Hamilton: “I blew Alonso away”

2010 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2007Lewis Hamilton turns 25 today and he’s given a detailed interview on one of his sponsor’s websites about his F1 career so far.

The interview was conducted at Rye House kart circuit at Hoddesdon where he often raced during his karting years.

In it he has some interesting things to say about his father Anthony, whose drive and determination helped Hamilton reach F1:

The hardest corner of all is this corner right here. It’s where I learnt to be the latest braker of all and that’s where I learnt to overtake everyone like I do. I use it in Formula 1 now, that’s why I’m able to overtake like I do.

It wasn’t until my dad found out where the latest of brakers were braking. So if the British champion was braking here, my dad would make me brake down here – so late that I often would go off or spin. Spin, start again, spin, start again… he stood here and said I had to brake there and if I didn’t brake there I’d be in trouble.

When I have kids I want to be just like him because he was such an incredible dad. Very, very hard and very correct but he tried always to do what was best for me. He was probably harder on me than any of my friends’ parents were on them. But that’s what made me so strong.

When the family weren’t there and it was just me and my dad, there was never a moment when he was not standing at my side and watching out for me. He was my hero.

He also talked about missing out on the drivers title: in his rookie season – and the satisfaction he took from finishing ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso in the championship:

I definitely didn’t blame myself for the year that I missed out [on the championship]. My first season in Formula 1, alongside a world champion – a double world champion – and I blew him away. I beat him. No-one’s ever come in their first year and been at the front, let alone beat a world champion, beat the mentality and the strength that he would have, and his experience in Formula 1 already up to that point.

So I’m very proud that I had the experience of leading the world championship for most of the year. And it’s sickening, for sure, to think we lost it in the last couple of races. [...]

I was leading and I needed a couple of points in the last two races. I barely got one. I think I got one*. The worst two races of the whole year. In one, I went off, in the second one the car stopped and it never stopped on me before.

It was a growing experience and it made me who I am today.

*He scored two in the last race, and needed two more to be champion

The full interview is over 20 minutes long and you can listen to it on the Johnnie Walker website.

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142 comments on Hamilton: “I blew Alonso away”

  1. I don’t think he blew him away. Both were disadvantaged in 2007, Hamilton was just a rookie with little experience and Alonso had the feeling of isolation at McLaren which definitely hindered his performance that season. In the end they ended up exactly even on points, they WERE even that year.

    In fact all the title contenders that year had difficulties, Raikkonen had poor reliability and Massa had less reliability issues in races but had some in qualifying. That season was equal, no one blew anyone away.

    Next year we will see a better fight with Alonso free from that emotional hurt and Hamilton with more experience.

  2. Martin said on 7th January 2010, 21:49

    I don’t recall any rookie in F1 performing as well as Hamilton did against a two-time world champion (Surely, at the time, Briatore had manipulated the Renault team “in order” to favor Alonso, but the resume of the Spaniard was there and built to impress).

    Hamilton blew Alonso away, and not only Alonso: he blew everybody away.

    • Alistair said on 7th January 2010, 21:59

      ‘I don’t recall any rookie in F1 performing as well as Hamilton did against a two-time world champion.’

      Indeed, because it’s never happened before. Here’s a good quote from Grandprix.com after the 07 Malaysian Grand Prix (Lewis’s second race)

      ‘When all is said and done it was another truly astonishing performance for an F1 newcomer. Lewis set the fastest lap of the race. He has been on the podium in both races thus far. He has led both races.
      We knew he was good but it is doubtful that anyone dared to imagine that he would be this good’.

    • I’m not totally sure about this one but Piquet and Lauda in 78/79?

      Lauda was a double world champ at the time, and Piquet was a rookie. I’m not certain on that one though !

      • Martin said on 8th January 2010, 5:35

        Piquet scored nothing, although Lauda didnt do much himself because the engine was crap.
        That’s a shame: had Lauda been that slow a few years before, he could have stopped and helped Roger Williamson.

  3. Alistair said on 7th January 2010, 21:55

    ‘Alonso had the feeling of isolation at McLaren.’

    First, bo-hoo! Alonso brought this upon himself when he threatened to blackmail his own team AFTER he failed to beat his rookie teammate on the track! Second, a world champion, a double-world champion, with years of experience in F1, should have the mental fortitude to cope with this situation. Alonso didn’t. This is the same Alonso who left Renault at the end of 06 complaining that the team didn’t want him to win (to take the no: 1 to McLaren) and that Fisi wasn’t helping him enough!

    Contrast this mental strength (or lack thereof) to the mental strength of Hamilton, say, in 08. In this year, Lewis was fighting both Ferraris, singlehandedly, with no help from his teammate, who was too slow, with all the other drivers rooting for Massa, with the FIA dishing out more penalties to Lewis than to any other driver in a single season in F1 history (fact), including taking wins off of Lewis, with Alonso publically declaring that he will help Massa, with Lewis’s McLaren car that wasn’t as good as the Ferrari, as evidenced by Massa’s even being in contention for the title, with all the pressure of the final races, especially after the turmoil of 07 – and Lewis holds it all together, despite the unwelcome intervention of rain, and wins!

    • David A said on 7th January 2010, 22:09

      “Lewis’s McLaren car that wasn’t as good as the Ferrari, as evidenced by Massa’s even being in contention for the title”

      Well, Massa was in title contention because he had had a good season and out-performed his team mate, but i’ll say that the ’08 Mclaren was slightly slower than the Ferrari.

    • Well firstly, blackmailing the team was wrong, but you have to look at the build up of why he exploded like that. He felt like the outsider of the team, and even the most mentally strongest person would get affected by that. I’m not trying to excuse his behaviour, but you cannot deny it took away from his performance that season.

      Secondly, Hamilton may have had the most penalties in a season, but excluding Spa (Even though I feel it was justified to an extent) he deserved them all. His teammate may not have taken points of the Ferrari’s but the Ferrari’s took points off each other until Raikkonen became an outside shot for the title. Plus it is debatable whether the McLaren was worse than the Ferrari. It may have been slightly slower, but Lewis had 100% reliability, whereas Massa had at least two mechanical failures.

      And it is unfair to underrate Massa, he is a top driver now unlike a few years ago. The Ferrari was clearly not that much faster than the McLaren otherwise they would have dominated the championship even if you feel Massa and Raikkonen are average drivers.

      • Harvs said on 8th January 2010, 4:47

        Alonso feeling isolation at McLaren. Alonso was invited to all three team bonding weekends in finland, Lewis went to all three, fernando didnt turn up to any.

        monaco gp, alonso spent most of his time i his room, only coming out when he was required on track.

        if you have tat attitude then dont be suprised if you feel a little isolated.

    • S Hughes said on 8th January 2010, 10:33

      Hear hear – I LIKE you Alistair. Brilliant!

  4. Very interesting all this talk — again — about Lewis and Fernando because our double-world Champion have confessed to Domenicalli that he was not perfect in his relationship with Lewis.

    I think Ferrari is very cautious with Alonso in the team and how the relationship with Massa will develop.

    In December Montezemolo said:

    “When we talked about drivers after 2010 and Domenicali said Alonso, I said I 100% agree. Alonso is young, a good driver, good for the team dialogue and in the right career moment to want to win again.

    “I’m sure we can control Fernando alongside Felipe. I must have spoken to Domenicali about it 1000 times. I told Fernando that if he came to Ferrari he was driving for a team and a group, not for himself. I told him that if he wanted to do his own team, like John Surtees, then fantastic, but at Ferrari we will put you in a position to win, we know that you can win championships, but you are a partner.

    “Secondly, for years you haven’t seen any polemics at Ferrari, and thirdly, he’s an intelligent, focused guy who admits that, like most people, he has made mistakes in the past.”

  5. dgilles said on 7th January 2010, 23:23

    2007 Facts:
    Alonso beats Hamilton in 10 races
    Hamilton beats Alonso in 7 races (hungary’s injustice included)

    Ron’s words in China are the key of 2007

    • I’m not a Hamilton fan and never have been. Nor for that matter do I have a great deal of time for Alonso, but surely as the rookie, Hamilton’s performance over the course of the season was more impressive?

      In many ways, Hamilton reminds me of Schumaker in the early days of his career: he’s fast, agressive and ruthless. Even as a Brit, I’m slightly worried at the prospect of him cleaning up for the next few years a la Schuey, with controversy over his driving etiquette never far away…

  6. maestrointhesky said on 7th January 2010, 23:46

    I haven’t heard or read the interview but as a fan of F1 I have observed a few things over the years.

    The problem with Alonso is that he’s not happy unless the team is biased towards him, much like Michael Schumacher. He did brilliantly on his first acquaintance at Renault. He expected his move to Mclaren to command the same ‘team leaders’ authority, especially when bringing in such kudos and sponsorship against a rookie. There’s no doubt that, had Mclaren established this hierarchy, Alonso would have been triple world champion at a stroll, but I’m so glad that didn’t happen as you would kill the spirit of the budding new talent and we would have none of the entertainment that this sport has brought us over the last couple of years. Alonso will have been surprised to have seen Hamilton taking points off him on merit and felt threatened that he couldn’t influence the team to back him as 2 times world champion. I’m sure this will have been interpreted as bias towards Hamilton when non existed. The fact is that Mclaren did everything that could to give both drivers every possible opportunity to win and this is illustrated by Alonso fielding his car shod with Hitco brakes (instead of McLaren’s usual Carbone Industries discs) he had previously got used to at Renault. Alonso’s hierarchy will have been handed to him on a plate by Briatore when he returned to Renault and we all saw what that eventually led to at Singapore, regardless of whether Alonso was ‘aware of it’ or not. It’ll be interesting to see how both Schumacher and Alonso position themselves in their new teams. We know that all 3 drivers mentioned are talented but evidence shows us, one will fear no team mate!

  7. I have been hearing some news (Eddie Irvine?)that Lewis will basically walk away from his new team mate once the flag drops.

    From what I have seen over the past year, Button is much smoother and seems to have the ability to conserve his car … Lewis, well, not so good in that respect.

    Does anyone think that Lewis can make a set of tires last a whole race?

    My money is on Button, not for “most poles” or most “fastest laps”, but for the Championship.

    • yes Eddie Irvine has said that he is walking into a lion’s den and he will get murdered. This season could be a cracker…

    • Hakka said on 8th January 2010, 4:15

      He’s not a robot with a fixed skill-set, he can change his driving style to make his tyres last longer if he needs to. Same applies to all of the other drivers – change the incentives and they’ll change their style if they have to, some more successfully than others perhaps, but they all will.

    • S Hughes said on 8th January 2010, 10:58

      Oh not this old chestnut AGAIN.

      Hamilton – one stopper in Turkey 2009
      Hamilton – one stopper (on first lap) in Brazil 2009 – went from 17th to 3rd.

      I think he is intelligent and adaptable, don’t you?

    • Alistair said on 8th January 2010, 22:20

      ‘From what I have seen over the past year, Button is much smoother and seems to have the ability to conserve his car … Lewis, well, not so good in that respect.’ (John Armstrong)

      We’ve seen it throughout Jenson’s career, most recently in the second half of last year, that Jenson is ultra smooth in his driving style: he likes to make minimal and relaxed steering and throttle movements. So, for Jenson’s style to work, he needs the car to be perfectly underneath him. When it’s not, he really struggles: remember the second half of 09. Also, when the track temperature is cold, Jenson struggles to generate heat into his tyres: remember him having to weave on the straights at the Nurburgring, to generate heat into his tyres, when Rubens didn’t need to in the sister Brawn; remember how he struggled at Silverstone. So Jenson may well find that a McLaren, full-to-the-brink of fuel, on cold tyres, with its handling characteristics changing throughout the race, may not suit his style.

      Whereas, Lewis likes to slide his car into the corners, having the rear-end step out and then control the slide; thus, maximizing the momentum that he can carry into the corners. So Lewis, compared to Jenson, should prefer and be better able to adapt to a McLaren on full-fuel. And, as for his adaptability, Lewis mastered KERS when many other drivers struggled with the weight-distribution and consequent braking characteristics, and advised the dropping of the system altogether – despite it giving them a power advantage. (Fisi was completely lost!) As for the tyres, Lewis has shown in the past that he can control the pace to look after the tyres and the car: remember Hungary, last year, when he was basically controlling the pace after just a few laps. And, as other posters have commented, Lewis has successfully implemented a number of one-stop strategies. Moreover, it has been announced that the tyres will be made more durable for next year. What’s more, remember that a driver can still pit for tyres whenever he likes. In the absence of refueling, the stops will be much shorter: a fresh set of rubber might more than negate the (much reduced) time loss in the pits.

      And let’s not forget that qualifying will finally return to low-fuel. Lewis has always been very strong on a single-lap; and in qualifying. (He’s been on pole in a third of his races; and, in 07, scored three times as many poles as Alonso!) Jenson might find, therefore, that he starts each race with a significant and immediate disadvantage to Lewis – a disadvantage that any driver would find extremely difficult to overcome. But the ‘proof is in the pudding’. Roll on F1 2010!

      One final note:
      Many people, especially pundits in the British media, are hailing the Lewis v Jenson battle as something that’s great for British motor-sport. It’s not: one of these drivers (most probably Jenson) must lose. And this loss might very well damage their reputation, and past achievements, forever. How, exactly, is this good for British motor-sport? If the good of British motor-sport were our chief concern, these drivers should be kept apart, preferably both in potentially championship winning cars…So fans of British motor-sport perhaps ought to have wanted Jenson to have stayed, in fact, at Brawn.

  8. I like Hamilton, and he’s a great driver but people like Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner (MotoGP) don’t talk about ‘blowing people away’. They have a little more class then that.
    I haven’t seen the whole interview, so will assume it was taken out of context a little.

    • Harvs said on 8th January 2010, 4:55

      everyone in f1 thinks they are the best. thats what makes it so competitive.

      i read a interview with Sebastian Vettel at the begining of 2009

      SV: you have to have a big ego to be in F1. you have to think you are the best otherwise you will get no where. everyone thinks they are the best. even if they dont say it

      Sebatian, Do you think you are the best?

      SV: Yes.

  9. I’m suspicious of this “interview.” Either Hamilton has lost touch with reality or someone else wrote it.

    Obviously Hamilton didn’t blow away Alonso – they finished even on points. Drivers remember things like this, so I can’t imagine Hamilton saying something untrue like this. I wonder if Hamilton’s managment allowed some PR guy to write an interview for a sponsor.

  10. Sure, Hamilton ‘blew us all away’ with how good he was. But when comparing his results to Alonso’s in 2007, I don’t think you can categorically state that he blew Alonso into the weeds, when the finished equal on points.

    I have always thought that Alonso’s season was derailed in Canada when Alonso got that stupid drive through penalty for having to re-fuel when the pitlane was ‘closed’. Lewis was already making noises about driver equality (see Monaco) and once he was in front in points from Canada, can it be any coincidence that he won the very next race? I am sure that McLaren openly backed Hamilton from that point on.

    And while I don’t beleive that Alonso handled the situation as well as he could have at McLaren, I still beleive he was justified in stating that he did not have support within the team.

  11. “if Lewis hadn’t had those two bad races at the end of 07, where McLaren kept their rookie out on tyres worn down to the canvas at China and had that…very strange electronic problem at Brazil (which I view suspiciously in light of ‘Alonsogate’),”

    I second that. I am absolutely sure that the FIA only kept the McLaren drivers in the championship on condition that neihter was allowed to win it.
    The reversal happened in Brazil 2008 despite Glock saying mid-season that if Lewis comes anywhere near to him and yet he clearly opened the door widely on instructions from those behind the scene OR ELSE!

  12. After reading this article i now know that he is a well trained guy rather than a well educated one. His father has trained him like a dog gets trained. Being harsh on him and forcing him on several occasions says it all. Hamilton is an animal and boy oh boy a well trained one, that is all i can learn from here. hah..

  13. Stephen said on 8th January 2010, 7:51

    I couldn’t listen to more than two minutes of that.

  14. Schumi_the_greatest said on 8th January 2010, 9:29

    i stopped commenting on the whole hamilton v alonso thing a while back..we are lucky to have 2 great drivers at the top of the sport who hopefully will go head to head for the tittle next year.

    my opinion on the whole thing is quite simple.

    At the end of 2005 mclaren signed alonso on a 3 year contract starting from 2007. he was brought in because it was clear to see that he was the driver to take over from shcumacher at the top of the sport. mclaren brought him in because they wanted to win the world championship. alonso was on a good salary..now mcalren wouldnt give outright number 1 status to alonso because thats always been their policy..but no one expected lewis to be so good straight away…i think they thought if they had a competitive car he would win a race or 2 but he blew everyone away and alonso felt under pressure from the word go and like many other great drivers e.g. schumacher, senna, when hes put under pressure hes prone to cracking under it.

    lewis was on less than £1 million for his 1st year in f1…yet they were paying alonso something near £10 million..so why on earth would mclaren give hamilton better equipment etc? it doesnt make sense!

    naturally people do lean towards 1 person..its human nature…im sure ron dennis would have been delighted if alonso won the world championship…but alonso blew it when he thre his toys out of the pram.

    I dont think anyone can honestly say hamilton was expected by mclaren to be that good from his 1st race..im sure the thinking behind paring hamilton and alonso was it would be good for lewis to learn from the supposedly best driver in the sport while he learnt his trade and then by the 2nd 3rd season he could really challenge fernando.

    hamilton is arrogant…all sportsmen at the top level are…you have to have that confidence especially in f1 where once out on the track it really is 1 man against the other.

    hamilton is a supreme talent and ina few years time he will dominate the sport.

    rant over

    • Chalky said on 8th January 2010, 10:21

      [quote]hamilton is arrogant…all sportsmen at the top level are[/quote]
      Jim Clark was not arrogant. I think modern day F1 drivers have to be.
      Mind you were Damon Hill \ Häkkinen arrogant?

      I get what you mean though. It’s the win at all cost attitude. I think the improved safety standards in F1 have brought this attitude on and it’s not right.

  15. Macca said on 8th January 2010, 10:19

    His dad strikes me as one of those people who arn’t good enough to do something so they push there children to do it.

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