satisfied.”

Having had his say on a number of things ‘Lewis’ in times gone by, Jackie Stewart yet acknowledged that it is just a matter of time before Lewis equals his mark of 3 driver titles.

Whilst close to perfection on track, for many Lewis fails to meet the same standard when it comes to his off track behaviour. He demonstrates moments of petulance and has in previous years looked as though he is on a continual search for new amusement.

Yet this year we are seeing so far, a focused and determined Hamilton. He is regularly scoring psychological points against his team mate both on and off the track. TJ13 has revealed on more than one occasion that those close to Lewis were concerned about the influence of his prior romantic liaison. They now believe it to be no co-incidence that Lewis’ new fixation with all things racing follows the collapse of that turbulent relationship with Nicole Sherzinger.

And now with the proverbial monkey of winning a second F1 driver title removed from his back, Hamilton will surely go on to match and maybe surpass the three championships won by his childhood hero, Ayrton Senna.

And sometime soon, he will pass Senna’s all time F1 win count – it’s surely just a matter of which race weekend this year that event occurs. Ironically, if Hamilton delivers a set of perfect results between now and Silverstone, it would be at the British GP he would equal the Senna all time win tally.

55 responses to “Hamilton’s pursuit of perfection

  1. Hamilton is driving so nicely at the moment, i think Ferrari are a lot closer than it looks at the moment, and its Hamilton making the difference, i think you could swap the Ferrari and Merc drivers round and the drivers championship would probably still look roughly the same.

    • I said before that whenever another team get within sniffing distance of Merc, Rosberg will be in trouble and the team will need Lewis to unleash his speed. Look at what happened in Bahrain Qualifying – Ferrari were the closest they ever have been to Merc in terms of qualy trim, and Seb splits the two Mercedes, with Rosberg in third. Merc still have the advantage, but let’s wait and see what happens in the coming races to see if Nico has what it takes when the battle is not just with his team mate.

    • Conversely I think that Mercedes still has a huge car advantage, and it’s only down to poor performances from Nico, and well above performances from the Ferrari guys that we’ve had anything like a fight.

      There is very little in it between the top drivers in F1 and when I say top drivers, I’m not referring to Nico, because he’s not in that bracket – the only people who thought that were those who sought to try and add some kudos to the 2014 title, which was a one team race from Australia onwards. So who’s a top driver? Alonso is, Vettel is, Hamilton is and so are Kimi and Jenson when they turn up. With that in mind…

      – Australia, Mercedes walked it, no pressure from anyone, qualifying they blitzed the entire field.
      – Malaysia, it rained. The great leveller. Vettel produces a brilliant lap to get within a whisker of P1. Merc made strategic errors in the race that cost them though.
      – China, another Mercedes dominated weekend, another 1s ish advantage in qualifying.
      – Bahrain. The advantage in Q3 was 4 tenths.

      There is no way that Alonso, Hamilton or evidently Vettel would be leading the championship in a Ferrari at this stage with 3 wins if Mercedes had a different top driver in the team. There simply isn’t enough of a difference in performance between those drivers to gain a tenth of two on one another, let alone the thick end of a second.

      What we’ve seen this season is that given a car that is half a second off the pace in race trim Ferrari can still compete. That’s a credit to them, both drivers and those on the pitwall calling the shots.

      • I think it would be fair to assume Kimi’s speed hasn’t changed, Massa and him were fairly close in terms of pace when teamed together, and were both about the same same distance from Alonso. I think its fairly safe to say to that Kimi has been a constant. Its therefore probably fair to assume that Kimi’s speed hasn’t changed, just that Vettel is as his level.

        Both Ted Kravitz and Martin Brundle have suggested something similar.

  2. Never take any title, or any race win, for granted. He’s on a good run at the moment, but it can all change, for any driver in any car, in an instant. Think Schumacher ’99; think Bianchi last season. Of course that’s the most extreme potential pitfall. There remains a decent chance that Ferrari could overhaul Mercedes in the development race. The extra 20-30 hp they’re bringing to Canada could be a game changer, who knows?

    • And in modern F1 that may be all that keeps the interest going this season if there is no serious challenge from Rosberg.

      19/23 drivers winning 3 out of the first 4 races have gone on to take the drivers title.

    • Ferrari have another 20-30 HP in hand with their new engine config, another 100 mil invested this season and they still need to employ a shorter nose. There is a reasonable chance Ferrari will be equal or atleast within 1-3 tenths.

      • Are we sure that figure is correct or are we all just going along with what’s being put out there?

        Do we know what Renault and Mercedes are bringing along?

      • Don’t always swallow what is spoon-fed to you…. Don’t count your chicken before they hatch… Don’t fix what is not broken

        Take your pick… As far as i see, Ferrari has a pretty good setup at the moment; their only trojan in the system is currently Mercedes’ Hamilton. What the Dyno says, and what you get in reality is always two different outcomes (those of you who may have tuned your sportscar etc will know this). Renault have recently complained that the figures that they see on the dyno does not correspond to their performance on track. My point being, Ferrari upgrade can potentially be a downgrade.

        Also what @Fortis has rightly pointed out, we do not “know what Renault and Mercedes are bringing along”.

  3. At the moment Hamilton is driving well within himself and is able to turn it up when needed. As long as he doesn’t become blasé about it all then he is set for a third title. He has come back this season a new man and I hope it lasts long enough to be around when the others inevitably catch up, ever hopeful of a mammoth 2016!

    • He really seems to have radically improved upon the mental aspects of competitive athletic performance. Removing drama from personal life will certainly help, but he’s also getting the huge benefit of the self-confidence bump that comes from that second WDC. And I believe his declarations of feeling #Blessed are genuine, and counter any allegations that LH personality and actions = arrogant or entitled.

      Truth perceived gives assurance.
      Skill yields self-reliance.
      With courage, we can defy danger.
      To increase power, increase humility.

  4. While the level of “confidence” that transpires in his words is also, partially, what makes him so good/fast at this juncture, he does come across as a coky jerk….fine line, fine line.

    • It is the mindset of a winner. All the top athletes in the world have this. It’s not as if he is cocky without having the performance to back it up – On track he’s supreme, especially this year. To some, the level of confidence he has now may seem like cockiness but it’s just a reflection of his performances and therefore his level of confidence. But that is passed off as being ‘cocky’ by those who are not in that position and probably never will be because they don’t have the mindset of a winner. It’s no different to the confidence that Seb had during his title winning years or many other drivers during their winning years. He was not cocky, rather in a position that his performances meant a level of confidence not understood by those who have never got to feel that.

      Cocky he is not, confidence to the brim he most definitely has.

      • Well, as I said, it’s a fine fine line and there is no right or wrong answer. He comes across as coky to me and I’m sticking to that. Sure, at this point in the season, his results allow him to be ultra confident and conversely, his high level of confidence yields even better results on track and off, it’s a virtuous cycle. In addition, he is destroying Rosberg on track and has completely destroyed him psychologically off track.

        Having said that, while many champions share that trait, not all of them do.

        Oh, and no need for the patronizing tone btw.

    • One might say that he’s also being modest. Being confident is very rarely seen as what it is… people who dislike you will find it negative; people who likes you will find it positive. Like you said @John A…. “Fine line”

  5. I can’t get it out of my head. I’m reading what he said and I’m hearing Fredo Corleone saying I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!

      • I’d be surprised if anyone “dumb” even made it to Formula One, let alone won world titles. I know intellect would naturally vary among the drivers, but I can’t see how anyone who is in Formula One, or made it to Formula One in its relative modern history, could be classified as “dumb”.

        I did in one way agree with the Fredo Corleone analogy, in the sense that it does remind me of Lewis too. However unlike Fredo, it’s not coming out and sounding like that because Lewis is “dumb”, but because he has an innate low self esteem, in my opinion. That he is continually looking for, or evolving, his identity speaks to this.

        I think Lewis is hyper-sensitive to the jibber jabber and it’s no coincidence he is covering off what has been said about him recently. He may claim (or imply) to not read the media, ala Kimi, but it’s clear he is across it all and hyper-aware of the sentiment surrounding him.

        I think he’s sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the paddock sentiment towards him, as well as the sentiment of the media, as well as perhaps his own personal ups and downs outside of Formula 1. To my mind, there is evidence aplenty to speak to this throughout his career, less so as he has gotten a little older and wiser, but it’s still there.

        I really can’t find any justification whatsoever to think he is stupid, even if he sounded Fredo-esque in a way in that article. In fact, he has completely owned Nico in the media game, the internal Mercedes political game and on track over the last while, since perhaps Monaco 14 where he lost his shit temporarily.

        I do subscribe to the emerging trend that Lewis has destoryed Nico. Lewis’ psyche is at its highest and most powerful right now, as he has stated himself. The inverse to his feeling “powerful” though is that his fans will be praying that doesn’t swing to feeling “weak” as a result of sentiment backlash or being rattled by someone anytime soon. I can’t see Nico being able to rattle Lewis. Lewis has Nico completely cornered.

        Perhaps Sebastian, with an ever-improving Ferrari, could joust with Lewis in time. For Formula One’s sake, let’s hope that’s sooner rather than later.

        • I think he’s sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the paddock sentiment towards him, as well as the sentiment of the media, as well as perhaps his own personal ups and downs outside of Formula 1. To my mind, there is evidence aplenty to speak to this throughout his career, less so as he has gotten a little older and wiser, but it’s still there.

          Maybe Lewis is a closeted HSP who has been able to reduce his susceptibility to destabilization simply as a result of growing older and wiser as you say…maturing as an athlete and a human.

          Fascinating public figure though. Hardly surprising why his story is so compelling and why he captivates so many who take an interest in his life & work.

        • Agree, WT… about Hamilton being hypersensitive and keenly aware about what’s being said and written about him. For me it explains his, just-at-arm’s-length relationship with a SkyF1 team that has a penchant for alternately praising his accomplishments while often seeming to foster or further questions about, not only his worth as a driver, but ability to think his way around a track and his ability to comprehend what’s going on around him. I know I was shocked to hear Martin Brundle laud Hamilton for having great technical expertise at negotiating Bahrain’s slow corners.

          Yes, he’s become wiser with time but just under the surface remains the hyper-sensitivity.

  6. so “Perfection” is now 3 titles and being like Senna….so how much more Perfect does Lewis have to get to get close to Sebastian Vettel? If I can still count, 4 is more of an achievement than 3, so if Lewis wants to be the perfect driver, he needs more just 1 more title.

    So many similarities between Lewis of this year and Seb of years gone by, except the tatoos of course….

    • “Perfection” is in relation to how he’s driving at present, not how many titles he has won.

    • You’re not being fair there, @Dule. In Seb’s case the car and a not-so-good team mate yielded his titles after the hard-earned first one.

      Hamilton’s situation after he takes the title again this year will be entirely different 😉

      • Yeah… you can’t exactly compare them. Everyone (other than die-hard Vettel fans) thinks that those titles were more or less handed to him… That he didn’t have any competition. Even a few die-hard SV fans have caved admitting that although they believed that he is an excellent driver, the 4 world titles didn’t convincingly prove that he is better than Hamilton.

        I don’t even think Vettel is convinced! I think he win in Malaysia was more satisfying than any previous wins… Of course… Its only my opinion

    • Perfection as a driver is not just about the highest numbe of trophies but the manner in which the driver does all the things other drivers have done before.
      For example Seb has won 4 WDCs in a row and 40 races in one regulatory era with a lame teammate.
      To have 3 WDCs in 2 different teams in 2 different reg eras beating a variety of WDC teammates along the way and sat behind Senna and Prost on the list of highest average career grid positions for rivers with 150 races or more out of nearly 760 drivers is closing on perfection with a few yers of his career to go.
      History tells us that the ones we talk about are the ones with legendary feats, not the ones with questionable and easily discounted stats.
      Closing on perfection is lapping your WDC teammate in normal conditions, or starting at the back and beating your pole sitting teammate
      This is along the lines of what a perfect driver is expected to do. Not collapse in form and get thrashed by a near rookie after a reg change

  7. Darren Heath, an F1 photographer who goes to all the races, has just posted his post-race blog on his website. He is best placed to view the body language of the drivers and here’s the link:
    His reference to Lewis’ resurgence after the summer break in 2014 ties in with what TJ13 were told by sources that Lewis came back more focused on his driving after the summer break.

  8. Well, Rosberg is putting as much of a fight up as was Webber, and everybody said Red BUll was the best car, and that Vettel doesn’t have to have talent to win in that car. The situation is exactly the same, except German vs Brit, but the FACT is that the Hamilton, just like Vetttel, has the best car, with a teammate that can’t exactly match him out on the track and that is why he is being so talented, just like Vettel was. Situation is exactly the same but I would say both of them are champions on merit and if anyone has a problem they can try and challenge them on track.
    I don’t think Ferrari is as close to Mercedes as the media want to make it out to be, as both championship are in no danger of going anywhere but Germany.
    Whilst Hamilton can come across as arrogant, and i think that is what he is trying to portray to rattle Nico, Seb was never as arrogant with his comments of how amazing and close to God he is, he did have that finger that riled everyone up so I agree that being a winner can be seen as being arrogant.

    • @Dule I think what everyone is trying to say is that Hamilton has had competition from day one… Best car or not. Saying that…. At ‘Day one’ (2014) he had a DNF lol. But all the way through 2014 he had Nico on his tail. At some points last year, the conspiracy theories were that Mercedes wanted Nico to win!! … Yes, it was that much of a challenge for the 2014 WDC. …. ….. Sebastian Vettel didn’t really have that… Webber racing Vettel was frowned upon in Redbull

      • Sorry that’s utter rubbish.

        I suggest you look at the actual performance advantage Red Bull had. The 2010 and 2012 titles were incredibly close because the cars were so equal. 2012 especially saw Vettel fighting against a McLaren (containing Hamilton and Button) that was the fastest car over the course of the year and Alonso in a Ferrari that was within 3 tenths or so, but had great race pace.

        Who’s within 3 tenths of Mercedes this year or last? Answer? No one. And I’ll add in 2014 the closest Merc challenger was Williams who clearly weren’t allowed to race the factory team. The fact Rosberg got to the final race with a shot of the title shows that a.) LH had marginally more car issues and b.) the Merc was so damn fast any driver on the grid could bring it home in P2.

        Whilst I’d agree the 2011 an 2013 (second half) titles were easily won with a big performance advantages, it is those two Vettel titles that are like the 2014 & 2015 titles on the basis of how near the competition are.

        • The 2012 McLaren was not the fastest car over the season. It was the fastest at many races, but usually was unreliable at those times (SIN, ABU). How many points does the fastest car get when it doesn’t finish?

          9 races in, after GBR, it’s worth looking at how the second car of each team was doing. For McLaren, that was Button, on 50 points; for RBR, that was Vettel on 100 points. The RB8 was without question the best car to be in, in 2012. Button and Hamilton would’ve swapped cars in a NY second with Vettel in 2012. Also the RB6 in 2010 was a qualifying monster. Check the spreads between RBR and the next best team … it’s comparable to the W05’s qualifying edge over its rivals. If an RBR driver hadn’t won in 2010, it would’ve been a criminal case of ineptitude.

          It’s clear that you and I differ on the “adjusting” we do, when gauging car performance. You apparently think the Ferrari is still far behind, but is being dragged forward by Seb and Kimi, while the Merc is not being driven to its full potential, because it’s Lewis and Nico in there. I’m the opposite, in that I think the Ferrari is damn good, and that the competition, at least in race trim, is very close. James Allen has stated in his blog that the two PUs are effectively equal over a race distance, because of Ferrari’s capability to get more out of their ERS systems over a race.

          I think the Ferrari could be further forward if Lewis was in it. I think Lewis combines Seb’s qualifying strength along with Kimi’s race pace strength. All my opinion of course. I think Alonso might’ve won that race for the reds, if he were in that car. Can’t know for sure, but just suspect that’d be the case.

        • Paul lol…. Two totally different arguments there bruv…. My previous comment was the difference in the domination in the drivers… Hamilton having Nico fighting him all the way…. Webber not being allowed to race Vettel. Your point is how far the teams were… and might i add in 2012 was so unreliable, being the fastest car at some of the races meant very little.

          So before you go “Utter Rubish” which in layman’s term you mean “crap” “untrue” “sh*t”, sit back, relax, take a deep breath, analyse what is being said, then add your 2 cents. I wasn’t having a go at your Team RBR or your boy SB so no need to get your panties in a twist.

  9. Whilst close to perfection on track, for many Lewis fails to meet the same standard when it comes to his off track behaviour. He demonstrates moments of petulance and has in previous years looked as though he is on a continual search for new amusement.

    What does it matter in the context of this article that ‘for some’ his off track behaviour matters if it doesnt not affect his driving and is not illegal. Either say you find the behaviour an issue and why or dont bother mentioning it.

    ‘for some people he looks like an axe murderer’ – what that gotta do with his pursuit of perfction on track?????

      • Yes… I didn’t see where these “2 sentences” came from…. or what it has to do with his on track performance. What behaviour are you referring to?

      • You are trying to say here that these 2 sentences should not overshadow the article; but it appears that his ‘off track behaviour/.standard” has overshadowed your opinion of him being close to perfection (or what you deem as being perfect)

      • I believe I am
        But you didnt address the point – What does it matter if SOME find his off track behaivour petulant?
        Does it affect his pursuit of excellence on track – I assume this is your article?
        Please tell me the relevance to mention this unless YOU the author believe this, and if so then you should qualify it – how does petulance affect his pursuit of on track excellence?????

    • Please can you tell the court which driver is a model perfectionist off track?

      “He demonstrates moments of petulance and has in previous years looked as though he is on a continual search for new amusement”

      Most people would call that standard human flaws and trying to enjoy life.

      • That only Lewis Hamilton and Seb Vettel incite such impassioned remarks is indicative of the rarified air in which they both inhabit.

        Both men are extremely sensitive when it comes to what they perceive as unjust jabs at them – Lewis’ eyes narrow and he gets positively thin-lipped as he appears to be fighting back a snarky or biting retort, while with Seb, these moments result in a cutting jab at the offending party’s intelligence, age, ability to understand the sport, etc. and he gets that vicious glare in his eyes while he’s smiling knowing he stopped the offender in their tracks.

        Both men are fantastically talented drivers who are pointedly driven to be perceived as the best ever in their respective countries and be known as among the best ever in F1…

        Hey wait —- now, if they were to become teammates… does this remind anyone of another set of teammates who never seemed to see eye to eye but after all was said and done, everyone realized they were very much alike???

      • Maybe for some a perfect sportsman has to also help old ladies cross the road and like the music they like. Maybe whilst watching sports they think ‘wow, what a great move/goal/overtake, but how can I enjoy it when it is spoiled by knowing he hangs out with Bling star Ice Cream’

  10. I would like Vettel and Hamilton to be teamates, maybe when Lewis wins his 4th title he can move to Ferrari and they will be on equal terms. I don’t really see how a driver’s behaviour off track needs to impact his rating as a driver. I agree Hamilton seems to party a bit more, but he’s a young world champion, that’s what they’re supposed to do and as long as it doesn’t impact his driving….Raikkonnen probably parties as much as Hamilton, and let’s not forget James Hunt. I think Hamilton’s is trying to bring that back…..except the smoking. As long as Hamilton’s has been in Mercedes, I’ve always seen him as the stronger driver, and have given up on Rosberg, giving him a fight…..this championship is Hamilton’s to lose and I don’t think that if even with Merc favored Rosberg, he would let it slip

  11. This is the Lewis we last saw in 2007/08 (with a glimpse in 2012), utterly dedicated to his craft and not bedazzled by the off track limelight. If he can keep it up and has the car to do the business with then he’ll be very hard to beat. Vettel and Alonso are perhaps the only ones who can. As good as Nico is, he just doesn’t appear to have that edge that Lewis, Kimi, Vettel and Alonso all have. Even if he gets his head back in the game, Lewis may well just up his game more and crush Nico all over again. As for Monaco ? Any tricks from Nico may well end up backfiring on him. Though I kind of expect we might see Vettel or Kimi on pole.

    As for the off track Lewis ? I think it’s a PR construction designed to deflect attention from the real Lewis (whoever that might be). Who it has to be said has probably spent the last few years going through things we’ve all gone through childhood etc, but due to the nature of his commitment to getting into F1 had to forgo. Bernie is licking his lips having Lewis as World Champion as Lewis is a much more polarising figure than Vettel is and therefore generates more headlines and heated debates.

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