When did the Hamilton backlash start?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Fuji Speedway, 2007 | Daimler ChryslerLewis Hamilton is now looking at a serious chance to win the championship in the next two races.

Although he’s been hailed for bringing a new generation of fans to the sport (particularly in Britain), there’s growing criticism of the McLaren driver in some quarters.

Here’s a sample of some of the remarks made about Hamilton on this blog – what do you think of them, and what do you think of Hamilton?

Hamilton has been spoon fed with McLaren’s silver spoon ever since he first sat in a go-kart. No other driver EVER has had the personalized training Hammy has got, most have to fend for themselves, some even have to bring MONEY, most start in a Minardi like team ??????.. and oddly there are times when one can see Hamilton doesn’t fully appreciate what McLaren have done for him. He’s a good driver as he’s been well trained, but deep INSIDE he’s still a ?????ǣsnotty kid??????.

Number 38 Click link to view full original comment in context

I find it hard to believe that there are so many people who think that Lewis is one of the best drivers ever – he isn’t even the best driver on the grid. I can think of at least 4 or 5 current drivers who are more talented than he is.


Hamilton has turned into a similar brat.


Hamilton is a snotty geek


LH now seems to be the only man to have messed up in Hungarian Qualifying, and Alonso has bore the brunt of that in the British press.
Hamiltons credibility is the only thing in question.For example – he apologised to Alonso for qualifying, and Alonso says he had nothing to apologise for, (LH gained from his own wrong doing)
He is not happy living in Britain with the high taxation, and is gonna move outta the country, and he is blaming it on the press for making accusations regarding his love life.
He is at all costs trying to preserve his ‘image’.
There is certainly nothing worse in this life than a liar. If you are in the wrong LH, be a man and say so??????.a quality of Alonso..say it like it is.

Alonso at least can say it like it is??????.maybe LH should learn from him.

LH does not deserve to be World Champion??????


I realise debates of this sort can get a little heated (see the comment policy for terms and restrictions and contact me in the event of any objections), so let me make a few qualifying remarks.

Firstly, I’m not at all interested in trying to persuade people to like Hamilton. I just want to know who out there has decided they do like Hamilton, and who’s come to the opposite conclusion, and why. For instance, does the enormous amount of media coverage he gets turn people against him?

I’m also interested to know when. For example, a fair few people were put off by what he did at the Hungaroring (refusing to let Alonso past at the start of qualifying), and I must admit he went down in my estimations then too.

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69 comments on “When did the Hamilton backlash start?”

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  1. I like him. He’s slightly cocky at times (but in a good way I think) he’s sort of saying “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”. He seems to be a “character” which is refreshing too.

    Not letting Alonso past on the track (despite some team orders) is fine in my book. There shouldn’t be team orders apparently, and Q3 is basically the first part of the race as far as I can tell.

    But yes I too felt he’d been a bit silly. But when he sang “rise above it” from the movie cool runnings in an interview with Steve Rider I immediately liked him for it. It was a very cheesy thing to say but it reminded me that he’s young and inexperienced and also quite a funny guy.

    I would trade his pre-race comments for most others. I’ve never seen another driver say to Martin “I’m going try and take them on the first corner, but if I can’t do that there’s a good chance into turns 4 and 5.” Most other drivers would keep that to themselves. He doesn’t care, he wants the rest – the establishment – to know he’s coming for them.

  2. for me it was back in May this year, post monaco.

    it was about that time that i realised the persona presented to the media wasn’t the true character of the guy. i quickly got sick of silly comments like:

    “I’ve got number two on my car. I am the number two driver.”

    you could argue that drivers should be different animals when inside the car, but as you mentioned above, my initial concerns were bore out during hungary qualifying and everything that followed – like the way he tried to backtrack on swearing at ron (just be a man and admit you’re not perfect, sheesh), he’s so concerned about his perceived image it’s pathetic.

    i think sunday’s antics behind safety cars (dangerous driving, then complaining to race control that cars behind were too close), is further evidence of the hypocrisy of the man.

    i don’t think he’ll be a “great british champion”, in the mould of someone like mansell. rather a “selfish champion” in the mould of schumi.

    i’m not questioning his driving ability. i just don’t have any desire to support him.

  3. Hamilton fan
    2nd October 2007, 8:37

    i think he a fantastic driver and a supreme talent whos come under alot of pressure this year because he;s come in and made the establised drivers look silly!

    deserves the tittle this year!

  4. I like Lewis, too. Yes, he’s had his silly moments (like that at the Hungaroring), but they are nothing compared to what Alonso has done (mostly his Stepneygate activities, but also his actions at the Hungaroring, and to a lesser extent, Nurburgring post-podium and Spa start).

    Why do I like Lewis? Maybe it’s because he reminds me so much of Michael Schumacher. He’s insanely talented, insanely quick, and someone who has full respect for everyone in the team. He doesn’t like them all, for sure, but he has respect for what they do. With all due respect to Number 38, I do think Lewis appreciates what McLaren has done for him (ever since he was 6!), and that’s why he’s said on a number of occasions that he doesn’t want to leave McLaren. We don’t know yet if he will indeed stay, but if he does, there is true loyalty.

    I think the Lewis backlash began at Monaco, when he complained against the use of team orders. I think that wasn’t particularly wise (considering he could’ve voiced that out internally), but it shows that he is a racer, and he has that urge to win.

    KB, we can’t assume that Lewis will leave Britain because of taxes. The paparazzi there are indeed a mess – ask Kate Middleton. In fact, his father said they’ll probably stay there for the time being. And if there’s one thing I hate about Alonso, it’s that he’s paranoid about what’s going on around him. And he talks too much about it. He isn’t saying it like it is, he’s just – whining. He’s a very, very good driver, make no mistake – but I just don’t like him off-track.

    Rohan, Lewis isn’t one of the best ever – yet. Give him 5 years (and 3 titles) to get there. Best on the grid? He’s on the same level now as Kimi and Alonso, but it will take a season or two more to surpass them.

  5. I like Lewis, always have done. I like his confidence (which some people percieve as a very unBritish “cockiness” – something our sportsmen should NEVER have – they’ve got to be humble and rubbish), I like his enthusiasm, I like his positive attitude. I like the fact that, on his qualifying lap at Fuji, you could see his helmet bobbing forward on the pit straight as he seemed to be willing his car to go faster. I like the fact he started playing the old mind games with Alonso before the Japanese Grand Prix.
    I guess that there are a lot of noses that have been put out of joint by the fact he’s been on McLaren’s payroll since he was an embryo, that some people operating out of the back of a Ford Mondeo estate have been karting against the seemingly bottomless pockets of Ron Dennis. (Having said that, as a karter Button was always regarded with jealousy/contempt for the fact he always seemed to have the best equipment and the most financial backing).
    The plain fact of the matter is, if Lewis Hamilton was an average driver he wouldn’t be leading the driver’s championship. If he was an average driver he wouldn’t have shown Alonso the way home in North America. Kovaleinen showed how a rookie “should” behave in his first year in a top-level team – overdriving, throwing it off the track, making mistakes, but he has learned and improved as the year has gone on. Lewis has been on it from the first race.
    As for Mansell being a “great British Champion” – he was a constant pain in the backside with his incessant whingeing and whining when everything wasn’t perfect. Even when he was in the most dominant car in 1992 and had lapped the whole field up to his team-mate he would still moan that his race was difficult. I’d argue that we haven’t had a great British Champion since Jackie Stewart.
    It’s about time that Britain had a winning F1 driver with the sort of confidence-bordering-on-arrogance, steel, nerve and outright single-minded determination of Senna & Schumacher. (I often wonder how British sports fans – & the media in particular – would regard Senna & Schumacher if they were British – would they applaud their efforts or deride them because the way they behaved on track just wasn’t cricket, old boy). Lewis fits the bill in my book.
    If he were Italian, German or Brazilian we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

  6. sidepodcast, just saw your post now. Indeed, he’s not the friendly boy next door. But I don’t really mind. Everyone wants to have a good image, he just hasn’t been particularly good in managing it. But he’s just a kid, and that will come in time.

    I respect your dislike of him, it’s just that I don’t think any driver is that much better than Lewis in this area.

  7. I’m biased, since I’m have been an Alonso fan since he started at Minardi, and right now it looks like the little brat will keep him from his third title. Fair enough, because LH has been the most consistent driver in the field, with the ever important margins on his side.

    The media has played it’s role in my dislike for him. I subscribe to F1 Racing, and when you always get his face on the cover you get tired of him. It’s very impressive to win in your rookie year, but not everybody gets to drive the best car in the field, while being the team bosses golden child.

    I also think his comments are bade. He wasn’t even close to winning in Monaco, but still he whined about being denied the victory because of strategy. But lately he has become a lot worse. His comments about his team mate has been a lot worse than vice versa.

  8. Their comments really remind me a lot of Prost and Senna. That started in 1989. The feud didn’t end until 1993! In those days, it’s either you go for Prost or Senna, no 2 ways about it.

    20 years later, history is about to repeat itself.

  9. I rate him as a driver and the point is it’s not HIM I don’t like as such its the enormous amount of media coverage that he DOES get that riles me.

    I’ve watched F1 since 1994 and never have I seen such bias in ITV’s coverage when it came to a British driver.. Murray was NEVER that bad when it came to Damon. Okay so Hill didn’t win his first title in his first year as it now appears that Lewis will but even so..

    The thing about Lewis is, to me, he comes across as being fake.. a machine. almost too perfect for his own good that he can’t do no wrong. Instances like calling backmarkers “monkeys” and continually griping about the Spa incident (what incident ?) and the fact that he instigated the whole Hungary qualifying saga and no one but Alonso gets the blame, well…

    I think he’s had it easy in F1 ..coming to the best team on the grid where others have to languish in Minardi-type teams for sometimes years before they get a break well he has had it easy hasn’t he ?

    I just cant warm to the guy no matter how I try. And the British medias coverage and hype surrounding him is sometimes nauseating especially ITV’s coverage…I almost now look forward to the Winter break so I wont have to hear the waffle coming from James Allen or see the twinkle in Steve Riders eye get bigger every time he mentions “Bri’ains Lewis ‘amilton”.
    In 2007 its not been about F1 its all been about Lewis and if he’s staying at McLaren for another 5 years as rumours suggest then I may have to stop watching F1 altogether…

  10. F1 is not a popularity contest, it is one of the most fiercely competitive sports today. In a season dogged by controversy the performance of Hamilton has shone through. He has shown consummate driving skill and been prepared to make manouevres and race which few others on the grid ever contemplate. A grid made up of Coulthard, Raikkonen, Ralf, Fisichella race-alikes, gimme a break.

    So we now not only expect him to be a great racer but also completely user friendly for the press no doubt performing photo stunts and recording anodyne interviews. Leave Hamilton alone – cheer him as a star or boo him as a 220mph panto villain, you pays your money….

    For me – one of the best things to come into F1 for years.

  11. A lot of these comments pretty much sum up how I feel. I don’t hate the guy, he’s a fantastic driver, but he’s massively hyped, and honestly I’m kind of weary of it, and it’s only going to get even worse if he takes the title.

  12. I am one of those who dislike Hamilton, and it’s for a number of reasons.

    The dislike started at the second or third race when ITV devoted their whole pre-race show to Lewis. This for a driver who had yet to win a race. I guess my initial dislike was tus driven by a sort of rebellion against ITV’s unjustified devotion to Hamilon.

    However, the reasons for this dislike changed at Monaco when Lewis smugly described the drivers at the back of the grid as monkeys. Note he has still not apologised for this.

    Furthermore, I cannot see why people are so eager to bracket him with the likes of Senna, Schumi and Clark. He is not that good. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a good driver, but then so is amost everyone who has ever driven an F1 car. He just isn’t the driver with the most ability in F1 atm (imo Kimi, Alonso, Nico, Massa and Heidfeld are all better than him at this point in time).

    Also, his comments about Webber getting his comeuppance were in incredibly bad taste – Webber was going faster than Hamilton before the safety car came out and could have been on for his first win. Indeed, it seems that Hamilton himself may have been a major cause of that incident as he braked dramatically, causing Vettel to divert his attention towards Hamilton and away from Webber.

    I would like to end by saying that if Hamilton continues to drive exceptionally, and perhaps win races in cars that would otherwise not be capable of winning (just as Senna and Schumi did; hell, even Trulli came close to winning in an underperforming Prost, and no-one is describing him as a great), then I would be more than willing to change my opinion of him.

  13. You cannot fairly say that Alonso whinges but not Hamilton. True, Alonso has been very abrupt sometimes (e.g. saying he had nobody to thank when he was in Renault), but McLaren’s troubles started at Monaco because of Hamilton’s complaints. (Alonso in fact is disliked A LOT in Spain because of such statements).

    Hungary was not good for Hamilton’s case, as Daveo points out.

    Spa too was a non-issue, Hamilton knows it and he comes off as hypocritical when he complains about it.

    Playing the team (and the media) against your teammate isn’t nice. There’s something more disturbing about the way Hamilton talked in Japan than either have talked before. I clearly remember Alonso complaining that he never got the best car when he was with Trulli, but that was an issue he had with Briatore. There was whinging and it was all out in the open, but there was no assault directly on the teammate.

    Slightly off-topic, but you have to admit that Hungary was THE coolest for a driver to say “Don’t f**k with me” on the track (that is, if it was all Alonso’s doing…), EVEN if it meant being put back on the grid. Watching it live and seeing the clock ticking was one of the most exciting moments in F1 I can remember.

  14. ade, i’ll give you mansell was a whinger. although according to Max, Jackie is a “halfwit”, so maybe i’ll go with Hunt instead?

    reading the comments above, i’d like to throw my hat into the ring for – “ITV’s obsession with Hamilton has ruined my enjoyment of the sport”. nowadays i skip the race build up and listen to commentary from FiveLive.

  15. sidepodcast – I’m reluctant to listen to anything that comes out of Mad Max’s gob (and I suspect his poor “halfwit” jibe is aimed at JYS’s dyslexia more than anything else), but I reckon you’re on the money with James Hunt – what a guy!

  16. I would agree that in their enthusiasm to promote him (and increase viewing figures), ITV have done the opposite in my eyes and actually put me off him.

    As far as the racing goes, there can’t really be many complaints about his driving – yes he has been lucky enough to have probably the most reliable McLaren ever, and a car which is usually the fastest on track but he has also driven it very well.

    Out of the car though, he comes across as being a right numpty. My other half who doesn’t follow F1 very closely heard his post-race interview on the radio on Sunday and immediately tutted and called him a big-headed so-and-so. Putting himself up there with Senna and Prost was a stupid thing to do.

    Comparisons should be done by other people, you certainly shouldn’t do it yourself!

    So really, in the car I think he’s a good driver but as a complete package I’m afraid I’ll never be a fan.

  17. I am not sure if any of you actually met Hamilton. I was lucky enough to have met him earlier this year. I could see his out-of-the-car side, and the guy really impressed me … Then Hungary came, and the picture was not that rosy any more… So now, while I do not dislike Hamilton at all, I am not exactly his fan. If I should choose from 2 McLaren drivers, I would prefer Hamilton to win the title, but Kimi would be the one I would choose from all 3 still in the game for the title.

    To be fair to Hamilton – there is no way to survive in F1 without being selfish and arrogant at least a bit. All depends how far are you ready to take it. Even if he drives for McLaren for years to come and there is no guarantee, he will have chance to fight for the title again… Look how many seasons Kimi stayed in McLaren without title. Check when was the last time McLaren actually won the title … This was his chance, he decided to grab it and go for it…

  18. the little boy only wants to win, i dont have a problem with that, and it should be admired unlike a few drivers who are happy to play number two or assistant, he is willing to work hard and be successful.

    the incident in hungary was just unfortunate, if u notice hamiltons drive throughout the season, he always is first to set a time in Q2 so he can get back to the pits and be ready for Q3, thats why he ends up at the front of the qualifying order when leaving the pits, yes he did wrong at the time, but his explanation was logical..a ferrari was right behind and he didnt want to lose a position to a ferrari.

    some people say he should first have driven a minardi or an uncompetitive car first. and i ask to prove what? people start at the back so they will be discovered, he was discovered at the age of 10, he was already committed at the age of 10, so why should he go back and drive a minardi when he is ready for the real thing.

    despite the backing of ron dennis, it wasnt all smooth sailing, he had to work hard make sacrifices, and his family too, it wasnt all free stuff, he had to deliver, even micheal shumacher was developed by mecedes too only not from so early an age, i dont see people complaining about that.

    the biggest problem hamilton has really, is the press, the british press are monsters, they are often not in touch with reality and its damaging this little boys image, they did it when irvan was at ferrari, did the same thing when sato was with button, and so many other times u had a british driver paired with someone else, the only thing then was that their drivers werent so good, but this time they really have a top driver so u can understand their madness, and i think it comes from and inferiority complex…i so wish hamilton wasnt british

    the british press are great at inventing stuff and scenarios, and they damage frienships and morale in a team, i doubt u will see and english driver at ferrari any time soon.

    hamiltons consistency frightens lot of people, and when did he ever behave selfishly, we are all outsiders we dont know what goes on inside the teams, so it would be stupid to come to a conclusion based on what we hear from someone else(press), cause u never know the motives of the press,

    hamilton got on well with alonso at the beginning, it was alonso who started all this he is being favoured nonsense, and thats where everything collapsed. i like alonso but he has not acted properly but his problems didnt start from inside the team, it started from the press

  19. i wonder why people hold on to the swearing comment supposedly made by hamilton, to be honest, i think it was invented by a journalist, it wont be the first time and it wont be the last time it happens, especially in this age of online news papers and garage journalism, rumours spread like wild fires and soon become fact, just because u see it in a lot of headlines. and believe me, ron dennis i know, would have kicked him out of that car if he ever said something like that, trust me

  20. LH is the F1 golden kid and is definitely favorised in his team and by FIA on track, what is of course irritating, but the question is what will happen in the next few seasons. He may become a podium resident/winner/champ or share the fate of JV or likes. After falling from such a high stool he may not return to the top. Cuts both ways as life:-)

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