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?”

  1. i agree with daveo, the itv coverage is bordering on obsession the only 1 who doesnt seen biased towards lewis is martin brundle, he calls everything down the middle and im a big fan of his. itv’s coverage i think is the main reason for peoples dislike of lewis. the problem with the british press is they celebrate mediocrity, e.g. tim henman. i think leweis is the best british driver for years i just really hope the hype doesnt get to him. hes going to win this years tittle and i look forward to another battle with alonso next year. an lets all hope that the fia drop this stupid race fuel qualifying so the races dont get nearly ertainly dec ided after qualifying!

    also james allen compared his drive sunday toi that of senna donnington 93, schumacher barcelona 96, no way, james allen is a terrible commentator!

    go lewis

  2. Regarding the swearing comment, the Daily Mail and Times were the first to run the story – the other papers covered it after they did. McLaren later strongly denied that Hamilton had used any swear words – they didn’t say that anyone else hadn’t.

    Read into that what you will…

  3. not quite true keith. mclaren later strongly denied that Hamilton had used *one* particular swear word. the press release read:

    “The team have investigated this claim and reviewed the radio transmissions and we can categorically confirm that Lewis did not use the ‘F word’ at any time during any conversation with the team.”

    they never, for one second, claimed that he didn’t swear at all.

  4. On Race day Lewis is clearly the best. His accuracy and diligence is what makes him Championship worthy. But if you ask me who worked for the championship harder between the two Mc Laren drivers, I would have to go for Alonso.

    Hiekki in a recent newspaper column wrote that Lewis deserves the WDC but he must also realize that it was possible mostly coz of Alonso’s presence in the team.

    I personally feel the biggest rookie mistake he has done this year has been “asking the team to get rid of Alonso” in the Japanese race weekend.

    Next year without the Spaniard, Lewis will surely have some hard lessons on the way.

  5. Yes, Hamilton has had major backing from McLaren since he was 8. And Hamilton may have the most reliable (and in most cases) fastest car on the grid. But he’s beaten Massa already, Raikkonen and Alonso may go the same way too.
    His talent behind the wheel cannot be questioned, its amazing.
    He does come off as abit arrogant like Schumi, but I see that as a good quality, its good to have a mean strike, makes it more interesting.

    The only thing that annoys me is ITV obsession with Lewis. As many have said, Martin Brundle is the saving grace in that program, as he is the only one that doesn’t have any bias towards the guy, and sees Lewis for what he really is.
    An example of this was at Fuji, when Hamilton was leading behind the safety car and playing around with the field abit too much. James Allen immediately leapt up commenting on Lewis’ supreme race-craft and tactics. Martin Brundle stayed silent, presumably unimpressed, seeing the behaviour (considering the torrid conditions) as dangerous, as many others did.

    But as nausating as ITVs obsession is, considering the following: Britain haven’t had a champion since 1996, and the hopes for another champion since then have hinged on Jenson Button and David Coulthard, who haven’t delivered. You can’t really blame ITV for milking Hamilton’s success.

  6. I’m really impressed with all your complains about ITV’s coverage… It couldn’t be more natural, as you in Britain are waiting for a great driver for so long, since, as you said, Hill was fine, Mansell was a fighter, but none of them were Senna or Schumacher or Prost likes…
    Here in Brazil Globo TV was betting Alonso would take the tittle, until the DNF in Fuji. Up to there, they were all saying “Hamilton is a rookie and one day he’ll make a mistake”. When he had that huge crash at Nurburgring, Galvao Bueno started saying, before knowing the cause, that “one day that would end up happening”, and the accident wasn’t his fault anyway!

    The point is, you shouldn’t mind what the press says, one way or another… For example, brazilian press destroyed Rubens’ self-esteem, because he himself thought he could fill the void left by Senna…

    We are a fortunate generation, since we have the internet and many foreign televisions to watch anything we want, so we’re not hostages of the mainstream TV channels anymore…

    By the way, even if it is in Portuguese, you should take a look at Globo International, since it has no advert breaks during the race, in fact they have some adverts every 15 minutes, on the top of the screen, but they doesn’t interrupt the transmission…

  7. I have a couple problems with The Ham that I didn’t have with The Shu, although there are a lot of things that make them similar. My first problem is all the snobby comments that he makes and then tries to back out of, if you said it you said it, theres nothing wrong with not getting along with someone, but using the press is the wrong way of doing it.

    Secondly, Shu worked his way through the ranks, he was ruthless and uncompromising, but he had this fire about him, Lewis seems to be expecting things to go his way, and when they don’t he gets childish. The Shu’s attitude didn’t change on the podium, he didn’t give these cryptic insults.

    Finally, he only began to get cocky after winning a couple of races, its like he was very humbled at first and then as soon as he started winning he got a huge head and thinks hes the best. Get over yourself, go drive a crappy car for a couple of years like Button and realize what its like to struggle for every point. Its true that people are making a huge deal out of his championship run, if you put any other promising driver in the best car on the grid and he would be in breaking records.

  8. On the swearing thing, I thought it was interesting the natural way that Lewis said, “oh shoot” in the post race interview.

    Maybe he’s one of those people who substitutes for swear words with similar sounding other words. Perhaps he said something that sounded like the “F”-word on the radio, some people thought it was the “F”-word and it ended up in the press, but after they checked back he didn’t swear.

    Just a thought, seems unlikely, but it might have happened.

  9. When asked who do I want to win the championship Alonso or Hamilton I say McLaren because its the most reliable car on the grid this year (esp. compared to last years car) and the irony is they wont be winning the WCC this year anyway.. so who should win the title? I think whoever designed the car should!

  10. I am one who doesn’t like Lewis Hamilton because I don’t like his attitude towards racing. I find him a bit dull tbh, don’t know why, but I find him dull.

    I don’t think he deserves he championship tbh. Kimi deserves it the most.

  11. Why on earth do people find it acceptable to refer to lewis Hamilton as “the little brat” or “spoilt”? There is a reason he is in that McLaren, there is a reason he is leading the World Championship (and has been for most of the season). He has had a lot of money spent on him, but then so have many of the drivers. Alonso, Webber, and Fisi all had a slice of Flavio’s billions, and many drivers have benefited from the Red Bull money pot.

    Sure, other drivers have started in more junior teams, but they would have all jumped into that McLaren if they had the chance, and furthermore, Hamilton is outperforming most of these more experienced drivers (most of whom are only in their early to mid-twenties anyway so perhaps they are all spoilt little brats?)

    Lewis has simply been the best racer this year. Some of you folks should just get over yourselves and realize that pretty much nothing that comes out of the mouths of any of them means a thing because it’s mostly all PR driven drivel. I would argue that Lewis is simply breaking free from some of those PR constraints and being far more honest than we’ve seen from a McLaren driver for years. I want my first British champion in 11 years to be a bad ass, double-world-champion stomping, ferrari bad-mouthing, petulant, cocky, SUPERSTAR!

    There isn’t a driver in the field who has done a better job behind the wheel this year, and I look forward to the Lewis and Fernando show with nearly as much relish as I watched the Senna and Prost show back in the day.

    My advice to anyone is to switch on the TV 2 minutes before the start so you miss the ITV drivel (why an hours build up and only 2 minutes analysis at the end?), don’t bother reading any of the British newspapers (none of which seem to have attended an F1 race), and try to remember that the most important stuff happens on the track.

  12. Obviously, being groomed by McLaren he’s been taught the words to use and speak, but whenever I hear him talk I get the feeling he’s not sincere. Every driver pays tribute to their team for winning, and for someone who’s spent so long in a team he does, but his “I’m happy for the team” and “the team did a fantastic job today” always seem to hit me as empty.

    I do not like his “I’m not thinking about the championship” remarks, amongst others, when he so obviously is. Just bloody say it, you always refer to the points difference, you’re hardly thinking about coconuts are you. Any driver in F1 worth his pedals would be.

    Like James B, I find him dull – I can’t really, concretely, substatiate it. It’s just the feeling I get from him. McLaren seem to be good at introducing real boring drivers these days. I guess on track he’s more exciting, which is what counts…

    I don’t dismiss his talents whatsoever, but I’m already bored of the Lewis Hamilton story. It actually makes me want Alonso to win it just to shut people up. Then again, the amount of moaning that would bring from the LH camp would be equally insufferable to the current hype.

    Everything about Hamilton – the driver, the hype, the ITV coverage is here to stay for a while….possibly longer. And I will still keep watching – I’m more interested to see how he will develop because this is how people will learn to love drivers. Not based on solely accomplishments, but how they’ve gone around doing it. So far, it’s been dull.

  13. Tiger Woods had to put up with the same rhetoric.

    Yes, Lewis Hamilton was raised to race Formula 1. Yes, that brings with it an attitude that won’t sit well with everyone. Yes, Lewis Hamilton used foul language on the radio. I saw an exhibition male/female partners golf match where the competitors were wearing microphones, Tiger was not having a good day, and his words were absolutely not fit for television. (That’s what they get for not airing it on delay.)

    Lewis Hamilton really is that good. It bothers me that it seems he goes straight to his father every time he does something, but then again, Tiger Woods was like that too.

    I wish the Japanese rain hadn’t made the championship such an anticlimax, but as Speed TV in USA’s prerace montage put it, Japan is good for an awkward twist. Furthermore, however unlikely it sounds, there is still quite a chance that Hamilton’s car might break while in China and keep things interesting. Then again, maybe not.

  14. It’s not LH himself, it’s the mad intolerant rampant hype that’s followed him around and produced mad intolerant rampant fans who don’t get the idea of racing and F1.

  15. Mostly, everyone seems to agree that McLaren are fair to their drivers. Monaco was absolutely fine, you don’t race your team-mate after the second pitstop in Monaco. I started disliking Hamilton with his accusations that the team was favouring Alonso.

    Two, Hungaroring. He was the one who messed up the team strategy there – and Alonso took the flak and lost the points. I am not a McLaren fan, but I believe that Ron Dennis is fair to the drivers as much as they can. And Hamilton screwed with the team strategy. Alonso’s reaction is a separate issue. For me, Hamilton started this entire dirty fighting with his refusal to move over for Alonso which was the agreed upon team strategy. I could forgive the whining at Monaco, I could not tolerate the way his actions led to Mclaren and Alonso losing points.

    I have strong dislike for Alonso too for his whining – but that’s not what this post is about…

  16. I suspect that the people who say that any driver would have won the WC in a McLaren this years are the same ones who gives excuses such as “oh he is a rookie, he is only learning” whenever Heiki or Vettel makes a mistake. Come on that’s plain double standard.

    There are so many good drivers who have failed to capitalize on their chances in a top team: Rubens, Coulthard, Fisichella, Ralf, Button, Kimi and Massa springs to mind, some of them still have a second chance, for others time is running out. Obviously not anyone can do it, no matter if they are experienced or not. Let’s put it like this: if anyone else drove for McLaren this year alongside Alonso, the only one who I’d give a 50-50 chance to beat him is Kimi.

  17. fans seem pretty upset about Hungary on the above comments. i myself have a hard time sympathising with FA, a guy who won his first championship when MS had crap tyres, and Kimi blew up in first place however many times, then jumps out of his quick, reliable Renault and exclaims “I do it myself!” This rookie class, and the one taking his crown, is just what the ‘sport’ needed.

    ps. Bernie, good luck with your 2 Spanish GPs next year!

  18. Jian:

    Rubens, Coulthard, Fisichella, and Massa were all #2 drivers and accepted that role, thats why I have respect for them, they got paid to do a job and they did it. Lets face it, Buttons BAR was never going to compete for a championship. Kimi just doesn’t have the luck of The Ham (AKA a pigs ass) or he would have won at least one title. F1 is about skill and luck, one Lewis gained through hard work the other one he gained well, by being lucky….

    And then theres Ralph….. hes just Ralph

  19. just to add fuel to the fire, love to hear your thoughts on Hamilton after watching this YouTube clip:


  20. Ali AydoÄŸan
    2nd October 2007, 22:59

    I did not like Lewis from the beginning. Yes he is very talented, ultra-educated and deserves the title if he wins it.

    But I feel he is playing the nice guy (my possibly biassed opinion), his words in Monaco were the moment where his relationship cracked with Alonso, not a perfect teamplayer blaming his own TEAM in press conference!!And that brought McLaren an investigation.

    He said he “tricked Massa out” in Sepang, which was not kind at least, but he still plays a nice guy, smiles the other podium finishers, hits them on shoulder..Maybe he can say “I fooled him” next time.

    He was the one who fired the Hungaroring incident, by violating the agreement within TEAM about extra lap, when it was Alonso’s turn. Then going to stewards and complaining about the Alonso’s action, which costed his TEAM a possible 18 points after a second investigation in the season!!An interesting TEAMplayer!!!

    After Alonso had better performances in the second half of the season, and especially after Spa incident, he spoke several times about his teammate, complained about Alonso’s move, similar to which himself previously delivered to other drivers especially in starts.

    He spoke much about Alonso being involved in Stepney-gate, but did not say a word about his benefits of that data by the share of telemetry and set-up.

    He was just another person in McLaren, who wanted us to believe it was Alonso-DeLaRosa-Coughlan who did it all. Alonso and DeLaRosa are so gifted that they can design and produce a brake system like Ferrari’s???If so, why didnt McLaren appeal?I just dont believe it.

    I pretty much believe(biassed again) Hamilton pretends to be a teamplayer and wants people to think so. Alonso was at least honest, when he said WDC meant more to him than WCC, whereas Hamilton succeeded to say Team, Team, Team…

    I simply cannot like him, maybe because of Bernie enjoying the money he makes, maybe because of exagerrating British press, maybe because of my biassed observations on Hamilton, maybe because of my friends who watched a total of 5 GPs and claim “Hamilton is the best!!”….

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