Lewis Hamilton's driving

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Bernie Ecclestone has told the rest of the grid to stop whinging about Lewis Hamilton and to get on with racing.

In recent weeks Hamilton has come in for a lot of flak from both drivers and the public, first for his weaving in Malaysia which, while not strictly illegal, did earn him a warning.
The rule on weaving has subsequently been "tightened up", just as the one telling drivers to yield was after Spa 2008.

In yesterday's race he was criticised first of all for his pit lane entry, despite signalling to Vettel his intentions and which he could do little about due to him being on the inside and Vettel on the outside. He could of course have yielded the position to his rival but no racer would ever do that.

Then he was jumped on for his pit lane exit which was caused by an almost simultaneous release of both him and Vettel. Hamilton spun his wheels which meant he was slightly slower getting away and therefore ended up alongside Vettel.
Again, he possibly should have dropped in behind him but I'm not sure if this is possible when on the pit lane speed limiter?
Of far more importance was Vettel's deliberate swerve to the right which potentially could have resulted in serious consequences due to the personnel in the pit lane.
There is no rule against 2 cars travelling side by side down the pit lane so if Vettel had moved left and given him room then it would have been a non-issue instead of the dangerous situation it did become.

In the past he has been criticised by Mark Webber for being aggressive and forcing drivers onto the kerbs and grass, despite the fact that every driver does this, some even going so far as to punt them into the gravel, eh Mark?

He was also roundly slated for his safety car restart in Japan and yet yesterday we saw Button do exactly the same thing. Isn't it odd how none of the drivers and usual suspects have said anything about that?

Then there was Monza last year when he binned it on the last lap chasing Jenson Button for 2nd. It was said that he should have just settled for 3rd and yet one of the biggest criticisms is when drivers don't race and just circulate in single file.
Fernando Alonso did a similar thing in Malaysia trying to pass Jenson despite having a faulty gearbox which subsequently caused his engine to blow up. I don't recall seeing a similar level of criticism for that incident.

So does Hamilton deserve the criticism he gets as he crosses the line which other drivers don't?

Or, is it as Brundle suggested, he's just too quick/good and the other drivers (and fans) don't like it?

http://en.espnf1.com/china/motorsport/story/15013.html
 

snowy

Champion Elect
The fact is that if everyone agrees that there isn't enough overtaking in F1 and that it is boring, penalising everyone who attempts to make it interesting is really counter productive.

Lewis gets penalised a lot but if people actually took the time to examine what he does they would see that he is almost always deftly avoiding an accident. Apart from the brain fade in Canada he is almost always in complete control of his side of things. And making insanely accurate predictions of what his opposition is going to do.

Take for instance Fuji when he went into turn one apparently totally out of control with all wheels locked, he still managed to deftly avoid Kimi Raikkonen and made contact with no one! He was penalised and criticised because no one took the time to notice that Heikki had also gone in too hot and collided with Kimi.

Take for instance Spa where Kimi forced Lewis off the track, Lewis deftly avoided an accident that no other driver would have bothered to, unprompted gave the place back and proceeded to execute a superbly judged out braking manuvre into the next turn. Again Lewis was penalised for avoiding an accident, letting another driver past and then having the audacity to overtake!

The list of innanely stupid decisions and other driver's gripes against Lewis is so long that there are only two possible conclusions to draw from this:

1. The FIA do not want drivers to overtake one another and 2. Lewis's competitors are terrified by his talent and abilities.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
It is interesting to note that there are a number of drivers who are far less vocal and critical Lewis's conduct on the circuit. You rarely hear Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel berating him.

Is it my imagination or is it always just Mark Webber?!
 

snowy

Champion Elect
I apologise for reposting this from the other thread here but it really does make the most excellent reading and typifies the myths and misconceptions surrounding Lewis Hamilton:

Brogan said:
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.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I still don't see a problem with the Hammy/Petrov swerve. I've looked at it as much as the next man and I still believe Hammy was trying to prevent Petrov from getting a tow and not prevent him from passing. If you watch the incident when Hammy swerves Petrov follows. Now if he was swerving to avoid Petrov passing then surely it would be Petrov moves left or right then Hammy moves to cover and that would be a problem.

I think the pit lane entrance and exit issues are part of the same problem. Vettel must have been a bit cheesed off with his encounter with Hammy at the pitlane enterence and seemed determind not to give any room to Hammy on the way out. I think they were both released within a second or so of each other or at least at a time less than it would have been possible for the Mclaren lollypop man to judge weather it was safe to release Lewis or not. Having gone over footage a couple of times, they both slip and slide a bit but at the point where Vettel and Hamilton are more or less side by side, Hamilton is still angled towards the left side of the pitlane suggesting he is still exiting his pit box while Vettel is driving normally down the pits. At this point Hammy must see Vettel, turns to straigten the car and then has a bit of a slipping moment. Corrects that then holds station next to Vettel. Vettel does then appear to squeze Hammy across into the pit box areas. That was bloody stupid. The pit box area is normally smooth concrete and not a proper tarmac road like the racing line through the pits. Both cars had already slewed about on the slippery bits and it's a good job Hamilton didn't bin it into Vettel or someone elses garage.

I don't believe Hamilton or Alonso were right to tangle with other cars on the narrow pit lane entry slip, I do believe that Hammy and Vettel were released more or less at the same time but then Hamilton found himself alongside Vettel. Should he have given way? I don't think it would have been possible to be honest. Vettel should be given some sort of sanction (even if it's a warning) for pushing Hamilton across into the pit box area.

As a further aside, Hamilton also made that late entry in to the pits when he first came in for inters. That was a bit wild as well. The ironic thing is, if he hadn't done that he would have realised on the extra lap around that he didn't need to come in and perhaps the P1 would have been his not Buttons.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
cider_and_toast said:
As a further aside, Hamilton also made that late entry in to the pits when he first came in for inters. That was a bit wild as well. The ironic thing is, if he hadn't done that he would have realised on the extra lap around that he didn't need to come in and perhaps the P1 would have been his not Buttons.
Very good point, I forgot about that.

Do we know if it was a late team call or Hamilton's decision to come in for tyres?
Either way he was lucky to get away with it as he could quite easily have got stuck in the gravel, spun or crashed.

For all of Hamilton's faults and shortcomings though, I'd still rather watch him than most of the other drivers.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Brogan said:
Do we know if it was a late team call or Hamilton's decision to come in for tyres?
I pretty sure having watched the post race interviews that it was Hammys call to come in that late. He was some what sheepish about the incident admitting that it was a bit later than it needed to be.

I agree with you about watching exciting driving and you certainly get that from Hamilton.
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Ok then a few things have popped up here.

Snowy, you put up Hamiltons racing record for 07. and that he retired only once. Well actually in terms of the criticisms. that is perhaps pointless, as ive always thought a part of hamiltons criticisms was that he also got away with it.

As it happens a lot of Hamilitons driving as been what the likes of Michael Schumacher, Artyon Senna, Gilles Villeneuve and others would call tough driving. and others should be harder or suck it up.

As for the fuji penalty, while ive defended FIA penalties for Hamilton when he has stepped over the line (and he as done so) the Fuji penalty, and i think 2 others (feleipe Massa, short cutting the track i think, and Bourdais penalty for 'not letting somebody past') were all WTF moments. I think the stewards were smoking the good stuff that weekend.

Then there's Hamiltons pit entry, a little dodgy but a lot caused by the peculiar nature of China pit entry, Also its worth noting, that Alonso got a telling off in the stewards room if not exactly a reprimand.

And then there was Hamilton racing Vettel actually in the pits.

Now that was a disgrace, I dont know about the wheelspin problems, but after instead of trying to seemly pass Vettel in the pits he should of yeilded to Vettel. I remember as i saw it first time round thinking, God i hope nobody else is in the pitlane, If there was there would of been a truly horrible accident in the pitlane.

And if Hamiltion wants to be so blasé about it in the Press Conference then i think a nice little DQ would make Hamilton remember the incident, and also remember it for the future. It was completely and utterly disgusting and disgraceful to see, and would of put the lifes of any mechanic in danger if they were unfortunate enough to have a car in the pits at that time.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
So you don't consider Vettel to be at fault for forcing Hamilton back into the pit area once they were both alongside each other?

As I said, 2 cars abreast down the pit lane is perfectly legal and within the rules.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Motorsport is dangerous. Lewis could not possibly have overtaken Sebastian they were both on the limiter, all Lewis could do was continue down the pitlane next to Seb and at the exit attempt to come off the limiter earlier and brake later into turn one. Seb could of and perhaps should have given him racing room, instead he chose to squeeze which was his prerogative. Had there been more pitcrews and cars Lewis would perhaps have chosen to back off earlier than he did. Awareness of particular conditions and situations is what Lewis regularly exhibits and is evidenced by his stats, successful overtakes and aborted overtakes.
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Well Brogan this is the 'Lewis Hamilton's driving' thread lol. But yes Vettel was also out of order for that too.

Although again, hamilton should not of been there in the first place. He should of backed off.

I would give Vettel a 10 place drop for the next race. If it wasn't for rules Brundle pointed out. I would of just given Vettel a 25 second penalty. also perhaps with a Warning of a DQ that i would give hamilton if Vettel ever pulled the same trick again.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Certain drivers do get a reputation, whether deserved or not. Lewis possibly suffers as much from the unpleasant business at Melbourne last year as for anything he has done on track. And of course, if you are beating other drivers on a regular basis - particularly making committed, robust moves that make them look silly - they are bound to get upset with you.

Ultimately I judge each case on its own merits. I can recall two incidents at Monza in 2008 when he pushed drivers on to the grass exiting chicanes - one was Webber, I don't remember the other. I thought then, and still think, that was not a good example to be setting anyone; perhaps a 2010-style reprimand would have been warranted. Similarly in Sepang with Petrov, I understand that he wasn't intending to block, but that was the result, whether intended or not. Real racers don't swerve across the track to maintain position, do they? I wouldn't have said so. So I'm pleased that that has been cleared up.

On the other hand, if two cars are running side-by-side in the pitlane, that tells me that a lollipop man has messed up somewhere. Hamilton is constrained by the rev limiter as regards how he returns to the fast lane, so any penalty should be directed more to the team(s) than the driver(s), IMO (notwithstanding that Vettel was a very silly boy).

But as I say, each case must be assessed independently. Forceful driving is not a crime and should be encouraged, within safe limits of course.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Galahad said:
I can recall two incidents at Monza in 2008 when he pushed drivers on to the grass exiting chicanes - one was Webber, I don't remember the other. I thought then, and still think, that was not a good example to be setting anyone
Don't all drivers do that though?
We saw it on Sunday I think against Massa who was trying to take Schumacher on the outside of a bend and Schumcher just drifted wide pushing Massa off the circuit.
Alonso did the same to Hamilton in Brazil 2008.

Similarly in Sepang with Petrov, I understand that he wasn't intending to block, but that was the result, whether intended or not. Real racers don't swerve across the track to maintain position, do they? I wouldn't have said so. So I'm pleased that that has been cleared up.
I agree that swerving in that manner was ultimately a way of preventing Petrov from getting a tow which would then have possibly put Petrov in a position to make a pass.
As you say, it's good that it has now been cleared up and as we saw in China, the racing is all the better for it due to the number of passes that were made on the long straight.
I wonder how many drivers regretted complaining about that after the race :D

On the other hand, if two cars are running side-by-side in the pitlane, that tells me that a lollipop man has messed up somewhere. Hamilton is constrained by the rev limiter as regards how he returns to the fast lane, so any penalty should be directed more to the team(s) than the driver(s), IMO (notwithstanding that Vettel was a very silly boy).
If you watch the video replay, the McLaren guy is watching Red Bull and in the instant he turns to signal it's OK to release Hamilton, Vettel is released.
I think it's about 1 second or less between releases so I don't think you can really account for that can you?
I suspect this is why the FIA were so lenient in issuing warnings rather than penalties of any sorts.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Brogan said:
Galahad said:
I can recall two incidents at Monza in 2008 when he pushed drivers on to the grass exiting chicanes - one was Webber, I don't remember the other. I thought then, and still think, that was not a good example to be setting anyone
Don't all drivers do that though?
We saw it on Sunday I think against Massa who was trying to take Schumacher on the outside of a bend and Schumcher just drifted wide pushing Massa off the circuit.
Alonso did the same to Hamilton in Brazil 2008.
I know, and again it's because of things like this that there can't be hard and fast rules. The Monza incidents were high-speed, in the wet with little grip, and I had visions of cars spinning across the front of the chasing pack. For me, gently pushing someone wide on the exit of a slow hairpin is not the same sort of deal at all - but I understand that the principle is the same. It's just a matter of degree.

Brogan said:
Galahad said:
On the other hand, if two cars are running side-by-side in the pitlane, that tells me that a lollipop man has messed up somewhere. Hamilton is constrained by the rev limiter as regards how he returns to the fast lane, so any penalty should be directed more to the team(s) than the driver(s), IMO (notwithstanding that Vettel was a very silly boy).
If you watch the video replay, the McLaren guy is watching Red Bull and in the instant he turns to signal it's OK to release Hamilton, Vettel is released.
I think it's about 1 second or less between releases so I don't think you can really account for that can you?
I suspect this is why the FIA were so lenient in issuing warnings rather than penalties of any sorts.
I must admit I haven't seen the replay. If cars are released simultaneously then the one with the garage in front should get out ahead, but I suppose there is wheelspin etc. to be taken into account. I don't know what can be done - only that they won't be racing each other down the pitlane at Monaco, for sure!
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
Brogan said:
So you don't consider Vettel to be at fault for forcing Hamilton back into the pit area once they were both alongside each other?

As I said, 2 cars abreast down the pit lane is perfectly legal and within the rules.
I have to agree. No car should be crossing the blue and white hatched area and Vettel should have given Hamilton sufficient room that he did not need to. It's meant to be a "safe" area for the mechanics, after all.

The cars cannot "race" in the pit lane, since they are speed limited, so once they are side by side, they'll stay that way until out on the track proper.
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
If anyone should have been punished for the pit lane incident, it should have been Vettel for one of the most dangerous and shocking moves I've seen for a very long time in F1. It is not Hamilton who was reckless in this case, it was the supposedly faster Red Bullock driver.

Lewis can be impetuous and aggressive, but his talent usually lets him get away with moves others would struggle with. It was good to see him congratulating Jense stright away and shows that he does respect his team mate this year.

Also glad to see Jense is doing what I said he would.. :D
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Alonso on Hamilton exit of turn one at Spa. Alonso on Hamilton going into Eau Rouge are two examples of where Lewis has been made critically aware of what is permissable on an F1 circuit.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
When you see that, Brogan, the more you see how disgusting that piece of driving by Vettel is. Pit crews use that area, not good!
 
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