Lewis Hamilton: Racer or reckless?

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Is Lewis Hamilton his own worst enemy?

Should he have settled for 3rd place at the 2009 Italian GP instead of pushing hard all the way to the line in the hope of taking 2nd place off Jenson Button?

If he had then he would currently be just 6 points behind Kimi Räikkönen in the WDC, rather than the 13 points he is.

Does his all-or-nothing style compromise his ability to win races and ultimately the 2007 WDC?

Or is it the fact that he's a true racer which makes him so exciting to watch and ultimately rewards him with more points and wins than perhaps other drivers who play it a bit safer?

Interestingly enough, of the 48 races he has entered (up to and including Monza 2009), he has only retired from 4 of them and in one of those he was an innocent passenger (Spa 2009).

That being the case, how and why has he earned the label of a somewhat headstrong driver who takes unnecessary risks, forfeiting valuable points?
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
I think it is generally because he doesn't give up on a place as long as there is a chance he can catch and overtake the person in front.

I think it was right that he kept pushing today, hecould easily have sat back and settled for the points, but he kept the race exciting at the front for the last part of the grand prix. We need more drivers like him.

I just wish Jense had totally got it together today and been able to close down Ruebens, now that would have been worth watching.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I have to agree with Rick D.

Lewis is a racer and his style of "Bingo or Bugger" has often been missing in F1 for the last few years. Remember how we heaped praise on drivers like Jean Alesi when it seemed like he was on the verge of total recklesness but to us it was brilliant.

Modern F1 drivers are so corperate that they seem in many cases to be lifeless and where we once praised hard chargers such as Gilles Villeneuve we tend now to ask questions like are they reckless.

Would we have judged Arnoux and Villeneuve in the same way when they had their infamous race at Dijion 20 years ago this year? I doubt it.

We often complain about the lack of overtaking but the drivers have to take some of the blame themselves so to see a driver really pushing is a good thing.

Finally, Hamilton had nothing to loose. He is in no position to take the world title so it was all about this race and where he could finish. I am pretty sure that he was not thinking about the big picture because if he isn't first he isn't anywhere. His thoughts will be on next season and how he can regain the world title.

So is he a racer or reckless? I say a racer and we need more of them.
 

McZiderRed

Champion Elect
Supporter
Yep. Lewis was right to carry on racing, IMHO. F1 needs more racers like him. Martin Whitmarsh couldn't hide his disappointment, when interviewed today, but he still said he wouldn't change the racer that is Lewis.

F1 drivers like Lewis don't come along every day of the week... E.g. look at Heikki... :whistle:
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
I've tried to write a comment 3 times and have confused myself 3 times so all I'll say is that I think Lewis knew before the season started/just after Oz that this season is a busted flush with a rotter of a car at the start of the season so he might as well go out and enjoy it - Guts or glory and fair play to him for that - Pure racer.

He's smiling a lot more this season than last ;)
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
I'm far from being a Lewis fan generally, but I agree with all of the above.

It was fun watching the Toyota twins battle it out as well.
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
Would he have driven differently if a world championship was at stake though? I suspect the team may have told him to back off in that case. How he drove yesterday was a return to the slightly reckless driver we first saw in 2007, who calmed down a bit last year.
Although I was bitterly disappointed he crashed out, I'm glad he went for it and I'm glad he's not getting shot down in flames by everyone for doing it.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
rufus_mcdufus said:
How he drove yesterday was a return to the slightly reckless driver we first saw in 2007
I'd like to pick up on this if I may.

His results in 2007 were as follows: 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 3, 3, 9, 1, 5, 2, 4, 1, RET, 7

If we look at his 4 worst finishes they are Europe, Turkey, China and Brazil.

Europe as we know, there was a wheel failure during qualifying and he crashed heavily into the barriers.
As a result he started 10th and was actually up to 6th by the first corner when the 2 BMWs collided and Hamilton's tyre was punctured.
Of course then the rain started and several cars slid off at the same corner, including Lewis who managed to keep the engine going and was craned back onto the track.
Despite all this he still managed to finish 9th.

Turkey he suffered a puncture and finished 5th.

China was the infamous threadbare tyres which were the cause of him skidding off into the only gravel trap on the whole circuit. It could be argued that he was unsighted entering the pits or that McLaren were to blame for keeping him out but ultimately we'll never know.

Brazil he was passed by the 2 Ferraris at the first corner and then forced off the circuit by his own team mate, Alonso. He then locked his brakes and went off again trying to repass and was now back in 8th place. He made his way back up to 6th and then suffered the now well known "gearbox" problem. He was all the way back to 18th place but still managed to finish in 7th. Did he press a button on the wheel by mistake or was it a software glitch? We'll never know for sure.

Of those 4 incidents, I can't really attribute any of them to reckless driving.

The wheel failure which put him out of position in Germany was just bad luck and as a result he then suffered a puncture. Sliding off in torrential rain on cold tyres again is not really reckless considering the speed at which everyone was spinning off.

Again at Turkey he was just unlucky to suffer a puncture.

China to this day still remains a mystery. Granted he should have approached the pit entrance a little more slowly but I can't remember another incident in 50 years of F1 racing where a driver has been left out on tyres which were so worn. Bizarre to say the least.

I suppose Brazil is the one race where we can say he was "reckless" if indeed that's the word. In attempting to repass Alonso he tried too hard and went off the circuit. However, it was the gearbox glitch which ultimately ruined his race as even after his 2 excursions he was still in 8th place. I suspect nerves had a lot to do with it considering he was potentially the first rookie in with a chance of the WDC.

So bearing in mind 2007 was his first season in F1 and despite his record including, 6 pole positions, 2 fastest laps, 4 wins, 12 podiums and only 4 poor finishes, of which 2 or even 3 can be explained away and not attributed to his driving, he still managed to pick up a tag labelling him as "reckless".

You have to wonder why that is.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I think Lewis is probably the most exciting thing to happen to F1 for years. There is nothing more dispiriting as a fan than watching a driver cruise round "to collect the points", such as Fisi in Spa. Hamilton is a racer, without doubt. He appears to never know when he is beaten and never seems satisfied with anything other than winning.

I would rather see a driver bin it on the last lap scrabbling to make up a place than getting out of the car at the end only to admit that there was more speed in the car if they had made the effort. Hamilton's sequence of laps at the end in Monza was simply brilliant, the fact that he didn't bin it earlier speaks volumes about his abilities.

He does appear to have moments of recklessness, such as the start at Japan in '08 but what driver hasn't tried something stupid at some point in their career and looked a bit of a tit as a result? The bizarre thing is that whenever Hamilton has one of these moments he appears to get punished more severely than his peers, but this is an old nutmeg.
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
Very good points Brogan - thank you! I regretted using the 'reck ...' word as soon as I wrote it, and also remembered that some of his more 'over-optimistic' moves were possibly performed in 2008 and not 2007 anyway!
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Apologies if it came across too stong rufus.

I wasn't having a go at you as such, just trying to understand what it is about Hamilton's driving that seems to have earned him a negative label so early in his career.

I myself have been guilty of the same thing but it's only when you look in detail at his 2007 season that you realise he did a superb job overall with only a few mistakes.

Even though he was in one of the best cars on the grid, it's pretty impressive stuff for a rookie, doubly so considering his team mate was the existing 2xWDC.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I'm sorry but I feel that the only one of those to words to describe Hamilton is "racer".

Hamilton has been described as reckless because of the idiotic pit-lane crash at Montreal (and you have to question the position of the red light at that particular pitlane as Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella & Juan Pablo Montoya have been DQed for that particular offence. Also, Nico Rosberg got no criticism for ploughing into the back of Hamilton in the same incident), the shenanigans in Japan and the crash in Italy yesterday.

Part of this is due to the fact that whenever he attempted to execute an overtake last year the stewards punsished him as part of the FIA's War On McLaren. I also blame the internet led character assassination by certain individuals.

However, the biggest problem is that because of who he is and where he's come from, because of what he is and what he represents, he is F1's superstar. Everything Lewis Hamilton does in F1 is microanalysed in a way that no other driver has to put up with. Are we saying Seb Vettel is reckless because he crashed in Monaco? Has Kimi Raikkonen's reputation been sulleyed and questioned by his crashes in Singapore and Belgium last year?

Lewis Hamilton is not a reckless driver. He is a racer, and he's probably the only one out there at the moment. He probably deserves to be cut the same amount of slack as anyone else out there, and if he was, it would be quite clear that he crashed out yesterday because he pushed too far. He pushed too far because that's what he had to do. Because in that car and on that strategy, there isn't a driver in the world who'd have got closer to the Brawns.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
lewis hamilton a racer?

come on guys and gals... its a car driving robot. the worst thing that happened to f1 since the sport abandoned turbos.

ok, i will grant you the the kid is doing pretty well and is a big name in the sport. but to call him a superstar? i agree he does his job well but thats about it. everytime he gets into a car either one of two things will happen, one is he will have his best drive ever or he will end up in no man's land. but either way, although it does seems like he is racing, there seems to be no thinking behind it.. at all.

this crash in italy was... weird. strange. ok, we know he is bad on tyres so the fact he crashed out was kinda according to expectations. there was not a lot of chance he actually would make it to the finish the way he was handling them rubbers but ok. it seemed more like all his systems went crazy and he went into destruction mode. i will show i am the best, i will prove i can do this. and there was the wall. useless..
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
bogaTYR said:
lewis hamilton a racer?
bogaTYR said:
come on guys and gals... its a car driving robot. the worst thing that happened to f1 since the sport abandoned turbos.

ok, i will grant you the the kid is doing pretty well and is a big name in the sport. but to call him a superstar? i agree he does his job well but thats about it. everytime he gets into a car either one of two things will happen, one is he will have his best drive ever or he will end up in no man's land. but either way, although it does seems like he is racing, there seems to be no thinking behind it.. at all.

this crash in italy was... weird. strange. ok, we know he is bad on tyres so the fact he crashed out was kinda according to expectations. there was not a lot of chance he actually would make it to the finish the way he was handling them rubbers but ok. it seemed more like all his systems went crazy and he went into destruction mode. i will show i am the best, i will prove i can do this. and there was the wall. useless..


Well, I would describe a "robot" as a driver who consistently wears down the opposition, never has a bad day, doesn't crash or indeed do anything halfway interesting. I believe his name was Michael. I don't think Hamilton fits in to this bill.

The worst thing to happen to F1 since turbos were abandoned? I'm not sure there is any sense of perspective there. I can't help but think it is slightly over-the-top to describe any driver as one that is the "worst thing to happen to the sport" but one that has entertained us for two and a half years?

Of course he's a superstar. He's 24. He's a World Champion. You can't complain about media overcoverage and then claim he isn't a superstar!

"The fact he crashed out was kinda according to expectations." Well, it may have been to expectations but it wasn't to form. He's retired from F1 races four times in his career! Four!

bogaTYR said:
i will show i am the best, i will prove i can do this.
Is this a criticism? Is showing you want to be the best a crime nowadays? Show me a driver that doesn't want to be the best and I'll show you one that isn't.


If Lewis Hamilton is not a racer, name a modern F1 driver who is more of a racer. Then I might listen.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
bogaTYR said:
but to call him a superstar?
Who called him a superstar? I didn't :s

there seems to be no thinking behind it.. at all.
In what way?
Can you elaborate on what you mean?

there was not a lot of chance he actually would make it to the finish the way he was handling them rubbers
Eh?
He was only half a lap away from the finish.
Seems to me he managed his tyes fine.

but ok. it seemed more like all his systems went crazy and he went into destruction mode. i will show i am the best, i will prove i can do this. and there was the wall. useless..
It's possible that due to following Button so closely that he lost downforce and that was the reason for his spin.
I think you're being unduly harsh by calling him "useless".

As has been said on this and many other forums, I'd rather watch someone who pushes all the way to the end at the risk of crashing out than the safe driver who's happy to sit behind someone for 20 laps and follow them home.

Still, each to their own.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
we will go next season for the win from race one to the last

maybe this has been posted here before but i did not see it. this is an interview with LH and some insights on whats going on at macca and what happened at monza. as expected, the tyres gave out. but he seems to be back to his old form.

strange though... 'if i was in WDC contention i would have slowed down (in monza ed) ands settled for points, but now i did not'. someone this sounds odd.

http://www.pitpass.com/src/movies/012.php
 
Top Bottom