FIA’s 2008 Gala review video is heavy on the Hamilton-Senna references

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Comparisons between Lewis Hamilton and Ayrton Senna never fail to raise the heckles of Hamilton-haters. But if this video from the FIA’s end-of-season awards ceremony is anything to go by, they’re keen to play up those connections as much as possible:

Does it really matter if Hamilton considers Senna his hero? I can’t get as worked up about it as some people do. But it seems Hamilton himself is unsure how much he should play up the connection.

Although it is often suggested his yellow helmet design is a nod to Senna’s, Hamilton says they simply chose a colour that was easy to pick out in a crowd. Earlier this year he denied reports he’d said he was better than Senna.

But he seems increasingly willing to play up the connections. In this video Hamilton says he “sometimes I wonder if [Senna]’s with me” in the cockpit. In an interview with MotorSport last month he said:

I’ve always felt I had a connection with [Senna], that we’re somehow similar – I do crazy things other people wouldn’t do, and I feel I have an edge, too. I feel I share something with him – I seem to be able to draw a lot from the way he comes across, in interviews, and so on.

He was such as fighter, that was the thing – I don’t think he was ever one to drive half-heartedly. He was always looking for perfection and, yeah, he was a warrior – and that was what I liked about him.

Hamilton it just one of several drivers who’s named Senna as a hero – Fernando Alonso also has. But I find these semi-spiritual ‘it’s like he’s there with me’ musings a bit too much.

Read more about Lewis Hamilton: Lewis Hamilton biography

53 comments on “FIA’s 2008 Gala review video is heavy on the Hamilton-Senna references”

  1. In my opinion this is one of the worst reviews I’ve seen. The comparisons to Senna are annoying and laughable as Hamilton though as talented as he is, is not near Senna in terms of greatness. The choice of music to be blunt was sh*t and fans on youtube have made better videos only to have them taken down by the FOM who employed someone to create a rubbish video.

  2. TommyBellingham
    14th December 2008, 13:00

    Awesome video, really like the start with the Hamilton and Senna bit. Senna is Hamilton’s hero, Senna’s sister even said she could see a bit of Senna in Hamilton.

  3. This is going to be another one of those where for everyone who likes the video, someone is going to hate it. To be honest it’s difficult for me to comment on Senna and I don’t feel in a position to do so considering I was only 3 at the time of his tragic death. However, I don’t feel all the comparison is Hamilton’s fault and I think that the FIA have encouraged the idea as they knew it would create a dramatic opening to the video, which in all fairness to them, it does. As for the spiritual connection it’s another one of those debatable ones. Spiritual presence is one of those things you either believe in or don’t and if you don’t (like me) it’s very hard to see where Hamilton is coming from. However if that is what he believes in and feels helps him when he is racing, then its his choice and to be fair it makes no difference in my support for him.

  4. Yeah, Hamilton is the master on wet, the same as Senna. We saw it at Brazil. Ha, ha, ha!!! Is it a video-joke?

  5. Ive been looking forward to this video for some time…. wasnt as good as some of the pasts ones…. yeh i dont think it was comparing Senna to hamilton it was just showing how his dream came true and his childhood hero was senna. Plus no one can argue that Hamilton is 1 of the few true racers in the sport, honestly I dont think Senna would mind

  6. I agree with Matt: “Is one of the worst reviews I’ve seen”.
    The video maked last year is so much better, and don’t needed any comparation.

  7. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    14th December 2008, 14:41

    I can’t resist it. Sorry Keith…..

    Comparing Senna with Hamilton at this time makes me sick…. drives me to madness. All I want to say is that if I was Hamilton I never ever never never never allow someone to compare me with Senna. Very simple…. isn’t it? Not only because it was miles of too much. I would have a real fear that Senna would get angry, get out of his grave and come behind me to kick my ass….

    I feel embarrased for Hamilton allowing such kind of commentary. He has get down in my ratings because this silly things.

  8. It’s only marketing ********. To me a Senna, a Schumacher, a Hill, a Keke, a Lauda, a Fangio or a Hamilton are all the same; World Champions.

    When we can get them all to race in the same race together then we can compare them.

  9. I just don’t understand the necessity to make the comparison. Surely Hamilton is Hamilton and Senna is Senna. It makes me uncomfortable as they are different people from different times with different levels of achievement – yet people enjoy romanticising about the “reincarnation” of Senna in Hamilton – which simply isn’t true.

    I dislike any of the “Senna is here with me” rubbish. It feels opportunistic to me…

    I think the video just shows a lack of imagination in the Gala film producers.

  10. The video does seem below par – the racing parts were ok, but they seemed to make less of the season than there was, which is particularly odd given the season we had. And don’t start me on the Senna comparisons…

  11. Hamilton didn’t make the video, the FIA did, so why blame Hamilton for what others are doing.

  12. Silly of the FIA to compare Hamilton to Senna. They didn’t compare Räikkönen with Hunt, last year, or Schumacher with Fangio, did they? What nonsense.

  13. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    14th December 2008, 15:42

    Oliver.

    It seems pretty clear that Lewis likes, promotes and makes everything at hand to use this comparison on his own hype, INHO. If you were Lewis you wouldn’t allow that kind of rubbish, would you? That’s the kind of attitude I expect from Lewis.

  14. Looking at the bright side of life thanks to Hamilton people who started to watch f1 1 year, 2 years ago get to know who is Senna.

  15. It’s only marketing ********. To me a Senna, a Schumacher, a Hill, a Keke, a Lauda, a Fangio or a Hamilton are all the same; World Champions.

    When we can get them all to race in the same race together then we can compare them.

    Totally agree with this comment. They all drove in different era’s, different cars, different technologies and against different opponents but the bottom line is they are all world champions. The way I see it, Senna was the best driver in 1988, 1990 and 1991 and Hamilton was the best driver in 2008. A comparison is simply not needed, both drivers were the best in the sport the year(s) they won the championship.

    If Hamilton wishes to compare himself against Senna then that is up to him, at the end of the day he is a racing driver, Senna was a racing driver and people in the same profession are always going to compare themselves against each other. Whether, we the on-lookers view this as right is an argument I feel is never going to be resolved.

    And on a different note I do agree the video could have been better. I just feel they decided to focus too much on the glamour of the sport rather than the racing. Which in light of recent economical developments, the glamour is likely to be toned down drastically next season anyway.

  16. All this typical negativity (with a few exceptions) all ripe for a fresh batch of Hamilton-hating. All I remember of that video is the immensely moving bit at the end where Lewis breaks down with pure emotion after the tension of the last race and becoming world champion. And when his father comforts him. Beautiful scenes which if they showed them on the BBC SPOTY awards tonight, would make people reach for their phones. Enough with the hate and negativity. And please remember Vivien Senna herself compared Lewis to her brother last year at the Autosport awards; she said it was in the eyes. Can’t get a better endorsement than that! Lewis didn’t make the video for Christ sake and he was interviewed and said the part that made him the most emotional was seeing him and his father at the end. I thought it was a marvellous video.

  17. well yeah but can you imagine all drivers talking and comparing themselves to Senna, Prost, Hill etc. all the time? I think its rather in a bad taste but if Bruno, Vivien etc are fine with it then, I guess , its ok

  18. All I remember of that video is the immensely moving bit at the end where Lewis breaks down with pure emotion after the tension of the last race and becoming world champion. And when his father comforts him. Beautiful scenes which if they showed them on the BBC SPOTY awards tonight, would make people reach for their phones.

    That’s the bit that sticks in my mind as well. You could almost see that it had finally hit him that all of his hard work had paid off. Pure emotion and if that’s not a personality big enough for the BBC I don’t know what is. It was emotional to watch!

    And please remember Vivien Senna herself compared Lewis to her brother last year at the Autosport awards; she said it was in the eyes. Can’t get a better endorsement than that!

    This is the first I have heard about this and after reading this I 100% (not that didn’t before) agree with you about the whole Hamilton hating thing. Hamilton has every right to compare himself to Senna, his a sports person in the same sport! That’s what sport is about, competition! What we make of it doesn’t matter and if Vivien Senna did indeed compare Hamilton to her brother then I just feel we are making mountains out of mole hills. And with Senna being Hamilton’s childhood hero, imagine how great it must feel for Hamilton to have his name mentioned alongside Senna’s. I may be wrong and I’m sure some people will think that I am but I feel this is an argument without a conclusion, just let it go.

    Enough with the hate and negativity.

    Simply put, i agree.

  19. Anyone got a list of the songs used in that video?

  20. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    14th December 2008, 17:37

    Reading S Hughes and Luke and how they love Lewis I can only say that I’m ROFLOL….. For God’s sake….. It is such a bad thing the Hamilton hating as it is the Hamilton loving among all things on earth…. Keep up the good work, mates

  21. Reading S Hughes and Luke and how they love Lewis I can only say that I’m ROFLOL….. For God’s sake….. It is such a bad thing the Hamilton hating as it is the Hamilton loving among all things on earth…. Keep up the good work, mates

    I’m just glad someone can see this whole thing in a light hearted way. Hamilton hating/loving, whatever you want to call it is simple rivalry, something which makes sport, sport. That is how it should be, light hearted rivalry, nothing deeper.

    Keep up the good work, mates

    lol, just as long as you keep up yours :p

  22. Anyone got a list of the songs used in that video?

    1:12 onwards is …..
    2:19 onwards is ….. (the song is ‘Get The Party Started’ but i dont know who is singing this version)
    2:50 onwards is Britney Spears – Womanizer
    3:34 onwards is Gnarls Barkley – Run
    4:19 onwards is …..
    5:50 onwards is Muse – Knights of Cydonia
    6:48 onwards is Outkast – Hey Ya!
    7:05 onwards is Snow Patrol – Open Your Eyes

    Any help with the last few I don’t know?

  23. All great people I’ve known or read about have felt these spiritual connections with people that have inspired them – as if they are carrying on the work of those that have gone before them. I can imagine how he feels because even though I am just an ordinary guy, I’ve felt these moments of deep spiritual inspiration too. Its part of being human.

    I am sure there are others who would like to talk about such feelings but are either too afraid of being ridiculed or just don’t have the results to prove their motivation.

    Hamilton is drawing so much positive energy from it – he’s definitely one of those people who has fire in him. Definitely one on the path to greatness.

    Anyway, the kid’s young. He’s going to say things he will regret later even if they were heartfelt and sincere when he said them. Give him time.

  24. If there’s anyone that Senna is in the cockpit with, it’s his nephew, Bruno! And I don’t think he would get all spiritual about it!

  25. Gosh Luke, a fellow Hamilton nut. How refreshing! Brilliant! Also, Senna used to say he felt his talent was a gift from God and I bet he didn’t get the flak Lewis gets. I am not religious myself, but if Lewis feels it and it gives him strength, good for him!

    BTW Luke, hope you will vote and vote for Lewis tonight for the BBC award. He so deserves it for what he’s been up against this year. I wonder if Keith agrees?

  26. I’d like Hamilton to win because he’s an F1 driver and I’m not interested in the other nine nominees.

    But if an award like that is going to be given to any British motor racing driver this year I think it should be Allan McNish.

  27. Although it is often suggested his yellow helmet design is a nod to Senna’s, Hamilton says they simply chose a colour that was easy to pick out in a crowd.

    My understanding is that his helmet colours were chosen to reflect the flag of Grenada [from an article in a late 2006/ early 2007 issue of F1 Racing magazine].

  28. Luke, the song from 4:19 onwards is “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. “Get the party started” is performed by Shirley Bassey, I think.

    The Hamilton/Senna thing is of course pushed by the video producers. It’s not Hamilton’s fault, though when I’ve read about (and heard) him comparing himself to Senna, it makes me cringe like every other piece of dribble that oozes out of the mouths of celebs/personalities, but no more than that. So what. He’s still a kid and says what he feels at the time. Don’t hate the guy for saying silly things now and again.

    The gala video was cringeworthy and chopped up like carrots with a blunt knife, but it improved as soon as they got to the on-track action. Extremely emotional at the end, with Massa and Smedley crying, then Lewis sobbing with his father just being Dad and comforting him. Great to see these moments and hopefully remember these are all real people with real feelings, and respect each of them accordingly.

    Watching these scenes again makes me feel terrible for Massa’s father. How many times are the images of him celebrating in error going to be splashed around the world? Poor guy.

  29. 1:12 onwards is …..
    2:19 onwards is ….. (the song is ‘Get The Party Started’ but i dont know who is singing this version)
    2:50 onwards is Britney Spears – Womanizer
    3:34 onwards is Gnarls Barkley – Run
    4:19 onwards is …..
    5:50 onwards is Muse – Knights of Cydonia
    6:48 onwards is Outkast – Hey Ya!
    7:05 onwards is Snow Patrol – Open Your Eyes

    Any help with the last few I don’t know?

    4:19 onwards is AC/DC – Thunderstruck.

    As for the video – well I thought that the racing parts were good. The problem was that there wasn’t enough racing highlights. There was Far too much glitzy glamour parts in it for my liking. I also thought that the Senna/Hamilton comparison was a little unnecessary but nothing to get too upset over. Senna was my favourite driver too but the comparisons do get a little too much. They’re both two different people.

  30. TommyBellingham
    14th December 2008, 23:16

    First song is the new prodigy track. invaders

  31. I Was really looking forward to this video and it was good, i just can’t stand the start. Hamiltons nowhere near as good as Senna! for a start Senna wouldnt have screwed up like lewis did last year and this year he wouldnt have had to finish 5th in the last race, he wouldve won it half way through and not made stupid stupid mistakes like Lewis did. I think lewis is merely trying to be a copy of Senna and is blatanly ignoring his own hero’s advice to be himself and be different. the only thing that i can see that slightly connects them is that lewis wants to win every race he competes in, but big deal, so does every other driver out there! you won’t find a driver in the world that will aspire to come 5th in every race they race in. But lewis can’t even copy that right, he doesn’t put as much effort as Senna did into trying to win a race, he just doesn’t care as much as Senna did. And as for rain master. please. Think of lewis In Monza, or lewis in brazil when he couldnt keep up with A torro rosso in the wet. And then think of Senna in Donnington park. Exactly.

  32. 1:12 onwards is Invaders Must Die – The Prodigy
    2:19 onwards is Get The Party Started – Shirley Bassey
    2:50 onwards is Womanizer – Britney Spears
    3:34 onwards is Run – Gnarls Barkley
    4:19 onwards is Thunderstruck – AC/DC
    5:30 onwards is O Fortuna (Carmina Burana) – Carl Orff
    5:50 onwards is Knights of Cydonia – Muse
    6:48 onwards is Hey Ya! – OutKast
    7:05 onwards is Open Your Eyes – Snow Patrol

    Music choices were good, actually, but the editing was a bit clunky for me. Then again, they set a VERY high bar in 2007, as well as in the 2008 post-race vids.

    As for the Senna comparisons, I loved the last bit, where they used Senna’s words to give tribute to BOTH Hamilton’s AND Massa’s efforts. The one at the start was… OK, I guess, but probably a bit too over-the-top for my taste.

  33. There was a soundbit of ‘O Fortuna’ as well during worldwide broadcasts of the showdown in Brazil. A bit cliched, but it was about the only good tune there, imo!

    The FIA should hire the TopGear editors, or someone half decent, these Galas are fast becoming like the previous incarnations of Batman films. And not even Alicia Silverstone saved those.

  34. I love how those that think Hamilton isn’t as good as Senna are now labeled “Hamilton-haters” by this site. Are those that think Massa isn’t as good as Senna “Massa-haters”. Gimme a break.

  35. Teamorders – That isn’t what I said at all. Read the first paragraph again.

  36. Keith, I just don’t think that label is a fair one. It’s not one that the Massa/Alonso/Kimi fans give themselves, so why stoop to name calling like that.

    Yes Hamilton/Senna comparisons grate my nerves, I don’t think that makes me a “hater” of anyone though, more like a realist who’s followed F1 closely for 25 years.

  37. I think that’s an entirely reasonable point of view. But spend five minutes searching for Hamilton videos on Youtube and it’s clear there are an awful lot of people out there for whom ‘haters’ is precisely the correct word.

  38. The important thing to remember is that it’s not actually Hamilton himself saying he’s anything near as good as Senna (unless you get you information from the press, or the FIA for that matter) – so why should people hate Hamilton for basically saying that Senna was the master, and an inspiration to him?

  39. anywhere elase hosting the video, seems Bernies taken the youtube one down !

  40. You could try this one:

    http://www.viddler.com/explore/Elthib/videos/10/

    About the Senna/Lewis comparision, I think this Senna´s thing is going over the top. But there’s an interesting point on it. I just finished the Senna´s biography written by Chistopher Hilton. The version that I read is the first one, finished three years before Senna´s death.

    The Senna who emerges from this book is not this myth, a Fernando´s or Lewis´s hero, or the everyone’s hero.

    In those years Senna was in the centre of hurricane, been criticized for everyone else whose was not Brazilian or one of his natural fans around the world.

    There’s another similarities, that the FIA certainly feel ashamed to show: Senna were victim of same FISA´s ridiculous decisions…

    Summarizing, he was arrogant, a dangerous driver, an enemy of the sistem!

    But we can detect in the book the same jealousy feeling around Senna on those days. I´m sure if Senna would be starting his carrier right now and beaten a great driver like Fernando is, or driving the same way he driven on the late eighties or early nineties, he would be victim of the same amount of critique that we have seen Lewis been victim only on this two years.

    The same guys who loves to hate Lewis, certainly would be doing the same amount of bash against Senna that we´ve been seen through the blogs and forums against Lewis. In fact, if the driver were Senna, they would be doing even worst…

    We never change, do we?

  41. Thanks Becken.

    Video started well, Senna always gets the pulse racing.
    The end was fairly good too, like S Hughes I found Hamilton & his Dad in the pits very moving at the time & it was good to see it again.

    For large parts of the middle though you’d be hard pressed to know F1 was a racing series, do we really need long montages of models & pit girls with the odd shot of a car in between ?

    Senna is my favourite driver & this isn’t the first time we’ve heard the comparison. Schumacher was forever being compared to him in his early years, so has every other driver who’s been tipped as the next big thing.

    I don’t mind Lewis having the same Hero as me & I can understand him wanting to be like Senna, what young driver wouldn’t ?

    Becken has it spot on too, if Senna was in F1 now he’d be forever getting penalised by the FIA and many fans would be criticising his driving style as too aggressive & saying he was arrogant.

  42. Quite. It seems some people don’t actually remember Senna all that well, he was highly critised for his racing, his personality (His blocking of Warwick for the lotus seat in 86, his entire fight with Prost, his belief in God, and that God was helping him)

    As if to prove my point…

    “for a start Senna wouldnt have screwed up like lewis did last year and this year”

    Except he did screw up several times. All drivers do. Senna wasn’t magically able to avoid mistakes. For example Monaco 88, where he threw away a win.

    “he wouldnt have had to finish 5th in the last race, he wouldve won it half way through”

    1988 : Won at Penultimate round.
    1990 : Won at Penultimate round. (Through crashing into Prost)
    1991 : Won at Penultimate round. (Starting with the strategy of holding up Mansell while Berger ran off into the lead, rather than going for the win.)

    Hardly winning halfway through.

    Yes, Senna was one of the most gifted racers F1 has ever seen – I’d say the best – but he’s not this near mythical figure that he seems to have become after death that doesn’t make mistakes and always beat his opponents into the ground. If you’re going to compare anyone with him, at least do it fairly.

  43. thanks mattclinch & Becken !

  44. thank you Mr Soap, a little bit of perspective on the god like status of Senna, dont get me wrong he was an absolute phenomenon and having seen him first hand in the wet at Donnington he was an exceptionally talented racing driver especially but i can see why he and hamilton are compared as they are able to do things in a car that others cant even dream of but they (and all racing drivers) are human and therefore make mistakes. Its human nature.

    I doubt for a second Senna would have done much better with the car Lewis had in Brazil, it was optimised for a dry weather setup with low grip to preserve the engine (hence the £2million spent on developing a new wing!) there is only so much you can drive a car with no grip and the rain just made it worse.

    My personal opinion is that McLaren made a huge mistake in Brazil that only just worked out – it could have been so much worse and Hamilton would have been unable to do anything about it, no matter how good he is.

  45. I think we should also remember that Senna died when Lewis was 9 years old when Lewis had been karting for a year.

    At that age Senna would have been like a God to a young karter, I was a teenager at the time and his death was a very significant event in my life at the time.

    Lewis doesn’t have the advantage of having seen the bad and the ugly of Senna live, since his death most of what you see about him has been produced as a memorial to him by people who are Senna fans and they obviously concentrate on the great drives & the inspirational interviews.

    I can see why Lewis would want to be like him and the comparison doesn’t really bother me either, they’ve said it about every other driver so why not Lewis ?

    It’s just the same as the George Best comparisons we get with Rooney & every other decent British footballer.

  46. The problem about LH, if you are not a British fan of course, is exactly this over-the-top hipe about him. I mean, the guy is an awesome driver that brought something truly especial to F1, but you cannot but feel good when he messes it up just to see the likes of Murray Walker, Jack Steward and Andrew Davis fall flat on their faces. About the comparison to Senna, well, I don’t think LH so much compares himself to Senna at this stage as he aspires to become as good as him in the course of his career. It is tough target though – Schumacher broke all records in the book, and very few people put him at the same level as Senna. But who knows? The guy is still very young.
    @ Teamorders: Great comment about Hamiton (or Massa) haters label. Actualy it made me wonder that since LH only defeated Massa by, say, 400 meters (the distance between Junção and the finish line in Brazil) over the course of a whole season, and in a Mclaren (that was voted the best car of the year), probably those who think that LH is in the best-ever-driver league also think Massa is there too – that would give the word lunatic a whole new meaning….
    @ Rob: Senna actually raced against Schumacher, Keke, Lauda and Hill throught his career (not to mention Mansel, Prost and Piquet) – and he was head and shoulders above the best among them. Which does not include D. Hill – he was rubish, the worse driver I’ve ever seen winning a F1 championship. He only got it because it was one of those years in which there was just one top team (Williams) and his teamate was JV in his rookie year. And even then he had to sweat three shades of gray to pull it off.
    @Lustigson: Nobody will ever compare Kimi with Hunt. Seriously, don’t worry about that.

  47. Senna was great. Senna was one of the best. Senna is Hamilton’s hero.
    There are a lot of young drivers who will have Hamilton as their hero.
    So…
    ;-)

  48. Fantastic,but Senna should’t be put with Hamilton

  49. If anyone on the grid comes close to Senna; it has to be Kimi Raikkonnen. (Not in Kimi’s current form; but overall)

  50. sumedh, now that is a conversation starter :~)

    To be honest I don’t think any of the current drivers are really like Senna, times have changed and so have drivers.
    I don’t think this is limited to Senna though, I don’t think there’s any one like Jackie Stewart, James Hunt or Gilles Villeneuve in the current group of drivers.

  51. AmericanTifosi
    17th December 2008, 22:12

    The Senna comparisons are worthless. They shouldn’t compare the sport’s greatest personality with the man without a personality. Hamilton is good, Senna was a genius.

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