Hamilton versus… (II)

Most people admit Lewis Hamilton is an interesting and exciting driver. His aggressive driving style has been his trademark since his debut year (2007) and has provided viewers with exciting races even though some of his overtaking moves have not been successful. Nonetheless, to date, Hamilton has constantly out-performed his team-mates. 
An article I wrote in October 2010 (Hamilton versus…) shows a graph with Hamilton’s performance against all his team-mates since 2007 (his debut year) i.e. Alonso, Kovalainen and Button. (Hamilton eventually finished 26 points ahead of Button in 2010).

Relative Performance of Hamilton against his team-mates

By the 2011 season, Hamilton’s current team-mate, Jenson Button admitted that he is more comfortable with his technical team and even his car seat has been customised for him. And recently, he has been doing better than Hamilton on the track, prompting pundits to comment that Hamilton is now playing second fiddle* at McLaren. A very public ‘chat’ with another team principal has also added weight to the idea that Hamilton is no longer happy at McLaren. Perhaps frustrated by Ron Dennis’s replacement’s approach to design developments?

After the Italian Grand Prix (a race at which a more aggressive Button pull off an overtake on Michael Schumacher, that a seemingly more conservative Hamilton could not manage), it is looking more probable that Lewis Hamilton will lose his crown as the ‘leading driver at McLaren’. Also, as things stand Vettel already has a finger on the 2011 WDC trophy and this season might be the first one Hamilton is not in mathematical contention for the champioship by the last race. So one wonders;

  • is this the beginning of a downward spiral in terms of his future F1 performance, given that alternative options for him are limited i.e. other championship winning teams like RedBull and Ferrari are unlikely to sign him for various reasons, OR
  • if he is out-performed in 2011, will that be the impetus he needs to buck up and come back stronger and drive a more calculated race in 2012, perhaps tempering his naturally aggressive style to increase his chances of succeeding and possibly winning another WDC?
I would appreciate your participation in the poll running on this blog and your comments on this blog article. 
*second fiddlen – someone who serves in a subordinate capacity or plays a secondary role
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3 Comments

  1. To me, Lewis was most impressive in his first year when he was partnered with Fernando, it might be that's because as a newbie, little was expected of him but also the car was the best on the grid. If you look at the statistics, he has always been inconsistent since that first year, even during his WDC year, he has had periods of brilliant driving and exciting racing followed by costly mistakes that see him fail to finish a race.I think he doesn't cope so well when he's not the one leading the championship and seems to be more prone to mistakes, perhaps through frustration with the car not being the best, but the test of a great driver is consistently achieving great results and outperforming the car. I reckon Lewis is somewhat surprised that Jenson seems to have the upper hand this year and as Jenson's also British the fan base is split in their support and not just focusing on Lewis, that's bound to affect his confidence too.Whatever the problem is I do hope he gets himself sorted out soon. Have we seen the best of him? Who knows

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  2. I think it could be interesting to widen the scope of the investigation and compare him to other drivers. He debut season was 2007 so so this is his fifth season? He's won a world championship. How many races has he won? How many pole positions? How many fastest laps? I think he's won at least one GP every season he's been racing? How many podiums? How many drivers surpass what he's achieved in the same amount of time? Schumacher? Vettel? Senna? Prost? Lauda? I don't think there could be many. Why do we give him such a hard time? I think Hamilton is a better driver than Button. What was Button doing in his fifth year in F1? Do you think Hamilton will be better once he's raced in over 200 GPs? Finally, how old is he? Give him a break! He's fantastic. He's British. He's been a world champion and he will be again. We should celebrate him and every other British champion. We have more of them than we think.

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  3. I totally agree with blamkhan, we need to give him a break and so should the media, who constantly criticize him and the actions he makes on track. Lewis is great to watch and does things completely different from other drivers and that is what makes him unique. I think his has just bad luck this year and I think it will make him stronger to strike back in 2012.

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