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The ITV Lewis Hamilton Show

The ITV Lewis Hamilton Show

Lewis Hamilton - 2007 Bahrain Grand PrixIs it a good thing thing that the UK have a competitive British driver doing well in Formula One at the moment?

It’s an obvious question really, that deserves an equally obvious answer. Surely, the one and only response is yes. And it should always be yes. As a nation that often fails to celebrate its victors and regularly berates its losers, we should be standing on two feet and applauding the efforts of Lewis Hamilton, buoying him up and encouraging the guy to do even better.

However, and you knew there was a however coming, didn’t you? However, how far should it all go? As far as dedicating the UK ITV F1 show to Lewis? As far as pretty much taking over the Monday papers sports section? What about the frontpage?

It seems the UK media has jumped all over the surprise competitiveness of Lewis, and a part me thinks that is a very good thing. Celebrating our victors, and all that. But the ITV show really has become a little too Lewis-orientated. It seems the commentators cannot utter the man’s name enough, driver interviews seem to revolve around Lewis, and all this has caused just about everyone in the media to forget that not since 1999 have we had so many British drivers on the grid.

Jenson is still racing, David had a cracking race in Bahrain until it all went wrong and Anthony improved over his previous form. But where were they in the newspapers?

Personally, I feel ITV need to be more unbiased. The show needs to be better balanced, after all, not every Englishman and Englishwoman is a Hamilton fan. Sure, do the special features, dedicate a few interviews to the guy over the course of the season, analyse his performances. And then do the same with the other drivers. The newspapers too need to go back to reporting the facts, rather than the hype. Sure Jenson isn’t making much news at the moment, I’ll give them that, but I didn’t see much of Coulthard last Monday, and I reckon very few people have even heard of Anthony Davidson.

I’ll leave you with just one more thing, in case readers from other countries have no idea what I am talking about: During the commentary, and towards the end of each race, James Allen always asks co-commentator Martin Brundle for a ‘driver of the race’. Allen has become Hamilton’s new best friend, while Brundle has remained a little more balanced, thankfully. In Bahrain, this is how it went down:

Allen: And your driver of the day? As if I had to ask.

Brundle: For me, Felipe Massa.

Allen:

James Allen and Martin Brundle, ITV Commentators.

Formula One, F1, ITV, Lewis Hamilton, Media

Oliver White

10 comments

  • I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying, but have a couple of points.

    Firstly, it seems to be the way of things that when a new English sportsman comes along who have even a semblence of natural talent then the media feel obliged to hype them to the max. Someone entering Formula One for example has enough pressure being put on them by themselves and the team, sponsors etc without the added weight of a whole nation’s expectations on their shoulders.

    An Englishman who is starting out in his chosen field is never allowed to take things slowly from the start, it is immediately in the papers about when he will win his first race, when will he be world champion? Just let him do the best he can, ride his luck and see where it gets him!

    Secondly, and this is a common complaint not just levied at ITV’s F1 coverage but all sport in general really, the coverage isn’t for England, it is for the United Kingdom. Therefore your comment on “not every Englishman and Englishwoman is a Hamilton fan” extends to the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish too! Plus the ITV feed is seen on several stations around the world or so I believe.

    I can’t remember there being this much hype about DC, and with a bit more luck and a bit less sportsmanship he could have been every bit as good in reality as Hamilton is potentially…

  • that was a classic ITV moment at the end there. allen is missing michael tho, so maybe we can forgive him.

    you are talking here about a television station, who had jenson’s girlfriend record a song especially for their show though. at least they haven’t got lewis’ dad singing.

    i feel bad for anthony, if it wasn’t for lewis they’d be gushing over him right now.

    i think i now know the real reason why ITV bought friend reunited. so now they have access to all of lewis’ school friends so they’ll never run out of people to interview post race 🙂

  • Hi Craig, thanks for your comment.

    You make good points, particularly about the National/International coverage of the ITV feed.

    When you speak of DC’s sportsmanship, are you saying that Coulthard is too much of a gentlemen racer, and therefore hasn’t succeeded as well as others have? If so, I have to recall even this season incidents of David making some harsh moves on other drivers, in comparison to Hamilton’s relatively calm and measured approach.

    You’re spot on with the pressure aspect as well – drivers have enough on their plate without every newspaper hyping their chances up. Hamilton seems to be handling it well though.

    I feel for all the British racers, but I guess it is something similar to what Rosberg and Heidfeld had to endure when Michael what’s-his-name was around.

  • Oliver,

    I think that Coulthard has made some decisions with others in mind, certainly early on in his career – now it is drawing to a close, perhaps he feels he can take some more risks!

    Moving over to let Hakkinen past in the Oz GP all those years ago is something that he didn’t have to do and was something that maybe cemented his status with McLaren as a number two to Mika.

    But as I’ve read DC say in interviews, he would rather be able to live with his conscience after doing what he thinks is right, than adopt the win-at-all-costs attitude of some others out there!

    I agree that Hamilton is coping with things very well so far. I saw him race in GP2 at Silverstone last year, and his ability was never in question. The only doubt about him really is how he would have got on without Ron Dennis and McLaren, but there’s no way we can find that out!

    I hope he does do well, but it would be nicer if he got all the praise and attention after he has a world championship under his belt!!

    The one good thing about Lewis coming along is that we don’t have to listen to stuff about Jenson every fortnight – another case of over-hyping!

  • I think the British press is always going to behave like this, and from my point of view at least it’s someone who deserves it, unlike Button or Coulthard. I hope Davidson gets a fair crack as those two have had.

    For me, a great driver is one who can get results out of an average vehicle and Lewis has proven time and time again over the past 13 years that he can do that. Not so with any other British driver over that sort of timescale, except maybe Jamie Green.

    That said, I think Allen is far from talented at what he does and Brundle has too many other agendas to take seriously. I can’t blame anyone for being rubbed up the wrong way.

  • Hi Mary-Ann, it’s good to see you around these parts.

    I would have to agree with your statement about good drivers are those who can get results in a mediocre car – I hope Lewis can continue his trend through his Formula One career. I think he is certainly going to become a very interesting driver to watch.

    I think Brundle is a pretty balanced commentator. He obviously likes to mention Coulthard a fair bit, but I’ve noticed Martin will also scorn his driver as well. He was quite critical in Australia when David went over Wurz, and there have been other times when he has point blankly said that Coulthard was in error.

    Davidson does deserve a fair crack after all those years he put in at Honda. Maybe as an eventual replacement for Barrichello, or even with Prodrive should his contract allow for it. It is too easy to become a ‘background driver’ in F1 though, so I hope the Super Aguri can start scoring the odd point or two soon to bring Anthony into the limelight a bit.

  • What really annoyed me about ITV’s coverage was not just the amount of coverage about Hamilton, but the way they just crowbarred it in wherever they could. Like the interview with Robert Kubica, where Louise Goodman said, “You’re making all of the rookie mistakes that our boy Hamilton isn’t making!”

    And then there was the interview with Alonso that was shown in the highlights package. Really, why should other drivers have to answer journalists’ silly questions about golden boy Hamilton?

    I was really annoyed at an interview Matt Bishop did on Radio Five Live though. Don’t know if you heard it, but I wrote about it here.

    As far as Brundle goes, I have to say I find him quite fair. I do look out for his comments on Coulthard, and I do find him fair. As Ollie pointed out, he wasn’t slow to lay the blame at DC’s door for that crash with Wurz.

  • Yes! Thank you to you all for showing up in my google search for “Martin Brundle Lewis Hamilton Show”.

    I’m a Kiwi, a big fan of F1, and have been a Kimi Raikkonen fan for a long time. Sorry i didn’t say Lewis, but that’s the spirit driving the fun of it all. In NZ we have to pay for our broadcast of F1 via Sky Tv. Sky gives us the ITV feed. Sky shows advertisments during the race which grates me no end (i’ll never buy bridgestone because of it)… but not near as much as Martin and James have come to grate me with their ‘Lewis Hamilton Show’! I used to like Martin.. he brought a great perspective to the event. That’s changed of late, the commentary feed from the ’08 Valencia race tipped the scales, and has spurred this google search (wondering “am i the only one who feels this way?”) It’s all just getting beyond a joke. Hamilton is a fantastic driver, and seems to be a very nice guy to go with it. I also think DC is a champion bloke, and Jenson, Adrian etc… it would be great to see more of them too, i agree. But, it would certainly be nice to hear an effort at some objective commentary on ALL the drivers… they all have an incredible story and help make this great sport what it is. Please ITV, its the whole United Kingdom and it’s also NZ. We’d love it if Martin, James and Louise et al would love the sport of it all just a bit more than they love Lewis.

    I know I can’t do anything about any of it.. but gosh it’s good to vent. Thanks for that. J.

  • cant agree with you more … i watch ITV telecast some times ( altough iam in india ) i cant bear what james allen does every time … all he utters in the entire show is *lewis hamilton* when people like nick heid field and kubica and vettel are doing great drives , allen just concentrates on how their lil boy screwed up or did an awsome move in the race … and can some body plz take anthony hamilton off the TV plzzzzz

  • Thats cause Lewis Hamilton is the man all drivers want to be.
    Vettel’s drive was awesome, but he leading from the start, was a sure win, providing he didn’t attempt any brave moves..

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