Last year, Lewis Hamilton came under a little fire for the way he started grands prix. His method of moving across the circuit to defend his position and better enable himself to creep by other drivers into the first corner was compared greatly to Michael Schumacher’s. The multiple world champion was often criticised for his starting technique, and since the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has come under similar fire from his fellow drivers.
They say that the only way to win a Formula One world championship is with gritted determination, outright confidence, a great car and team, and ability to be completely ruthless when confronted with a choice on the track; to go for a pass, or to be sensible and wait for a better opportunity. Lewis Hamilton has clearly been taking the former approach – go for the pass. But this has caused many of his opponents to speak out against the McLaren driver.
In the next driver meeting, Jarno Trulli will ask [Lewis Hamilton] why he blocked him for two laps when he was a lap down. Jarno lost one and a half to two seconds, because Hamilton would not obey the blue flags. Timo Glock.
Of course, Glock has his own experience of Hamilton’s passing technique, the Briton having run the Toyota driver pretty much off-track during the washed-out Italian Grand Prix. And as you can imagine, Kimi Raikkonen isn’t too happy with Hamilton either.
What Hamilton did at the start at Fuji was not clean. He didn’t give me a chance to turn into the corner. You have to learn how to find braking points when you are six years old in go karts. Obviously you should know how it goes at this level. Kimi Raikkonen.
And even one of Hamilton’s most staunchest of supporters – former world champion Sir Jackie Stewart – criticised the McLaren driver following his first-corner incident at Fuji.
This was not his finest hour. His approach in that first corner was slightly arrogant to other drivers. Weaving in and out of other cars, as Lewis did in the run to the first corner, puts other drivers in the position of having to avoid his manoeuvre.
The Japanese race demonstrated that Lewis is still very young, in only his second season, and although he comes across as very cool in interviews, he doesn’t always have the same level of mind management when he’s racing.
Lewis Hamilton can still win the championship, but not if he drives the last two races the way he drove in Japan. Jackie Stewart.
So, is Lewis Hamilton just a determined and ruthless driver, aiming to capitalise on every opportunity in order to win? Or is the young driver behaving arrogantly, hot-headed and without thought to the repercussions of the race or world championship campaign, as well as his own reputation?