Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2011

What’s gone wrong for Hamilton in 2011?

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2011
Hamilton’s tough 2011 season continued in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton has rarely had a season without the odd controversial collision and a few trips to see the stewards.

But this year there have been too many gaffes and too few of the top-drawer drives he is usually remembered for.

What’s gone wrong for the McLaren driver this year?

Management

Hamilton’s father and former manager Anthony expressed a clear view about the root of his son’s problems in the aftermath of the Singapore race:

“You look up and down the pit lane and every driver, except for Lewis [Hamilton], has a driver-manager in his life, not people from a company.

“I am sure his management are very good – I don’t know – but Formula 1 drivers need people personally involved in the driver’s life because it is a big pressure. They have got to be here and I don’t think you can do the job by sending someone else.”

The elder Hamilton obviously has a vested interest in making such remarks. But we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss them – Hamilton enjoyed his greatest successes in Formula 1 under his father’s management.

Paul di Resta, Force India, Singapore, 2011
Anthony Hamilton now manages Paul di Resta

And his father’s new young charge, Paul di Resta, is clearly thriving, finished one place behind Hamilton in Singapore.

Hamilton is not the only driver without a conventional F1 management team. Sebastian Vettel doesn’t have one at all, and it clearly isn’t holding him back.

But you have to wonder why Hamilton specifically chose an entertainment company to represent him.

Hamilton has defended his right to pursue interests outside of Formula 1. Even so, it seems they are a more consuming part of his life than they are for his rivals at the sharp end of the grid.

Nor can it be said that his closest advisors have helped him handle his recent problems well: recall his notorious outburst at Monaco and his vanishing act last Sunday having failed to given an account of his latest blunder.

Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Montreal, 2011
Button celebrates victory in Canada

When Jenson Button joined McLaren at the beginning of last year, the widely-held view was that he was risking his reputation by joining ‘Hamilton’s team’.

Hamilton has never finished behind a team mate in the world championship. But Button has beaten him in all of the last four races. With five rounds to go he is 17 points ahead – a gap that would be far greater without his car problems in Britain and Germany.

Of course, Hamilton is no stranger to having a top-line driver in the other car. His F1 reputation was built on that stunning debut season alongside Fernando Alonso.

But while Hamilton has Button out-classed on Saturdays (10-4 this year, 13-6 last year), in the races it is increasingly a different matter.

As was expected before the season began, Button has usually been able to coax more life out of Pirelli’s soft rubber than Hamilton. This has clearly helped him in some races this year.

But there’s more to it than that. Like Hamilton, Button has had to make his way through the field at times this year, and has done so without falling into the traps his team mate has.

Mistakes

Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Montreal, 2011
Button benefits as Hamilton hits Webber in Montreal

Whatever problem Hamilton is having, the result is a growing number of costly mistakes that have ruined his season.

While Button’s two retirements this year were caused by car problems, Hamilton’s were the result of crashes.

In Canada, a race he could have won, he had two collisions in the space of four laps – one with Mark Webber followed by terminal contact with his team mate. He was also in the hunt for victory at Spa before colliding with Kamui Kobayashi.

On top of that are the detail mistakes: the wrong tyres and the spin in Hungary, not putting a banker lap in during qualifying in Monaco and so on.

The result has been five race penalties, more than any other driver. He’s been punished for weaving in Malaysia (having been warned over exactly the same thing last year), two collisions in Monaco and another in Singapore, and that hasty spin-turn on the racing line in Hungary.

Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Singapore, 2011
Hamilton hit Massa in Singapore

Some have chosen to see this as evidence of the stewards being unduly harsh on Hamilton. I don’t buy that.

Yes, the decision three years ago to strip him of his deserved victory at Spa-Francorchamps was plain wrong and I said as much at the time. But in almost every other instance he’s deserved a penalty.

These kind of mistakes are not a new feature in Hamilton’s driving. Even in his championship year he had that notorious collision with Kimi Raikkonen in the Montreal pit lane, and copped another penalty in the following race by going off the track while passing Sebastian Vettel.

Completing this study of Hamilton’s F1 career in microcosm, the next race was the washout in Silverstone where he pole-axed the opposition, crossing the finishing line a minute before anyone else.

But of late the costly mistakes have far outweighed the command performances. Both his wins this year – in China and Germany – were from the top drawer. Those aside, there’s been little for Hamilton to cherish in 2011.

A single answer?

When trying to work out what’s going wrong between a driver’s brain and the steering wheel, it’s tempting to fall for single-line explanations: ‘his team mate’s rattled his cage’, ‘he can’t make the tyres work’.

The heart of the matter is rarely that simple or convenient. And there’s always much more going on beneath the surface than the glimpses on show at a race weekend.

At the end of last year Hamilton spoke of looking forward to a better season having put problems in his personal life behind him. Whatever he’s changed it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.

There are enough worrying signs around Hamilton to conclude that something fundamental is amiss here. Are we looking at a driver whose team mate is putting him under pressure, who can’t make his racing car behave the way he wants it to – and perhaps doesn’t care about it quite as much as he should?

Whatever the root of the problem is, it threatens to turn the career of a driver who produced one of the greatest rookie performances ever seen, into a case study in squandered potential.

2011 F1 season

Browse all 2011 F1 season articles

245 comments on “What’s gone wrong for Hamilton in 2011?”

  1. Do you think that we could see a Villeneuve-like (Jacques, not Gilles) fall from grace of Hamilton, Keith?

    1. As similar as their first 3 seasons were, (2nd, 1st, 5th in the championships), i’m afraid that in my opinion it is evident that Hamilton is better than Villeneuve and will stay at the top for at least another 5 years.

      Hamilton will win again, make no doubts about it.

      1. I don’t mean him falling from grace as drastically (from wdc to never winning again) but I mean, never winning another wdc. I can certainly see him as a “wasted talent” in that he won “only” one WDC

        1. I understand what you’re saying – but I feel Hamilton will win at least another World Championship – perhaps a few even. He just needs to collect himself and win a few more races this year in order to be ready for 2012.

          1. After last season, I would have agreed with you about that, but with the way that Vettel’s driving, I just don’t see Hamilton being consistent enough to truly compete. If Alonso gets a decent car again, then I think you can add him to the list of reasons that Hamilton might not be WDC again.
            Even if the next Mclaren is a great car, I could perhaps see Button taking another title, he seems to have perfected his racecraft on the Pirelli’s and showed in 2009 that he can drive a good car both fast and consistently.
            I’m not saying I don’t think that Hamilton is capable, but he has always been erratic in a way that none of the others are.

          2. Wificats – I agree with your first and 3rd paragraphs. However I don’t agree with your 2nd. If the McLaren is a great car; I think that Button will be fighting Hamilton for it; maybe Button might come out on top, maybe Hamilton. But they’re close enough to be taking points out of each other. For example if say the wdc was decided by 1 point, it stands to good reason that Button could have cost Hamilton 2 points that a “numpty” number 2 wouldn’t have.

      2. Of all the mistakes Lewis has made (and there are plenty), there is one big one he’s avoided.

        He’s avoided moving to a new team to try and start it from the ground up.

        That alone may ensure Lewis wins at least 1 more title.

        1. Have you considered the total disinterest from any other team may have been the reason….

      3. I’m not sure he’ll win, as Vettel is increasingly better and has the best car and Alonso is doing miracles with his Ferrari, but he has what it takes to be World Champion.

        1. Yup, that’s what I meant

    2. Villeneuve was never that good to start with he was just in the almighty Williams those first two years. Hamilton is a threat even in a sub par car.

  2. The fundamental problem is one of mentality – Lewis’ “die hard” “passionate” “aggressive” racing mentality, which was always on a knife’s edge, has hit him back.

    I feel Lewis feeds of victorys, pole positions and accolades, he’s what John Watson described as a “hot rod”, who wants a fast car and wants to take it as fast as it can. When he doesn’t get it, he gets frustrated, commits errors, loses self confidence, doesn’t win, gets even more frustrated, commits even more errors….. ad infinitum. It’s an infinite loop that Lewis needs to get out of, by better mentality and self management.

    1. Yes that’s it!

    2. Completely agree with this comment. I think he treats it like ‘we’ treat it like a video game: all ‘guns n blazin’ in the first few laps, try and get passed whoever as quick as possible and it doesn’t matter if ‘we’ make contact, then if it doesn’t work out, ‘we’ go off the bubble and make mistakes carelessly.

      I love Hamilton, I will defend him to the hills and back, I see all these comments on facebook towards him saying, ‘don’t worry, next race you’ll do it’ and so on and so forth, but I would like to get him by the shoulders and say ‘wake up, you’re wrecking your career here’. Well, wrecking is a strong word, but it must annoy him seeing Vettel fly past his race wins.

      No matter what he does though, I will still be there for him, unless he decides to wear red overalls!

    3. Hamilton is one of those guys who are their own worst enemies. Ultimately, it’s down to Lewis’ head where the problems arise. Be it pressure from Button or not competitive enough car, it all results in Lewis not handling on track situations well. In his rookie season, this kind of antics were attributed to his lack of experience. But now, as a former world champion, with plenty of experience in the bag, he should not make the choices he made. It becomes clear that Lewis is not coping with maturity problem, like Vettel did (and overcame it), but with serious mental problem which prevents him from repeating his success. It’s a material for sport psychologist, I’m afraid Lews can’t solve this on his own.

      1. Exactly!
        As I previously posted:

        Cole September 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm
        Worst thing that happened to Hamilton was winning the championship so early on his career.
        He would be much better with another attitude.
        He’s a brilliant driver but he tries so hard to always show he is the best, that often ends up overdriving, and finishes against a wall or against a competitor.
        If he wouldn’t won so early, perhaps he would be trying to win races, instead of this.
        Having another young and talented driver so dominant nowadays is not helping the issue either…….

    4. I think you’re right, and a lights to flag win from pole would probably do him a certain amount of good.

    5. exactly, he is spoilt, used to having the best car in the sport, even since he was a kid, as mclaren sponsored him from a young age. his ego has got the better of him, he thought he was the next ayrton senna, and now another driver in vettel has come along and showed he is the more likely of being the next senna. hamilton needs to go back to the roots and just enjoy driving, instead of believing he is the best. every season is a new beginning for an f1 driver, hamilton cannot think he is the best driver in the field at all times, he needs to be constantly working at his driving skills, year in, year out. at this stage of his career, it reads that he had his best season in his rookie year, matching alonso in pace, then claiming an extremely lucky championship win in 2008 – after almost collapsing at the last moment like in 2007. after that he showed little in a bad mclaren at the start of 2009, before having good results at the end of 2009 and 2010 as a direct result of mclaren building a better car. he was then in with a chance of winning the 2010 championship, but he choked, and made errors late in the season. 2011 should have been better, but he has made way too many mistakes, and i do not believe his 2 race wins were as controlled as they looked, he is extremely erratic with tyre management, and was lucky in those 2 races the cards fell his way with tyre strategy, i do not believe he is in control of his race tyres as other top drivers are, he just drives quick and hopes for the best, which fell his way in china, possibly by accident.

      1. If I’d just taken over McLaren, didn’t know anything about F1, and then read this I’d tell my assistant to “fire Hamilton and get me the number of that Grosjean. He should do a better job.”

        Let’s face facts. He was unlucky to lose out in 2007, kept his cool in a high pressure situation in 2008 when he had been an easy target for the stewards, was driving the only McLaren to get decent results in 2009 and was still in the title hunt going into the last race despite having the 3rd best car over the course of the season.

        Hamilton’s a top notch driver, whether you like it or not.

      2. I really don’t know how you can say that with a straight face when even the most die-hard McLaren fan’s agree they’ve produced two complete dogs of cars in the last two years. (this year not included).

        1. They’re described as “Complete dogs” in order to make the drivers efforts look better.

    6. Thanks for the comments.

      I’d personally love to see Lewis win and through that, get back his confidence to be the at his very best again because he’s an extremely exciting racer to watch.

      1. I wish he takes time to grow just for the sake of serenity of his soul. Because, it is becoming harder and harder to achieve the WDC besides very strong Vettel/RBR, Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Shcumacher, promising Di Resta and it takes supreme machinery, flawless team, and ice cool talented driver(at least on sundays). Fingers crossed. Just take time for things to settle.

  3. Vettel may not have a manager in name, but he does have both Helmut Marko and his own personal PR to support him at the track. I dismissed it at the start, but I’m starting to think that the lack of personal support argument may have a lot of merit. It’s looks like there may have been a reason why no other F1 driver had gone down the entertainment company route before!

    1. streetfightingman
      28th September 2011, 15:18

      I would actually agree. I’m divided on Lewis and has been from the start if I should like him or not.

      I think him choosing this management business stuff is because his sugar mommy picked it for him. End of story.

      1. Not that I’m saying she is but gold digger may be more apt than sugar mommy – I think he’s considerably richer than her! I agree with you though that if it wasn’t for her there’s no may he would have gone with Fuller. Such a shame, I’d love both Mclarens near or at the front, ideally winning because both being the same nationality as the team it makes the podium celebrations so much more watchable!

      2. Your management theory would hold water if Lewis’ girlfriend was signed to the same agency as he is.

  4. He and everyone else must start accepting that most of the incidents this season have been his faults, not others’. It’s not the stewarts, it’s not Button, it’s not his management… It’s Lewis being dumb.

    In 2011, when he has got his helmet on his brain usually is shut down. And his commenst afterwards simply show he learns nothing from that. After all those incidents he is lucky not to have been banned from several races.

    As long as he does not change his attitude, his performance won’t change either.

    1. Ban him? Really?

      If Lewis had hit someone like Schumacher mistakenly did in Singapore we would have people asking NATO to bomb his house!

      1. so true…..hahahaha

      2. Oh, common wrong example! Since 1994 every hard move from Schumacher is a good point to explain in British media how ruthless he is. Just like Senna was a bad guy in France…but that is not the point here.

        Lewis got great potential, no doubt. Sadly, He got no respect for other people. The sin of vanity is always pernicious to a man.

    2. You are correct about Hamilton’poor attitude. And this is inappropriately fueled by his team manager constantly speaking out after each of his mistakes and wrecked cars saying that he doesn’t want him to change the way he comes to race. Whitmarsh is doing a great deal of damage to Hamilton’s career with this lack of leadership.

  5. Lewis himself and his fans will say he’s just passionate, he’s got that edge, a fighting spirit etc etc. but them same words are often attributed with someone like Alonso, as well. With someone like Alonso, their reputation is built up in a more understated manner and it’s so much more controlled.

    I was so proud as a British F1 fan when Lewis Hamilton came along in 2007, but this season there’s been too many times when he’s on for a podium, or even better, and put simply, he hits someone. And then he has to pit because his car’s damaged. And THEN he has a penalty. And THEN he and his fans wonder why it always, always happens to him. I’m a little sick of it.

    1. The ‘passion’, ‘edge’ and ‘fighting spirit’ are not in doubt, but too often this season it’s seemed like that’s all he’s got. Some find it hard to accept that to win championships, those qualities need to be tempered with some of the attributes of Button’s driving. Just driving the wheels off the car every week and making do-or-die overtakes is not enough. The reason Alonso has the reputation you mentioned is that he is a more complete driver, aggressive when required, measured when needed. That doesn’t always make for spectacular viewing, but has delivered championships. Now, if you could mix Lewis and Jenson’s DNA together!!!!

      1. If you could, you’d probably get Michael Schumacher. Well, a British Michael Schumacher. :D

        1. But you run the risk of getting someone slow in the Qualis, and crashy on sundays !

          1. Yeah and you run the risk to have 7WDC titles.

      2. You’d probably have the best wet weather driver of all time that’s for sure…

  6. The mistakes he made have cost him the most & secondly the management isn’t helping him.He should have someone like Haikkinen with him.

    1. how many mistakes has he actually made this season,really.other drivers like schumacher have made more.in monaco if lewis hadnt of driven the way he did he would have finished 9th,not 6th.so i wouldnt call that drive a mistake.
      then he got a dnf in 2 other races.and in the last race he made i mistake.thats only 3,thats hurt his races.
      now button also has 2 dnf’s plus he’s been alot more consistent than lewis.and dont forget lewis got 3 or 4 dnf’s last season,button only got 2,but lewis still finished the season with 26 more points.which means button with the same amount of dnfs should finish the season with more points than lewis.if he doesnt,what will that say about button?
      lewis hasnt been at his best this season,and button has.if lewis had been at his best and button was still beating him,then i’d be worried.but because thats not the case im not worried atall.lewis just needs to get back to his best,and thats it.

  7. As commented in a different article, I’m a huge Hamilton fan but it’s becoming difficult watching him self destruct but as in Golf with Tiger Woods I’ll lose some interest if he’s not driving. His mind seems to be somewhere else and not directly in front.

    1. I hope you Woods comparison has nothing to do with Woods crashing whatever-he-was-driving(with his wife swinging the club)

  8. Great article Keith. It gives a really balanced view.

    It’s so interesting to watch Lewis’ career and I really hope it isn’t a case of wasted potential. Every weekend I put him up there in the predictions purely because I always think he is going to hit back after a poor weekend and get a race win or something. However I’m still waiting and can only wait so long before I start to doubt that choice.

    I still feel Lewis is feeling the effects of his post championship year, 2009 when he was dealt such a poor hand in terms of his cars performance. I’ve heard many F1 WDC winners say that the season after you win the championship it can really determine how your career goes. It can either settle you down to become confident and comfortable in yourself (think Button, Alonso, Vettel) that you have accomplished your dream or it can make you think you are the best driver there has ever been, and if you aren’t winning week-in week-out then you are going to be disappointed.

    2009 did not exactly get off to a great start for Hamilton with the whole Trulli incident and lying to the stewards. I think the sooner Hamilton gets to grips with the idea that the power balance in F1 ebbs and flows then the sooner he will get back to his old self.

  9. He didnt take the threat off getting beaten by Jenson Button seriously, until know!

    1. Like Alonso not really taking Hamilton seriously before the first race in 2007 (with the twist here that Hamilton seems to get on with Jenson on a personal level quite fine).

      But the lack of support in bad situations also seems to be a problem, he would need maybe a trainer/masseur/… type person to support him and always be with him to give consolation, tips, temper him when needed and feel embraced by.

      1. But the lack of support in bad situations also seems to be a problem, he would need maybe a trainer/masseur/…

        I think you’re onto something here. The guy just needs one hell of a massage.

        1. The guy just needs one hell of a massage.

          And a happy ending to boot :P

  10. I think it is mostly a case of needing to channel his talent. Most people (his team-mate included) consider Lewis to be in a league of his own in terms of pure natural ability. Clearly this needs to be tempered with some restraint which seems to have been lacking lately.,

    In addition to this, I think Lewis has been less able to shine this year, due to the fact that the new rules make it possible for everyone to overtake, and not as in the past, just the truly great drivers.

    I think it will be just a ‘blip’. Lewis is 25 and doing his growing up in public. Jensen also did a lot of growing up at a similar age with his contract-related shenanigans.

    1. The “growing up in public” card gets played a lot; but consider this: there have been, and there are, younger drivers who are driving in a much more mature fashion, with less mistakes.

      1. Considered and rejected, mind full of the fact that not all individuals “grows up and mature” at exactly the same rate and same time!!!

        1. Yes, Lewis is certainly proving that to a tee

  11. I have said it before and still believe he should leave F1 and drive in another class of racing. He is a racing driver, he can race in any classification and be extremely competitive. The world does not have to begin and end with F1 for him.
    Sometimes I wonder, is he comfortable in F1? Is he beginning to feel out of place both in F1 and at McLaren? Like everyone, his odyssey through life is uniquely his and we can only observe and wonder what is going on with this amazingly talented individual.

  12. Don’t forget about a penalty that happened at a far more critical point in 2008, when Hamilton bonzai-red misted his way into turn one at Fuji, setting off a turn of events that would ruin his race and have Massa draw nearer to the Championship.

    Probably his first incredibly, needlessly dull moment if we are to dismiss Montreal 2008 as a mistake than an act of aggression.

    1. But selfishly it also set off a turn of events that turned the GP into the most satisifying, personally for me, I can remember. :)

    2. That was a stupid penalty at Japan, oh no, isn’t he allowed to late brake and miss the corner?

      Yes, everyone else missed it but that was their own faults.

      1. Everyone else went off at turn one because of Hamilton, they all had to take avoiding action, to avoid Hamilton’s dangerous lunge.

      2. The penalty wasn’t necessarily the point here, though I don’t disagree with the infraction.

        It was an incredibly shortsighted decision in turn one of a race in which Hamilton was likely to score a podium, not a -1L out of the points disaster with two rounds remaining.

        1. I know he shouldn’t of done it, very stupid of him, but I still think it shouldn’t deserve a drive through.

  13. Unlike Button and most other drivers, Hamilton is simply unable to accept anything other than 1st place. Where Button drives carefully (but still quickly and impressively of course) to a well earned but safe 2nd or 3rd, Hamilton would rather risk it all for the win.

    1. +1.

      Button said, he’s not interested in anything but WDC too, he dais when you’ve tasted that you will not wish anything less.

      All I hope is to see a more competitive field from day 1. Give Lewis a competitive car and all this accidents will wipe out. Vettel has consistently improved with his car, he has less accidents too, wasn’t him known as “crash kid”? I really don’t think Lewis is worse than his rookie year.

      Alonso’s last WDC was back in 2006 and nobody says he’s finished, why Lewis? Those 5 penalties are enough to say he’s doomed?

      1. Good points, to find out we’ll have to see what Seb’s like when he goes back to a car that isn’t dominating.

        1. ‘Memba Fuji 2007, under heavy rain young Vettel crashing into Webber’s car? Vetterl was driving a STR while Webber was already a Red Bull driver. Webber said something like “that’s what happens when they give an F1 car to kids” over team radio :) Funny how that youngster is destroying Webber…

          Check theses videos:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHDTefmirJo

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvL20cuGY2I

      2. The Crash-Kid title was given by Whitmarsh for those two incidents, Turkey and Spa. Now that Lewis has equaled it and could go better there is a need to think about the rightful title holder. On the other hand Alonso spent 2 years at a non-productive car with wins in each season(although controversially) which is why nobody would say he is finished

    2. Unlike Button and most other drivers, Hamilton is simply unable to accept anything other than 1st place

      And as I said earlier on Twitter- if Hamilton believes the old line “2nd is the 1st to lose” then someone should really tell him that actually the first DNF is the first loser.

      1. but even jenson will not win the champoinship will he.so he’s going to finish the season with nothing just like lewis.

    3. Perhaps over-influenced by his fellow yellow helmeted idol as well perhaps?

      1. Taking it too literally, I’ll say. :(

  14. I think he still has a lot to learn. He still has phenomenal potential and skill, as shown by his drives in China and Germany, but it’s been clear in other races this season that he doesn’t have the ability to map races out in his head and make sensible decisions based on that. This is where Jenson excels and it’s something Lewis should be looking to learn. (For the record, I do think Lewis has the ability to be a multiple champion).

    Take Monza for example. Lewis spent all too long attacking Schumacher and ruining his tyres trying to get past him, whilst Button could see what was happening and simply bided his time, making his move when he knew that neither driver in front of him could keep him at bay.

    I agree that he needs to review his management. It’s quite different for Vettel given that he has, clearly, the fastest car and simply has to drive away from the front in most races. Although Germany proved that he is not perfect. Perhaps Lewis split from his father because he didn’t like the advice he was being given in 2009, when his father probably knew best and Lewis was probably acting like a bit of a spoilt child who’s had his favourite toy taken away from him.

    Whatever the cause, something is affecting him and he needs to sort himself out. Possibly write off this season and come back next year refreshed. Being beaten by a team-mate for the first time could be the best thing that happens to him.

    1. Beaten by his teammate…..the season isn’t over yet.

    2. I think that makes a lot of sense.

    3. I would blame it on the people. When the outcome of a reckless moves becomes a success people appreciate it but when it fails people are quick to pounce on him. People(not all) always get fascinated by heroic moves than carefully planned overtakes. When there is a shortcut to be a hero, why would Lewis choose the long distance route?

  15. nice article! here’s my thoughts..

    I personally believe his Mistakes are just that, mistakes..

    I think a lot of people are blowing it out of proportion a bit.. an F1 Driver is on the edge all the time, and they all have slip-ups now and then.. Hamilton’s have just all happened in the space of 12 months

    I also find it hard to see how all the issues of Manager, Family Life, Teammate, Car Troubles etc influence in his mistakes. The situations that Hamilton’s getting caught out in happen in split-seconds, and it seems he’s just been too unlucky, too often. I can’t see him thinking about his Dad when he loops it at Hungary and has to make a split-second decision whether to spin-turn or not.. I see it as him making some bad judgements.. which everyone experiences now and then..

    The point about him possibly “not caring” about his racing is interesting, since he is probably one of only 2 or 3 drivers on the grid who’s seat is fairly solidly set.. Nearly all the drivers on the grid have to fight for their lives every second they’re on track because of the constant threat of being replaced. Hamilton doesn’t have to experience this threat, since Mclaren aren’t going to replace him anytime soon..

    anyway, just my thoughts :)

    1. Yes, it is a very nice and balanced article Keith!

      I also find it hard to see how all the issues of Manager, Family Life, Teammate, Car Troubles etc influence in his mistakes.

      I believe you race karts (correct me if I’m wrong) so I’m probably in no position to comment but I could see how it would influence his general mental state/mood which may harm his driving. Driving is about spilt second decisions you’re absolutely right but because drivers have to be in that perfect state -‘in the zone’- any distractions or frustrations could come out behind the wheel or lead to more rash/ambitious decisions.

      I do see your point though as he probably is just getting on with the job but I’m just playing devil’s advocate as I like a debate :P Great comment though!

      1. I think you are right iamsa8 about the actual driving not being that much influenced by thinking about those things.

        But we all know the difference between feeling at one with the car/bike/yacht/… and just somehow feeling a move will work and actually having to pay attention, and willingly do something from being distracted, feeling uncomfortable or just being ill. It often works, but it takes more effort and goes wrong just that bit more often.

    2. Mistakes stop being mistakes if they happen so often, though…

    3. Agree on the mistakes front. Just 12 months ago we were discussing all of Vettel’s errors and no he’s destroyed the field.

      I don’t think he’s “not caring”, if anything it appears to me like he cares too much.

      1. This comment above me is brilliant, I was thinking that myself.

        Keith, it’s great to see a very nice, balanced view on Hamilton here, but it has appeared that everyone is slagging him off as they were with Vettel last year.

        By this point of the season in 2010: Webber had 4 wins to Vettel’s 2, and a decent lead over him in the championship. However, in the next 4 races we saw nothing but Vettel domination, with 3 poles and a 2nd in quali, and what should have been 4 straight wins.

        This was all after him being dubbed the ‘Crash Kid’. And I think with him it was solely down to frustration. Earlier in the year Vettel had problems out of his control, and a resurgent Mark Webber.

        This season, Hamilton hasn’t been given a brilliant car, similar to 2009 and 2010, but he was still composed then (kinda). Many people say ‘put him in a midfield car and then he’ll learn’ but he was at one point. Prior to Germany ’09 he was in a car which was basically struggling against STR Force India at some tracks, but then he pulled out some great races, and some great poles towards the end of the season, and 2 wins to add to it.

        In 2010 he had the outright pace against Jenson, in both race trim and quali, but Jenson had the right head on him as he always has done. Despite this, Lewis had some fantastic races and some dismal races, his wins at Canada and Spa were brilliant. His race at Silverstone was pretty mega also. But he also had some pretty bad mistakes too, his error at Monza was stupid. The Korea one was also not required.

        It’s been pretty similar in 2011. There’s one difference though, Jenson’s gotten MUCH better. This has frustrated Lewis more than anything and he doesn’t know what to do. He panics, and crashes… Very similar to how Vettel was in 2010.

        He’ll find something, he’ll come good. He’s still young(ish) and will find it

  16. He is desperate to challenge for race wins in a car that is still slightly off the pace of the class leading Red Bulls. Because the car is off the pace he’s trying to push that little bit harder to make up for the performance difference.

    It’s ok people saying you can’t win a race at the first corner or that there are plenty of laps to go, yes that is true but when the leaders are pulling away at a second a lap you don’t want to be stuck behind slower cars for any length of time as that will only add to any frustration. The further ahead the leaders get the harder Lewis feels he has to push to catch them or keep up.

    Lewis is a racer and has never denied that, he often states he’s in racing to win or challenge for wins, not make up the numbers like some of the drivers in F1 appear to demonstrate. He started in F1 in a top car and since winning the title his car has been behind the competition. If McLaren can give him a competitive car at the start of the season that will enable him to regularly challenge for pole then I believe we’ll see a different Lewis Hamilton.

    1. Finally a well balanced comment and wich is worth the read.

    2. Totally agree.

      Exactly the same as Alonso making mistakes (not normally seen) in the 1st half of 2010 when his car was off the pace. When the car became better so did he.

      If Hamilton had a better car he wouldn’t need to take the risks and we would see a different driver.

      Sadly, I fear Mclaren will struggle again at the beginning of next year. They keep making car that are based on elements of the car that keep getting banned so never have base from the previous you to develop from.

      2010 – 2011, F-duct and massive DD. Banned
      2011 – 2012, Extremely reliant on the OTBD. Banned

      It will be interesting to see what they do over the winter.

  17. The most worrying thing i’ve seen this year from Hamilton is nearly crashing with Massa during Singapore qualifying. I was literally up yelling at my tv about that.

    I’d say for most Hamiltons incident prone career has gone remembered for the good times not the bad, however I really do feel this year is casting a black shadow on how he will be remembered. You know its bad when friends of mine who don’t at all follow F1 refer to Lewis as ‘wreckless’.

    1. You must have totally lost your voice, regarding the Schumacher incident during the race.

  18. I think the problem is that Lewis was given a car that was a shoe-in for the first 2 rows right from the outset (save the occasional upset by BMW Sauber); and so when he doesn’t get that; he sulks. Alonso, Button, Vettel, all started in non-winning cars. It doesn’t matter if they started out with points or whatever; the point is they never had a winning car back then. (Though Button had a similar “playboy syndrome” happening to him)

    Look at Sutil for example. He’s done his time in a super back marker that never scored points; and last year he had a car that could score points; and you could see that he appreciates it a lot better; and doesn’t crash as often.

    1. he had 25 to sulk with, no penalties there
      (i think so)

      i was at the singapore gp last week, one telling fact he said over an interview & stressed..
      he will never give up for his fans.. never

      he is just so passionate to win
      i love him, the drama that comes along. a win for him would definitely a satisfying reward for him & his fans. something i hope he’ll do very soon.

  19. My thoughts on the matter are well-known. I put Hamilton’s poor performance down to frustration at the way he was doing everything right at the beginning of the season and he still couldn’t catch Sebastian Vettel. This has resulted in over-driving the car as he attempts to take it beyond its limits.

    The problem is exacerbated by a lack of respect for the other competitors (with the possible exception of Jenson Button). We’ve already seen him label the other drivers with less-than-admirable terms, blame Kobayashi for causing an accident that was clearly his fault, and be unnecessarily rough on qualifying outlaps – like in Singapore – when the smarter option would be to back off (as Vettel did, and look who got the better starting position). Once is an accident, and twice is a coincidence, but three times is a pattern.

    Finally, he has denied that there is a problem when the evidence suggests otherwise (ironically, acknowleding it will help him overcome it), and it hasn’t helped that McLaren initially “saw no reason” to intervene in Hamilton’s driving and now appear to be ignoring the issue. All of this has materialised into a very scrappy style on the track. We’ve seen him get no less than five penalties this season (less than six), which is poor, even by his standards. You don’t get to five (or six) penalties without a reason; if little Lewis is sitting down the back of my classroom and driving the other students to distraction, I’m not going to keep asking him to be quiet. I’ll ask him to stop talking, and if he keeps doing it, I’ll move him, and if he still won’t stop, I’ll send him outside. So I can see why the stewards are issuing him with record numbers of penalties – they’re trying to get him to think a little bit more.

    Hamilton’s problems aren’t easily solved, but ironically enough, I think he already knows what to do. This isn’t the first time this season that he’s come under the microscope – after Monaco and Montreal, a lot of people were asking where his head was at. And just before the British Grand Prix, he decided to get away from it all and try and find some focus. Whatever he did, he did it right, because he won in Germany. And then promptly forgot it within a week.

    I think this post is best summarised like this: Lewis has tunnel vision. He just can’t see beyond his own front wing. In the past – Hungary 2010 – we’ve seen Jenson Button being able to see the tyre choices of the six cars in front of him and factor their pit strategies into his own … in the middle of a race (even Martin Brundle was impressed). But by comparison, Hamilton rushed to the front in Hungary this year to get the priority pit call, over-drove the car and then made a dud tyre choice. He’s only thinking, at most, one lap ahead when everyone around him is playing the long game. It makes him more exciting, but it also gets him in more trouble.

    Because right now, Lewis Hamilton cannot see the forest for the trees.

    1. Agree with every single word PM and nicely put too.

      Finally, he has denied that there is a problem when the evidence suggests otherwise

      You’re right and this frustrates me about Lewis. He keeps saying he won’t change anything as it’s who he is but the same clumsy mistakes keep happening again and again. Something has got to give.

    2. The worse thing is, right now he thinks he knows best. I think right now he’s in a very stubborn state. He seems to think he knows best, and everyone else doesn’t. And I think it’s getting to a point that even if someone tells him something which he knows is true and must be done, he won’t do it, for the sake of spiting the other person

    3. Problem with the Hungary race was him saving the extra set of tires which he saw as an advantage over others. But with the wet start that advantage was nullified. And when it came to that pit-stop he was like let me play my special-card *BOOM*

    4. really?i remember lewis saying he was %100 to blame for the crash he had with koba.

  20. What’s gone wrong with Lewis? It’s hard to tell when I’m outside of that world but I’d say Lewis’s attitude.

    At Monaco he just showed a total lack of respect for other drivers in his outburst, he’s been clumsy this year to say the least and I think the worst mistake was actually Spa. He just assumed he was well ahead of Kobayashi and the Sauber would yield and didn’t bother to check. Normally when something goes wrong with Hamilton it’s still fun to watch because he can pull out a spectacular fighter’s performance like Brazil 07 or in China this year when everything seemed to be going wrong even before the race but he came out and won anyway whcih must have sent alarm bells ringing for Seb but recently when something’s gone wrong he’s asked “what’s the point?” rather than revelling in the challenge.

    It just doesn’t feel like he’s enjoying it. The car isn’t a dog like 09 but he seems more upset than say Alonso or Button that he can’t fight with Seb or he isn’t dealing with it as well. He was complaining about PR days which is one thing I completely sympathise with and when that situation was improved he gave a tremendous showing in Germany and I thought “great, he’s back” and then at Hungary he made a mistake again and was back on everyone’s radar for the wrong reasons. I don’t even know how committed he is to Mclaren any more.

    I don’t think JB is blowing him away. I think JB’s just solidly getting the points and doing a good job but Lewis is having an unusually bad year and if he cut out the mistakes he’d have a lot more points that Button but that’s just how I read it. That’s nothing against JB as he’s doing everything right but if his season is so good and Hamilton’s is so bad and there’s still not much of a points gap then for me that says a lot. On a slight side note though, I thought Lewis handled Canada supremely well as it was JB’s mistake that put him out of the race but he treated it with dignity and maturity and was able to brush it off. I don’t know if JB is bothering Lewis but he really shouldn’t. Hamilton needs to look at himself.

    Lewis is an aggressive driver which means he’s going to get into scrapes and bumps from time to time but the sheer volume this year does raise questions. I think he can bounce back, is a more naturally gifted driver than JB and could lead the team again but unless something changes for him or something falls into place it’s difficult to see it happening any time soon. Maybe he just needs this season over with quickly so he can reassess everything over the winter and come back with a clear head. Lewis could be an all time great but I can’t remember many of the greats having such a terrible season and he has to turn things around or at least make sure next year is a more consistent year.

    1. At Monaco he just showed a total lack of respect

      I claim royalties!

      (I told you I would.)

  21. I think the problem with Lewis is driving for a top team for his whole career. It is rare to see someone driving in a team as fast as Mclaren straight from his debut. Sure, its wonderful that he got such an opportunity, but he got arrogant in a sense and believes that he is exempt from getting poor cars, and penalties. Glock understands that to move forward he had to move back, although he overdid the moving back part, I completely agree with him. Its not only about showing up and giving your best but also encouraging your team and helping them move forward in hard times. Hamilton shows up, wrecks the car and then insults the team because the car isnt fast enough.

    1. I can’t imagine how anyone can seriously think, given how many penalties he’s had so far, that Hamilton goes into any situation expecting not to get a penalty.

  22. We can only guess what the causes of Hamilton’s problems are, maybe those closest to him and even Hamilton himself don’t really know, and it is probably not just one single thing but a combination of factors.

    I think some of it may be down to the frustration at not having a car capable of competing for the title yet again.

    In 2007 and 2008 McLaren were easily the best along with Ferrari but Ferrari were probably ahead overall in both years. The MP4-24 in 2009 was terrible at the start of the year but McLaren did manage to develop it and achieve some wins before the end of the season.

    But in 2010 and 2011 Red Bull have been well ahead and it was only down to unreliability and other mistakes on Red Bull’s part that allowed the 2010 title to go down to the wire.

    If McLaren had enjoyed the level of competitiveness they enjoyed in 2007 and 2008 in the following seasons, not necessarily the best but not that far behind, Hamilton would almost certainly have won at least one more title, instead Vettel has come along as the new wonder kid who is set to comfortably become a double World Champion, without looking up the figures I think it was only after the second race he already had a race win gap in the championship.

    As for management and life outside F1, the same style of management probably won’t suit every driver, but if every other driver has their manager with them at every race and it also worked for Hamilton during his early years, it is something which at the very least should be taken into consideration.

    The fewer distractions any driver has in their life the more they will be able to concentrate all their energies on F1. At the top of any sport the difference between winning and losing are usually small margins, so the small things can make a big difference.

    Hamilton’s mistakes in Singapore and Spa have been silly mistakes which you would class with Canada 2008 and which he really should not be making at this stage of his career.

    If McLaren give him a car capable of competing for the championship from the first round and if Hamilton can sort himself out and regain the consistency he had when he first came into F1 then he will surely win more titles, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least until the next round of major rule changes Red Bull and Vettel continue to dominate the sport.

  23. I agree Hamilton really does need a manager or friend at each race that can stand up for him, head off the press etc, and help him get his head together.

    But for me I think it was Monaco that has upset his performance this year.

    Twice he proved, both times with Michael Schumacher that if the leading driver recognises that the driver behind, at that moment is quicker, it is possible to stay out of the way and continue racing.
    The way Massa closed the door at Loews and then refused to admit defeat and try and drive over the marbles through the tunnel, just shows Massa’s lack of brain power.

    And at Sainte Devote I’ll put that down to Maldano’s lack of experience in F1 and say no more.

    But in both cases I think punishing Hamilton was over the top and has affected his performance for the rest of the season.

    1. +1
      and a penalty for just touching massas tyre in singapore when schu just gets his knuckles rapped [ after the stewards admitted they missed penalising him in the previous race ]

      no wonder hamilton feels hard done by , there are different rules for him compared to others

  24. People say he has matured over the years, becoming a better driver. IMO, i think it is the opposite. His first season was great, his dad looking after him making decisions most probably for him along with Ron Dennis and Norbet Haug, 2008 i think he was starting to make his own decisions and becoming alot more aggressive, he should of won that season alot easier. 2009, it started off very poor with ‘liegate’ and not having his dad around, with the poorer car, he knew how other felt and he matured a little with that, but saying stuff like ‘not to race anymore’ in Germany 2009 because he got a puncture, that just isn’t right. 2010, he had a good car, but not a championship winning car, he was making his own decisions here and when he wasn’t, he blamed others, like Australia, a 2nd tyre change and he blamed the team, Monza, stupidly put his car in between a sleeping policeman and Massa’s car. But 2011 has been the worst, again making mistakes like Singapore, Belgium, Monaco, Canada and still relying on his team to make the calls when he should be learning, like Monaco qualifying and the tyre choice at Hungary (him and the team).

  25. Don’t know if anyone saw this but there was an article on BBC sport the other day looking at the same thing, and the writer was suggesting that the introduction of DRS along with Pirelli tyres which make overtaking easier have nullified one of Lewis’s greatest strengths over other drivers i.e. he is a fantastic overtaker, and that his instinctive driving style is not suited to them.

    It was quite interesting to think about and possibly another reason to consider. Here’s the article if anyone’s interested:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/15066906.stm

    I really thought Lewis had turned a corner in ’09 when his Mclaren wasn’t competitive from the go in terms of his maturity, but he seems to have gone backwards this year.

    I think the biggest problem is he sees himself as having the ability to be one of the top 3-5 best F1 drivers ever, he thinks he is better than Vettel, better than Alonso and definitely better than Button and he is trying far too hard and overdriving as a result.

    You can tell in interviews Hamilton can’t stand the success Vettel is having, it really is getting to him whereas Button seems completely at ease with himself. He is a world champion, has nothing to prove to anyone and consequently he is driving better than any point in his career. He should take a step back and realise he still has a long career in F1, relax and his results will speak for themselves. He is too talented for them not to.

    1. Indeed. Racing is now degraded to a lottery based on tyre strategies and of who can drive most careful on the tyres. Don’t push, don’t attack, but rather just wait till the finish.

      It brought some weak form of “entertainment” to F1, but it killed actual racing.

      This also means that Vettel’s car advantage cannot be overcome by Hamiltons driving skills. Makes sense that Hamilton is frustrated by that.

      1. that has always been true and made great champions like fangio and clark

    2. You cannot blame the 2011 rules for Lewis’s downfall.
      You will have to blame Lewis’s inadaptability to the 2011 rules for Lewis’s downfall.

      But I guess that is how fans will behave. I am not a Lewis fan and so I say, it is Lewis’s failure to adjust to the new rules is causing his mistakes. You as is fan would say the new rules are causing his mistakes.

      The truth probably lies in the middle. Lewis’s strength has been nullified by the new rules, but that alone cannot explain all the mistakes he has made.

      Keith, could we have a statistic that gives Lewis’s frequency of crashes before and after 2008. I have a feeling he did better with grooved tyres and smaller front wings than with the grippier slicks and front wings whose extremities are not seen by any driver.

      1. Did you read my comment properly? As it goes I don’t like Lewis Hamilton very much and there are other drivers I prefer.

        I never said the 2011 rules were to blame, that is another author’s view which I was passing on. Of course the drivers have to adapt, but I thought it was an interesting point to raise. Isn’t that the point of a debate?

    3. I think there might be some truth in that line of thought. Just think of how impressive Kobayashi was with overtaking last year, and what he has so far been able to show this year.

  26. If people don’t see that Hamilton DOES get punished more harshly than other drivers then they need to take their blinders off. Button rams Hamilton in the wall in Canada and het gets off because “He didn’t seen Hamilton”. Seriously! Then Button goes on to ram Alonso off in an accident similar to the accidents Hamilton had in Monaco (and got a drive through for) and in Button’s case, again, it goes unpunished.

    Drivers like Webber and Button get away with just about anything while Hamilton gets punished for everything.

    1. Button was on the racing line, Hamilton pulled alongside him far too late and and in spray. Compare it to Buemi-Heidfeld in Germany where Heidfeld drew alongside much sooner and Buemi was clearly to blame.

      1. Button wasn’t on the racing line. He was off the racing line. Probably to cool his tyres. The racing line was that dry line to the right of him.

        The stewards report clearly put the blame on Button, but let him off because he “didn’t see” Hamilton.

      2. I think with Canada it was too wet to be able to blame either driver. Similar to the Vettel/Webber accident at Fuji

    2. The name of the problem that LH is having now is: End of Impunity.

      For way too long LH has got away with murder and he’s got used to it. Now that he is being punished for it just like everybody else and there are no more cranes to put him back on track, everything goes wrong for him.

      1. Now that he is being punished for it just like everybody else and there are no more cranes to put him back on track, everything goes wrong for him.

        This is just as inaccurate a view as the opposing claim that the stewards have it in for him. With just as little evidence to support it.

        1. Just tell me someone else who has been put back on the track with a crane, ready to go on with the race. AFAIK never, ever.

          1. So? No rule was broken. And it doesn’t even come close to proving what you claim it does.

          2. They changed that rule after that race in response to that move. It was legal then, it’s not now. Simple enough for you?

  27. Good article Keith, I think you’ve handled this very well.

    Singapore was a mistake, nothing more. You could argue the rest of his mishaps have been mistakes, but I don’t think he was being selfish, careless or over-aggressive on Sunday.

    What he needs to do is assess his racing craft over the next 5 races. He can’t win anything now, that’s a mathematical certainty. Whether or not he think’s he is hard done by is besides the point, he needs to make a change and it will be a test of his maturity as to whether or not he does that. Clearly, plenty of people think he needs to alter his mindset and he would do well to listen to that. People will respect him more for it.

  28. Hamilton has amazing speed, car control and overtaking ability, but there has always been more than that to being a great racing driver. Maturity, ability to pace and nurse the car, strategy, knowledge of what is required at the time. These are all there in all the top world champions and to date these are lacking in Hamilton. At the beginning everyone said, “He’s young and will mature and develop”, but he hasn’t, he’s driving very much as he did at the beginning, I don’t think he is any worse, just less lucky perhaps, plus other drivers are probably giving him less room. I love watching Hamilton, but more and more he is beginning to remind me of Andrea de Cesaris, driving far too often beyond what is required.
    His radio question this weekend about was he still in the hunt after the crash rather summed it up for me. A Prost, Lauda, Senna etc would never have come out with a question like that, they would have known. Until Hamilton develops race maturity he is going to keep making the mistakes. Unfortunately I now rather doubt that he is able to do so.

    1. Come on – please don’t make assumptions about what the likes of Prost would or wouldn’t have said or done. The simple truth is you have NO idea whatsoever.
      I do recall a certain Prost being sacked from Ferrari because he over-criticized the car…

  29. Does no-one remember Monza??! He drove a cautious race and everyone slatered him for it. He just can’t win. It’s a load of ******** tbh. Webber has had some bloody stupid drives these past 2 seasons and been off the pace in qually… but where’s his rabble of press saying that he’s failing as a driver? I could say the same for Massa as well.

    Just let it go already and let him drive his own race.

    1. Does no-one remember Monza??! He drove a cautious race and everyone slatered him for it. He just can’t win.

      If there’s no middle ground between breaking your front wing and getting stuck behind a Merc for 27 laps, then indeed, he won’t win.

      And the reason Massa and Webber don’t get all this is because they haven’t set standards as high as Hamilton’s in the past.

      1. I think Massa (he’s been written off by press and fans alike) and Webber have had their fair share of stick.

  30. What has happend to lewis?

    Heres my opinion guys.
    Lets just analyze his F1 career. Lewis came into F1 as the underdog with a double WC Fernando Alonso. I am not a fan of Lewis at all however, his first season was very impressive and since that he won a WC. In recne ttime people have criticised him for losing his edge or something. I think that as a young F1 WC he expected too much from his career at such an early ageand I believe its fristration that is creeping in. Since Jenson joined the team in 2010 eceryone expected him to be the leader and this season would not seem to be the case. If you go back to 2009 when Mclaren were looking for a driver when Kovalinen left. Lewis categorily stated that he didnt want Kimi Raikkonen as his team mate. Lewis expected to be the leader of Mclaren but this season he has not, I think it is clearly getting to him and errors are being made.

    1. Lewis categorily stated that he didnt want Kimi Raikkonen as his team mate.

      Have you got a quote that shows that?

      1. See this is what the Hamilton-haters have a consistant history in doing:

        They are so bitter that they have to resort to making up drivel just so they can pretend Lewis is as bad as they would like him to be.
        They spend most of their time trawling the internet every day all day looking for any Hamilton stories to comment and slate him on by conjuring up rear-end baked theories & assumptions that are so baseless that even The Sunday Sport would be too embaressed to print.

        Theres nothing wrong with Lewis or his race craft etc…..He wouldntve won every championship (F1 & pre-F1) – hes just having dip which all sportsmen go through during their careers.

        I think the thing that will help him most if the all the vulture F1 media groups (especially the Brits) get off his back & leave the guy alone.

        But no..mark my words…you will see the usual ridiculous treatment of Lewis by the media….by the end of this week the Hamilton articles will have clamed down…BUT as next weekend is a GP…in the week to run up to that GP…the Brit media agencies will step up the Hamilton articles which seem like they are written to try and mess with Lewis’ mind for the coming GP and keep that negative focus on him.

        Im glad and relieved to see that a majority of people who comment here are decent and seem to support Lewis very strongly.

        People and the media in particular need to get off Lewis’ back!

  31. Despite being an Alonso fan, i get no pleasure seeing hamilton on such a low. Whats happeing? In my opinion it is severe bad luck that is leading to and exaggerating his struggles:

    Singapore: Excellent start but then gets swamped into first corner due to him having to pull out of throttle.
    + Tyre puncture in Q2, Fuelling issues for second run in Q3 (From the sector times it is guaranteed he would have been a front row starter if not have challenged for pole, in first run he lost 2/10ths in middle sector to JB due to AlO being in close company, + he would have gained time from his tyres being up to temp compared with first run, to prove this, ALO gaines 7/10ths in his second run from tyres being up to temp).

    Monaco: Again in Q3 was guaranteed a front row start if not challenge for pole, and it being monaco starting 7th or whatever prevented him for challenging for victory causing him to get over aggressive and incidents etc.. which led to more Criticism post race.

    Monza: Mostly his own fault but again nothing going his way, getting stuck behind the rediculously fast Mercs of SCHUMI and thus not being able to challenge for victory.

    and the list goes on…….

    Overall, the bad luck he’s enduring currently is denting his confidence as he is recieving ever more criticism after pretty much every race.

    Hamilton is not just a world champion, he’s a potential all-time legend, and that’s why these wasted seasons provide such acute frustration for him.

    A man capable of humbling a mighty talent like Alonso in his rookie season, and winning the title in only his second year in the most heroic of fashion, delivering some of the finest wet-weather wins in F1 history along the way.

    His driving at the moment is not wild, it’s just a little rough at the edges.

    He hasn’t been endangering rivals with crazy swerves or zero-percentage moves, he’s just had a couple of races where he’s slightly misjudged where the extremities of his McLaren are, with costly consequences for his points tally.

    But if he really was the whirlwind of chaos his critics are claiming, there would be more than 16 points (barely a third place) between him and his apparently flawless and heroic team-mate Button – but there are not.

    Hamilton hasn’t lost the plot, hasn’t become a menace and isn’t being blitzed by Button.

    I again repeat, Hamilton is not just a world champion, he’s a potential all-time legend, capable of dominating this era with his sparkling talent.

    1. Sorry, i am a Hamilton fan, it was a typing error, true fans are those who stick by him in good, great, horrible, disastorous times. It angers me when i ask somone who do you support, reply is usually hamilton, yet they know nothing about the sport. Other online “fans” also disgust me, on a different forum, majority of people had hamilton avatars (pictures for their profile) and had names such as “Hami4ever” ect, and after the canadia GP, they all suddenly became JB fans, disgusting.

      The guys going through a rough phase, sooner or later his brilliance will bring and end to the whole issue of “What’s happeing to Lewis Hamilton”?

      1. Well, people do tend to end up at F1 Fanatic for the generally balanced views of the community.

        Being a “fan” is a pretty strange state of mind if you think about it. But nothing about being a “true fan” (whatever that is) precludes admitting that your hero makes mistakes, or acknowledging the successes and skills of others.

        “Alonso” for “Hamilton” though – that’s a big Freudian slip!

        1. Well, people do tend to end up at F1 Fanatic for the generally balanced views of the community.

          Always good to hear :-)

    2. I agree. I don’t see the need to over-analyze Hamilton’s season. He’s made mistakes, he’s won two races and he’s had bad luck a couple of times. It’s funny to see that no one even seems to remember he got a puncture on Saturday in Singapore in qualifying AND a fuel rig problem. Both incidents were not his fault (and they were not due to not having proper management or any of the numerous issues everyone is listing). But they left him heavily compromised for the race in terms of grid position (I have no doubt he’d have grabbed second if he’d had another run) and tyre strategy. As a result, we’re all here talking about what’s gone wrong with him. Nothing.
      As an aside, imagine it was Hamilton who’d ignored the blue flags for a whole lap (Kobayashi). How many comments and internet traffic would that have generated? I find the F1 community has an abnormally high level of interest in Lewis which leads to everything about him being scrutinized, praised, complained about etc way too much. That’s why Keith has published this article instead of one on the amazing performance of Vettel over the year or Webber’s inability to unlock the RB7’s potential

      1. Please give “sebsronnie” comment of the day, the writers article was good but your comment was insightful! …the very points people keep over looking… the expectations on lewis from fans and none fans is so great that any minor error is blown up to !………

        love it all!….

  32. Prisoner Monkey said it well. Lewis has enormous talent and is the best overtaker in the sport currently. However, he appears to have a sense of entitlement, that other drivers should give way, and many wont. And finally, he doesnt seem to accept that it could be his fault.

    1. It’s more the self entitlement of drivers who feel they should not be overtaken in a non-DRS zone.

  33. I think this is a good article by Keith but we need to look at the big picture.

    I go back to 2008. At the last race in Brazil, almost all the drivers were in support of Felipe Massa over Lewis, with some even being bold enough to say that they would do all the could to help Massa win the title (Alonso, Barichello).

    In 2008, apart from the nonsensical penalties that were handed down to him, I don’t think he had too many altercations with other drivers (apart from the brain fade that happened with Kimi). So, there was obviously some bitterness towards this young guy who came up, clashed infamously with Alonso in his first year (almost winning the championship), and was on his way to winning it the second year. There was a feeling that he had not gone through the ranks and as such, did not deserve to be in the position he was in.

    Also, Hamilton is pretty out of touch with the politics of F1 management (FIA) and even fellow drivers. Some of his statements tend to alienate him from other drivers (a typical example is when he did not acknowledge Button, his own team mate, as being one of the top 3 drivers). As such, some drivers (in particular Felipe Massa), will make it as difficult as possible when the McLaren of Hamilton comes up to overtake them.

    Another aspect we need to look at is the issue of collisions and blame. Mark Webber had a collision with Massa in Monza. Had this been Hamilton, an investigation would probably have come up and there would have been a lot of stuff being said about his mindset and how he keeps making mistakes. Also, if the positions were reversed in Canada, he would definitely have been investigated during the race and given a drive through penalty for RAMMING Button into the wall. This is not to say that Button deliberately rammed him into the wall but all of us armchair experts would have blamed him. Instead, all of us and the so called professionals found a way to twist it around to lay the blame at his feet for trying to pass his team mate. Picture the headline in your mind’s eye: “HAMILTON FORCES TEAM MATE INTO THE WALL AT CANADA”.

    Hamilton has become an easy target and the other drivers know this. As such, they will take risks with him (Schumacher, Monza 2011) knowing that if anything happens, he will definitely be the one to take the blame. This point is butressed by the fact that Massa feels that he needs to constantly remind the FIA to do their job of penalising Hamilton for every incident.

    Keith says that he performed a disappearing act instead fo responding to the Massa incident. After qualifying on Saturday, Massa accused Hamilton of not using his head. After the race and all the incidents, did he really think Hamilton would stop to discuss?? I think not. Incidents should not be taken in isolation if not a warped view will be produced.

    Finally, lets look at the radio communication during the race. Hamilton asked what he was racing for. It was interpreted as being a state of mind and how he seems to have lost zeal. However, I interpret it as being left alone by his race engineer. He should be giving encouragement and lap by lap information to his driver, giving him the big picture. It seems like the race engineer is a bit too cordial with Hamilton. He needs to be more deliberate, and where necessary, hard on him. A good example if Rob Smedley or Vettel’s Engineer in Canada 2010, telling him not to even think about setting a fastest lap.

    In conclusion, I agree with most of what Keith has said. He needs a new manager and someone he can really trust who will be in the background at McLaren looking out for his interests and his interests alone. That is a job that will be done best by his father. But in everything, we need to look at the big picture. He may have had the most penalties. Other drivers have also had incidents but the media does not blow them out of proportion. Imagine if Hamilton had done what Schumacher did in Singapore. Jackie Stewart would have been the first to say that he is endangering the lives of fellow drivers. If he had hit Massa at Monza, Massa would have been all over him for it. Unfortunately, he has created an impression about himself and he is not liked by most of the drivers.

    A combination of all this is what sums up his season and not just his mind management, his calmer and more clinical team mate or his aggression. That said however, above all, TALENT ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH.

    1. I think the “easy target” is spot on. Brundle once said that Senna would put you in a position where you could either yield or crash. If you yielded he would know that you would do the same in the future.

      Whatever the position Hamilton has during an overtake (defending or attacking), he will be blamed for the incident. So the FIA has effectively put Hamilton on a permanent “yield”.

    2. Perhaps a new career for Mark Webber as Hamiltons manager, he knows all about bad luck and frustration and how to handle it.

    3. Another aspect we need to look at is the issue of collisions and blame. Mark Webber had a collision with Massa in Monza. Had this been Hamilton, an investigation would probably have come up and there would have been a lot of stuff being said about his mindset and how he keeps making mistakes. Also, if the positions were reversed in Canada, he would definitely have been investigated during the race and given a drive through penalty for RAMMING Button into the wall. This is not to say that Button deliberately rammed him into the wall but all of us armchair experts would have blamed him. Instead, all of us and the so called professionals found a way to twist it around to lay the blame at his feet for trying to pass his team mate. Picture the headline in your mind’s eye: “HAMILTON FORCES TEAM MATE INTO THE WALL AT CANADA”.

      I think Button was handed a penalty for the Hamilton impact. And Webber admited that it was his fault inmediatly after crashing with Massa (that and the fact that it was Webber first impact of the year are factors to not getting that most attention).

      A good example if Rob Smedley or Vettel’s Engineer in Canada 2010, telling him not to even think about setting a fastest lap.

      I most said I love Rocky (Vettel´s engineer) almost as much as everybody loves Smedley

      1. I think Button was handed a penalty for the Hamilton impact.

        No, he did get a penalty in that race but it was for something else. The stewards ‘took no action’ on the collision with Hamilton.

        See: McLaren: Button makes amends for collision with stunning win

        1. Oh! Thanks…

  34. It has not all been entirely his fault like you put it, Lewis has also had his fair share of screw ups from Mclaren, that should have been mentioned too. And I don’t think it has anything to do with Button’s performance, he was still doing the same mistakes even when he was ahead of Button in the points.

  35. Personally I think that LH is proving what I have thought for a handful of years now…I don’t think he can handle the pressure when it is at it’s greatest. He threw away a couple of WDC’s when they were his to lose, and when he won his WDC it was by a squeak and on that day FM did everything right when the pressure was at it’s greatest, and it took a ridiculously slow lap from another car to allow LH just a high enough position to rob FM of the WDC that he owned for half a lap. ie. the day LH won the WDC he did not stamp his authority on it.

    Now we see an LH with a competitive teammate and perhaps a lesser feeling that the team is all about him. So I think he is under pressure and when that is the case it falls apart for him. I think he will need another dominant package like SV has had this year in order to win another WDC. Without that ie. given a strong challenge for a WDC he will not keep it together if you go by his history.

    1. Well, Hamilton no longer is the absolute no.1 driver in the team. Imagine what would have been if Alonso’s or Kovalainen’s hands were untied during their respective McLaren years. :)

  36. Sorry Keith but all this rubbish about ‘Lewis being rattled by his team mate’ is yet another load of baseless rubbish.

    Lewis was having his nightmares way before button was near him on points.
    In fact you can say that had Lewis been pressured from button then the chances are that Lewis wouldve played his races much more safer in order to secure the points to get ahead of button – you dont need a blackboard and chalk to work that out!
    The evidence all points to the fact that Lewis infact has not even worried about jenson.

    This rubbish about Lewis messing up due to the pressure from button is just yet another fairytale being concocted by the button media fan club who tend to despise Lewis.

    Theres no evidence or record of Lewis messing up because of button.

    Keith instead of following the pied-piper of sad media groups who want to keep poking Lewis with a stick…surely YOU can understand that yeh..ok Lewis has had a tough season but you know what…it happens to all sportsmen who sometimes have certain dips.

    Also why do you people keep conveniently forgetting that Lewis has been in F1 now for 5 years whereas the guys hes being compared to have been in F1 for around 11 years.

    Also please dont forget that button himself had his long period where he dissapointed and even messed up bigtime which resulted in him not being wanted by other teams – they all mainly wouldnt touch him with a barge-pole.
    -They all were given a chance to learn and develop…why cant you media groups also extend the same curtousy to Lewis?

    Im just shocked and appalled at this ‘vulture-mentality’ from the British media to keep jumping over Lewis’ back – as if they are trying to sour his career.
    -The guy is human..he like us all can make mistakes!

    -Just get off his back….and allow the boy to heal!

    If the media left him alone for a while instead of tearing shreds off him every week then I have no doubt that his recovery progress would be alot more quicker.

    I cant get over the double-standards over Lewis compared to all the other drivers – It seems like when its Lewis everything is magnified 10 times more.

    And one more important FACT: Jenson is only doing better because Lewis is in a big dip at the moment – which jenson and his media chums should be grateful off.
    Im sure its not difficult to beat a team mate only when that team mate is having a nightmare – its not something to be too proud off.

    ALSO one last thing:
    Throughout all the times Lewis has been in front of jenson and finishing the season (2010) in front – All the media groups were continuing to believe that at mclaren there is NO team leader – But now even before the season is even over the button-club all now suddenly start to believe that mclaren DO have a team leader – despite the continual claims from mclaren since 2010 that there is NO team leader as both drivers are equal – which the media believed when Lewis was infront – but when button is in front..they all suddenly change their minds.

    – How pathetic and ridiculous and totally sums up the overhype when it comes to jenson!!

    1. yeh..ok Lewis has had a tough season but you know what…it happens to all sportsmen who sometimes have certain dips.

      He’s a professional sportsman currently performing well below the level we all know he’s capable of. I don’t believe “it happens” is a convincing explanation.

  37. The remedy for Hamilton’s bad and dangerous driving this season was the 6 race ban Jean Todt proposed after the Monaco incident/scandal.

    If it was applied (the ban), most probably we wouldn’t have to witness these new amateur errors from a great natural talent like Hamilton.

    1. 6 is too much. I will say one or two.

    2. Except he shouldn’t have got the two penalties and therefore would not have made the remarks. One of the reasons Todt is not going up in my view.

  38. I feel Lewis feeds of victorys, pole positions and accolades, he’s what John Watson described as a “hot rod”, who wants a fast car and wants to take it as fast as it can. When he doesn’t get it, he gets frustrated, commits errors, loses self confidence, doesn’t win, gets even more frustrated, commits even more errors….. ad infinitum. It’s an infinite loop that Lewis needs to get out of, by better mentality and self management.

    I think that you are correct, but I will said that young drivers are all the same.

    Teh worst time fir Vettel last year were after his car trouble at the beginning of the year. You could see he was desperate to gaing back the points that he has lost over this troubles. But I do think that RBR and his father, were better at supporting Sebastian at this time wich allowed him to gain momentum at the end of the year and win the WDC. Vettel has also gain a fair amount of adviser amount old school drivers, like Schumi, Marko, Lauda, Berger and even Bernie is at hand to give him advice.

    Hamilton has lost his support system. It must be really weird to talk with your dad about your troubles when you fired him. The Pussy Cat Doll his hardly a strong figure in his life (and I find so disturbing that they are together, but thats my problem). I also think taht the fact that Hamilton had a winning car sinc the start of his career didn´t give him time to mature and to know how to lose. Vettel spend time at Toro Rosso, Alonso was at Minardi and Button was in a lot of middle pack team.

    He will mature after this. Even when I´m not his biggest fan I can´t said that he will never win another tittle again.

  39. I don’t like Hamilton, never have and never will. For me one of the main reasons of his problems are the fact that he began his career in a top team. Not sure if there have been really succesfull drivers in F1 (more than one WDC) that have started their careers in a top team. And the reason is that you are spoiled from the get go, always expecting to be on pole and winning races and you get dissappointed and frustrated when things get wrong, specially with McLaren that are the most consistent top team on the grid.

    1. I think Fangio started in a top team immediately, didn’t he?

  40. His problem? Doesn’t look around of him.

  41. I think this was a great article, I really enjoyed reading it.

    Let’s make no mistake, Lewis Hamilton is a massively talented individual, and by far one of the greatest Formula One drivers I’ve ever seen. Often I question: Why is he so good? When he makes mistakes like he has all too often this season, but I’m reminded why he’s one of the best with performances like China, Spain and Germany.

    I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if its the car, his racecraft, his management, his team mate or what. But if Hamilton is to go down as a great (which he should, due to his huge amount of talent) then he just needs to erradicate the mistakes, and go back to the way he was driving at the start of his career.

    He’ll be back. I might not like him, but you simply don’t lose talent. He’s proven that with China and Germany. Another title? Maybe. But things need to change, and we need to see the China’s and the Germany’s more often if he is to rank ahead of Vettel and Alonso.

    1. he is easily the most talented since jim clark

      of course when clark started he was as old as hamilton is now , and I think fangio was about 40 when he became champion

      it is not only good wine that matures with age

      1. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t disagree ore with your first point.

        So Lewis Hamilton is more talented than Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel? Maybe some of those, but without wanting to be rude, your point just isn’t right.

  42. I’m honestly not as apocalyptic as most about Lewis’ situation. While I do agree he’s having a bad season, I don’t see this as career destroying yet. If he continues in this fashion, absolutely. McLaren won’t hold on to a penalty and crash prone driver for very long. But one bad season does not spell the end of a career. I think it would definitely be wise to get himself some kind of driver manager who has been around the block to help him focus. His mistakes, though sometimes mere millimeters from success and failure, can be diminished by training and temperament. Racing is an unpredictable beast so mistakes will happen regardless and Button has shown this. But as Keith pointed out, how one deals with the mistakes -not only on the track but off- is the clincher.

  43. lewis once said that he needs to be aggressive just because his car is not competitive enough… he said if he had a fast car like redbull he’d just cruise to victory! (just like what vettel does now)
    some drivers settle down with the fact that their car is good for a podium or even 4th or 5th but Hamilton is always aiming for the win, even if his car is not capable.

    Villenuve said “how can we know the limits if we don’t try to overcome them.” so i think (hope) lewis will enjoy a better season next year

  44. Lewis just needs a faster car–one that can win consistently. It doesn’t have to be faster than everybody else’s, just as fast. Lewis does not like to finish second. He doesn’t drive for second and if he can’t win, either the race or the championship, he drives above the capability of the car resulting in these errors. If McLaren gives him a car as fast as the red bulls, he will win lots of races and championships.

  45. Im a massive Hamilton fan and everyone makes mistakes,But i think lewis has made more mistakes again this year again trying to make up for the under performing mclaren.
    If he had a car like redbull he too would only be making a hand full of overtakes like vettle or as jenson did in the first half of 2009 when brawn had the edge.
    As for all the tumbles with massa i think he is using Hamilton as an excuse for his under performance since his crash in the ferrari compared to how alonso is performing with the same car,A drive i think he knows he is about to lose and will probably not find another in a competitive car or any team!

  46. This is no mystery to me (although I could be entirely wrong). His head and hands, figuratively speaking, have lost the right level of coordination. He was on the rise with the skill and the ride, the sky was the limit. He obviously planned to capitalize on the F1 success, which he apparently took a bit for granted. His focus and commitment were defused some, and then… Vettel.

    I think LH has been blindsided by this totally unanticipated level of competition, and it came when his head is less in the game than before. The result? Flailing. Desperation. 11/10ths. A messy 2011.

  47. Great article. I think there’s one major element missing though: Vettel. I really don’t think Hamilton would be quite as thrown out this season if he wasn’t seeing a younger driver already eclipse his own success in Formula 1. After 2008 Hamilton seemed the one set to break the records. That’s completely reversed and he’s clearly trying to deal with the frustration over the McLaren not matching Vettel’s Red Bull while seeing the latter driver ‘in his place.’

    I’d say Vettel and the extra-Formula 1 stuff, big problem and big escape route that fails to address the problem.

    1. I think there is probably an element of truth in that.

  48. Dear Lewis Hamilton-

    You seem to be in a bit of a funk lately. In the last 4 races, you’ve started from the front row 3 times, yet you havent stood on the podium once. Even your peerless performance at the Nurburgring seems so far in the past now. Fear not though, for I have a comprehensive plan that will return you to your winning ways, post-haste!

    1) Ditch your management company in favor of someone who is more concerned with your success as a driver than a global marketing brand.

    2) Dump your girlfriend. Her and her pop star friends seem to be a disastrous influence on your ego. Let her know that she can call me if she is too emotionally distraught after the break-up.

    3) Take some time to hone your driving skill and precision in some unorthodox ways. Im envisioning a full rock-montage here in which you pilot an 18-wheeler through back-country Louisiana, drive bumper cars at a carnival and avoid hitting anyone, race radio-controlled cars against a pack of schoolchildren, and sit in for one of McLaren’s forklift drivers back at the factory. These are just suggestions, of course, so feel free to get creative.

    4) Refrain from ridiculing the race stewards for their affinity to penalize you. It isnt helping. In fact, you might want to avoid using the word “steward” altogether, or any variation of it, to help break this habit. For example, if you find yourself on an airplane needing to take the edge off after another crushing defeat at the hands of you-know-who, beckon the lady toting the drink cart using the anachronistic term “sky-waitress”, rather than “stewardess”.

    5) This one is as easy as it is important. Every day, thank that an organization with the deep pockets and technical prowess of McLaren has invested so much in you. Recognize how privileged you are, and treat your team personnel accordingly. You need McLaren more than they need you.

    Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way (back) to the top! You can do it.

    Sincerely,
    A concerned fan

    1. Curses. I meant #5 to read “Thank -insert spritual being of choice- that…” but I put it in brackets like a moron so it vanished.

    2. not bad !
      I laughed at the “sky-waitress” bit.

    3. 2) Dump your girlfriend. Her and her pop star friends seem to be a disastrous influence on your ego. Let her know that she can call me if she is too emotionally distraught after the break-up.

      Very kind of you. I will said Simon Cowell will take her as well ;)

    4. Now if *I* were awarding Comment of the Day…

      I especially love the idea of the rock montage — which is currently playing in my head, by the way.

  49. I think Lewis’ big problem is not himself, his mistakes or his personal life. It’s McLaren.

    He’s become so used to succeeding with McLaren, excelling at the very highest level that when he isn’t doing that, it seems to fall apart. He has days where the car works, he works correctly and everything syncs together. Take his win at the Nurburgring for example.

    Then he has times where something unfortunate happens, and a chain reaction begins, and ends with Hamilton crashing out, crashing into somebody or both. Take Singapore, the team didn’t have enough time to refill the car for a final run in Q3, which left Hamilton in fifth and with it all to do. He had to go brave to pass Webber at turn one but backed out of it (sensibly) but then fell down the order.

    He had to charge through the field but that is where he fell into trouble.

    When it starts to go wrong for Lewis, it keeps going wrong until it climaxes into something bigger, like a crash.

    I feel Lewis needs to move on from McLaren, into unfamiliar surroundings, to a team where things have not gone right for a while, where inspiration from a talent like Hamilton is needed, to relight the fire that burned so strong for so long and made the team a force to be reckoned with.

    Lewis needs to go to…Williams. Rebuild the team around him and only him, dictate how the team should design the car, build it, test it and race. it.

    Basically, Lewis needs to do a Schumacher. Take a team that has fallen from grace and turn it back into a powerhouse within motorsport.

    Then he’ll earn many more world titles and take the place in the “hall of fame” that I feel he so rightly deserves.

    If he doesn’t, he’ll be like a significantly more talented version of Jacques Villeneuve. Epic début season, title win the next, never won the title ever again. Someone of his talent really does not deserve an outcome like that.

    That and I’d love to see how a Hamilton/Maldonado partnership would get on after the incident at Spa. :)

  50. Lewis has been disappointing to say the least, but I still remains a passionate fan. I think Lewis has had it too easy in F1 and came straight into a championship winning car (potentially). Due to the fact he’s won almost everything on the way up to f1, I just feel he isn’t experienced at being further back the grid! I am running out of excuses for him though. I really hope things improve for him.

  51. Is he just pushing that one bit too far? trying to force results that can’t be had? It’s no coincidence that these incidents have come from climbing through the field and/or after setbacks.

    Whatever the reason though, I confess myself disappointed. Regardless of thinking stewarding has been far too harsh (on all drivers) this year, the fact remains that that’s how it is and Hamilton refuses to play the game.

    Maybe he should come out in an act of self-humbling, say he’ll be #2 to Button to learn from him how to be a more complete driver, a better driver and champion – and ignore that a younger driver is adopting the mantle many told him he would claim instead.

    Lewis is a world champion and has won more races than most F1 drivers. he has nothing to prove to his doubters of his ability. He has everything to prove to us, his fans though and it’s not a nice feeling to see him throwing away what he could be. He doesn’t seem any different to how he was when he started, as if he’s not bothering to learn anything about things like strategy, which is not a good thing when McLaren seem to find new highs of woefulness in that department.

    As a supporter of the “boy who done good” in his early F1 career I will always hope he will do it all over again and fulfil his potential. As a fan though, I have to be honest, it seems like as the weekends go by there are less and less reasons to stay one.

    1. people like you make me laugh.
      dont you understand ppl dont want lewis to be like button?and lewis could still finish the season ahead of button on points.if he drives anywhere near his best in the final 5 races he will do.
      further more buttons smooth driving hasnt won him the championship has it?lewis just needs to get back to his best,he doesnt need to learn anything from button.he just needs to learn from his mistakes.

  52. I think Lewis has been unable to think long-term – of the championship.

    He always thinks of each race separately and doesn’t take into account the larger picture. This is something Vettel in 2011, Button in 2009, Alonso in 2010 have done very well.

    The drivers know when they are on the backfoot and go about quietly collecting points in such cases. Hamilton has an all-or-nothing attitude no matter how fast his car is, no matter what is his position in the championship.

    The 2 best phases of Hamilton’s career according to me are – first half of 2007 and first half of 2010. He was sublime, error-free and believed in being consistent.

    And the only way he is gonna be able to think long-term if he gets a better manager – I do agree with his father. The lifestyle outside of paddock plays a large role in shaping one’s mentality. He needs to go back to his dad.

    Hamilton is talented no doubt, he will be on top of Button in the standings in no time. But will he sustain it? Only when he values patience. Alonso learnt this virtue the hard way by getting axed from Mclaren and spending 2 years in wilderness. But now he knows. Now, its Lewis’s turn to learn this art.

  53. Little to cherish? A “case study” Sorry, I find this a bit over the top. My opinion. And I base it on the following facts.

    Here is the form guide form this site:
    Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button
    Qualified ahead 10 4
    Average qualifying gap -0.245s –
    Finished race ahead 5 5
    Laps spent ahead 408 298

    He trails Button in points. Last year, and some points Hamilton was ahead of Button in points, sometimes the otherway around. Indeed, both led the points for substantial periods. Hamilton made his mistakes last year, many many of them, but came out ahead in the end, and was widely heralded for his work last year, even here. Now, the hounds are loose.

    This collection of vague digs and unfalsifiable conjectures about “outside interests,” etc., does not add up. What does Paul Di Resta’s work under Hamilton’s former manger mean? I think it means Paul Di Resta is a good driver. What should I conclude about an “entertainment” company representing him—that he want’s to join the circus? And flood of innuendo does not establish anything but a keen interest in a conclusion.

    Yes, I get how this is to operate. Now that Hamilton is officially on parole, every time he spins, locks up, whatever, it means that we put the microscope up his backside until we can see Rihanna and Pharrel.

    Here is a single answer. It is the one given by Hamilton himself yesterday: right now, Jenson Button is doing a better job. But then again, what does he know.

    1. +1
      Jenson is doing a better job and might end the season ahead of Lewis and he acknowledges that. Everything after that is punditry and our opinions.

  54. Hamilton has lost out this season in two ways, speed and confidence. The reason? I thinks it’s all down to those Pirelli tyres.

    Hamilton can’t drive at 90% which these tyres sometimes require. As a result he’s been on the back foot and his confidence has suffered. His style is 100% attack 100% of the time. All of his success is built on that and this season he can’t do it.

    I’m sorry to say he seems a bit one dimensional and lacks the intelligence that Button obviously has in spades.

    If the tyres get more durable he will win again regularly if they don’t he will not.

    1. Smooth, quick, intelligent, all accurately describe Button, yet, he could easily end the season behind Lewis. He still can’t out qualify him to get in position to win races. Lewis is still the quicker driver.

      Where is the button that converts intelligence into real speed when it’s needed. When a car is not quick drivers don’t ask for more intelligence they want speed so they can race. Lewis will continue to be himself and that’s fine.

      1. button has 2 DNF not his fault and lost 20/30 points ; hamilton has not ,so certainly should finish ahead of him

        1. lewis has 2 dnfs too.and last season lewis got 4 dnfs,button only 2,yet lewis still finished the season with 26 more points.

  55. This is so simple. His mind was always at beating Vettel (cause that’s what you need to do to win the title) even when he was down in 4th 5th 6th (etc.) in race, and hasty decisions to rescue the situation often went wrong. Give him a car who is touching distance with the Bull and he’ll win it. Lewis has never changed.

    1. He had the car to challenge Red Bull in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, but mistakes and bad starts still crept in.

  56. Dont know if this link has been posted but it made a lot of sense.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/15066906.stm

  57. Don’t change Hamilton, there’s nothing wrong with your driving. We don’t want 24 Buttons on track, as good as they are I’m sure.

    Well, I guess I’m in the minority. But please explain why Schumacher only gets a reprimand at Singapore and perhaps I’ll calm down a bit.

    I’m biased and this is my opinion. He’s dumb, but he’s not reckless as some (many) people claim.

      1. So if Schumacher had damaged Perez’s car the penalty would have been different?

        Similarly if Lewis had driven the exact same way but the tyre did not suffer a puncture he would have got a different penalty perhaps?

        That doesn’t sit right with me because now we are talking about how much luck each driver has. What exactly is the crime we are punishing?

        1. That does seem to be the way it is.

  58. if you ask me its probably more to do with the lack of his fathers support more than his managers only keith is too polite to say that

    I don’t think jensons got anything to do with, after all he beats him every saturday with the exception of when he has problems

    the biggest issue is he’s frustrated the mclaren isn’t quite good enogh

    i’d bet a grand you put him in a car capable of winning and he’ll be straight back to his awsome ways

    I just hope it happens next year as watching him crash out of every other race is really starting to ”wee” me off!

  59. The biggest performance change has come from the Pirelli’s shoddy tires bringing lots of unpredicability to team’s race performance. Pundits trot out the same cliches about Hamilton been hard and Button easy on tires but the fact is that the teams’ struggles to get a measure of tire performance has made a lottery of a lot of set-up and race tactic work – up and down the grid. This effects everyone but the point being is that it makes races more susceptible to pitwall errors.

    Regarding his own errors Hamilton’s been no worse than Schumacher or Webber this season. What errors he commits simply get highlighted more because every egotisctical attention-whore wants a piece of him, Mansell, Lauda, Stewart etc. Put a negative spin on whatever happened, paint him as the devil and then pontificate in the accompanying spotlight. The same with drivers – Massa and Maldano – who want to distract from their own issues.
    Despite that – and Button’s points lead – Hamilton’s 6 front row’s to Button’s 1 show who’s been really trying to take the fight to Red Bull.

    1. While Hamilton has been pretty poor this year, he doesn’t deserve the amount of stick he’s been getting.

      He’s also taking being beaten by his team mate quite graciously (in public at least)… but he doesn’t get much credit for it.

      I wonder if Hamilton had swiped across Maldonado at Spa (imagine the roles reversed) how many would be calling for a year ban or a similar punishment?

      There’s no doubt Hamilton is often in need of a few more brain cells perhaps, but it’s just so over the top it’s ridiculous.

  60. Why would you bring up Spa 3 years ago? It’s not relevant to the conversation now. Your opinion of it is plain wrong in my opinion and I said so at the time. I’ve seen the exact same thing dealt with in the same way in other formulae. It just seems like you can’t deal with the fact that’s how it is, and you keep bringing it up to try and change everyone else’s opinion to match yours – it does you a disservice.

  61. The problem with Lewis is pressure, he can drive perfectly until there is pressure involved.

    In 2007 he drove beautiful until the tittle was nearing its end, then he could not cope with the pressure and lost in the end a huge lead to Kimi and almost to alonso. He did this by doing silly mistakes.

    China 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOIxQP5PUSM

    Brazil 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6kiPFOpFTM

    2008

    Canada http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=xnCsG0DlXkU&feature=related

    Fuji http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl5aMMRgTEk

    Plus he almost lost the title in brazil again when vettel overtook him in a toro roso

    In 2009
    Monza http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr9LUtu6fx4

    the list goes on and on

    1. The 2009 one is a bit irrelevant. It’s a case of he was just driving for fun at that point…

    2. Fuji 08, how is Massa running wide at the corner and then hitting Hamilton He`s fault?, Massa did get a drive through if memory serves me right.

  62. In a way it’s good to see Jenson getting the respect he deserves. I feel like when Lewis came on the scene in 2007, he commanded a lot of attention for being a phenomenal British driver when there was one present all along in Jenson. Button just spent too much time at Honda. I admire the loyalty Jenson had but at the same time he could have accomplished much more in a more competitive team.

    1. People didn’t see Jenson’s potential because Frank Williams made the mistake of keeping Ralf when Juan Pablo was recruited.

      1. Wasnt something like Jenson bought himself out of contract?… I can´t keep up with all those moves…

  63. Guys seriuosly, the guy is just having a hard time. There’s still 125 points to win. Lewis will bounce back and put Button way behind him. By then people will ignore the accidents etc and talk about Lewis the teamleader.

    Let’s put things in perspective: Button is driving the best of his career, while Lewis worst of his. And the difference is just 17 points…

    1. Errr, the whole point of the thread is to find out why. We know he is having a hard time, thank you.
      The difference is not “just” 17 points. JB has twice as many podiums, and still suffered 2 mechanical DNFs.

      I find it hard to grasp that people still think that in the next races “JB will show us how bad he really is” or “LH will thrash JB” or “LH will put JB WAY behind him”. None of this things have happened yet, certainly not this year

      LH may well catch JB, he may well finish ahead in the points, but come on, stop pretend he is 25× better than JB

    2. There’s still 125 points to win. Lewis will bounce back and put Button way behind him

      Seriously, I can’t wait to see Lewis back on top.

  64. The decisive problem for Hamilton was and is, simply put, that he wants to be the “new Ayrton Senna”. That is fairly obvious from his comments to the media (special focus on the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix) and other things such as his helmet design.

    The major problem with that is, aside from the obvious aspect that no modern race car driver should have Senna’s (on-track) behaviour as a role model, that it is just not possible for Hamilton or any other driver to actually reduplicate Senna’s style in modern Formula 1 for a number of reasons, up to and including noticeable reduced performance differences between the cars.

    So, Hamilton will not recover from this slump any time soon unless he scratches the whole Senna thing – start with a new helmet and go up to reducing the reckless behaviour on the track.

  65. I hope and i am sure Lewis will answer all his critics and unreasonable bashers(remember some top pundits saying Lewis would kill someone) on track. Maybe that is why he chose to ignore commenting on Massa’s incident and also before that on MSC’s incident.

    All he needs is a good qualifying position(Lewis often gets 2nd as Pole has been impossible this year, so no problem there) and a good start. I am sure he will win at least 1 more race this year. RBR will not develop the RB7 too much now as they have almost won both championships. Ferrari also will not develop their car so good chance for Mclaren and especially Lewis to end the year strongly with few wins.

    Offcourse that is what i think and given few reasons, it could very well be that at next race at Japan RBR takes pole by the biggest margin so far this year.

    All in all Hamilton needs a change of luck and company of top drivers at the starting grid and also while coming out of pits so that he doesn’t have to pass Massa-like, MSC-like drivers. So qualify top 3 and a good start = No problems. Good luck Hamilton.

  66. AM made the best comment so far and it’s a fact.

    Let’s put things in perspective: Button is driving the best of his career, while Lewis worst of his. And the difference is just 17 points…

    The problem I believe is, Lewis has overcompensated this year and with bad luck(not his fault) has turned out his worst year to date, mind you only 5th so far. For any other driver that isn’t bad. He’s being measured with a different yard stick as evidenced by the overwelming number of haters and yet he’s still favoured to win at almost every round.

    Vettel overtake on Alonso was risky but suddenly, even Bernie thinks that he had no weakness in overtaking meanwhile LH does many more awesome overtakes and when some go bad, the world cries.

    It’s time the public be fair and less biased against him as he’s well within the top 5 and will win again.

    Keith, who’s got the most overtakes this year? Any bet it’s the McLaren drivers 1-2.

    1. Might have some competition from Red Bull # 2.

  67. If Hamilton had a better car he wouldn’t need to take the risks and we would see a different driver, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation.

    Sadly, I fear Mclaren will struggle again at the beginning of next year. They keep making car that are based on elements of the car that keep getting banned so never have base from the previous you to develop from.
    2010 – 2011, F-duct and massive DD. Banned
    2011 – 2012, Extremely reliant on the OTBD. Banned
    It will be interesting to see what they do over the winter.

    1. Keith, it would be interesting to know the history of other teams getting consistently screwed by rule changes in the way Mclaren have been unlucky lately.

      Who else has had to keep starting from the ground up for more than 2 sessions in a row?

      1. I don’t know what you mean – the rules are the same for everyone.

        1. I never said they weren’t.

          Mclaren are being a bit unlucky that the design path / innovation gets banned in a season (the design concept the whole car is based around), yes it is the same for everyone (but they are one with different design concepts i.e not following RBR or trying too, at least Ferrari didn’t do that with pullrod suspension I suppose) They seem to be the only ones, by misfortune that are having to start from scratch every season for the last three years.

          It happened to Tyrrell and Williams in the past, but I’m struggling to remember it happening to anyone more recently.

  68. I think it is easily forgotten that in the history of F1 the WDC has been won by consistent drivers more than outrageously gifted ones.

    Lewis probably shares more with Gilles Villeneuver than he does his hero Senna. GV was a man of extravagant mercurial talents, but unable to win a WDC, for many reasons but an inability to bring a car home was one of them. It seems to be the way in any sport, the more extravagant the gifts the less consistent they can be. There are exceptions but they are exactly that.

    The miracle is that a man of Lewis’ driving style has won the WDC at all. We should enjoy what he is, not criticise what he isnt.

    There are plenty of nine tenths drivers, precious few ten tenths. I for one am glad he is around at all.

  69. I think that Lewis is simply fantastic,when he goes up for a move i think that everybody is excited because you know he is fantastic.The problem is his car is not that good,he is very unlucky and things are just not going for him.But he will be back next year,and i hope that Lewis or Jenson win the title.Oh and i would love to see Ron Dennis as the team principal again.I just don’t think Martin Withmarsh is up to the task.

  70. I apologise in advance for the LONG, LONG post and for any points i may be repeating from other peoples posts but here’s my take on it.

    First of all i am a huge fan of lewis and i think its fair to say Hamilton is 1 of the most gifted drivers of the last 20 years. He has superb car control and over a single lap i think its very close between him and vettel. Hamilton has often qualified the mclaren in places it should not be. He has produced some outstanding drives in his short career e.g Canada 07, Fuji 07, Silverstone 08, China 08, China and Nurburgring this year.

    I agree with keith, there isnt 1 thing here thats causing the problem its the culmination of factors creating 1 big problem. I have listed what i believe the problems are below:

    1: Aggressive Driving Style – There’s no doubt its great to watch, seeing a lewis qualifying lap on board is a great thing when hes throwing the car into corners and the back end is flying about. In the races he tends to overtake more than any other driver but these past 2 seasons he’s been trying moves that were not maybe necessary. Schumacher was as aggressive as anything else seen in f1 but he knew when to pull out of a move, hamilton doesnt seem to be learning that sometimes he has to tuck back in and wait for the next opportunity.

    2: Management – In fairness to hamilton, yes he has every right to pursue interests outside of f1 but if his career goes downhill the opportunities in the entertainment arena wont be there for him to take anyway. He needs his father back by him and to concentrate on racing and maximising his talent.

    3: Short Sighted – Where hamilton falls short to Button is his inability to look at the bigger picture it seems. Hamilton would rather go off chasing 1st place than finnish second, you wont win championships like that..

    4: Perceived image of himself – Everyone knows hamilton’s hero was senna. Personally i dont think the problem is he sees himself as the next senna (i dont think he thinks that anyway) i think its more that he believes he can be 1 of the all time greats of f1 and that leads him to believing he has to try and win every single race, hes in only his 5th season he has potentially another 10+ years yet so he needs to take his time a bit more and drive for the maximum result rather than trying to push his car to places it cant go. thats what leads to mistakes.

    Thats the main problems in my opinion, i do believe however he will sort them out. There is no doubt he’s frustrated that bar 07/08 hes never had the car that could go to every race with the potential to win. Since then hes been trying to compensate for the lack of performance within his car from himself. If hamilton had a red bull i have no doubt he would be producing similar results to vettel right now.

    I hope mclaren can produce a car as good as a the red bull next year (lewis needs to make sure his input is put onto the design too to bring it more to his driving style) and then im sure many wins will follow.

    I think this is more of a phase, give hamilton a championship winning car and he will deliver and in my mind he will go on to be the most successful british driver of all time.

  71. Hamilton has a problem when he is out of position.
    He knows he can go faster and can’t wait.
    I do think the opposition knows he is so aggressive and will take adventage of it.

    He needs to do a better job then what he is doing.
    But I still believe he is the biggest talent in F1 today.
    Put him in the fastest car (like vettel atm). And he will dominate like all the big names in history have managed. I don’t think he ever had the fastest car in F1, except maybe 2007.

  72. Lewis does not need Simon Fuller as his manager, it’s certainly not doing him any good at all. Maybe he’s been partying too much hence the lack of concentration. F1 is a very sharp edged sport, a flick in losing focus and that’s it.

    As for his style of driving I don’t see any difference, still aggressive but too many mistakes, not the 2007 Lewis at all. If Lewis is wise he should reinstate his father. Look at DiResta he’s doing fine.

    Forget the pop world Lewis, stick to racing and you’ll still make tons of money.

  73. Hamilton has been controversial throughout his F1 career and indeed before.

    Massa say’s “he doesn’t learn” and from 2007 that’s been demonstrated time and time again, unfortunately LH seems destined to repeat the same errors ad infinitum.

    He’s increasing and rightly criticised as was Schumacher but at least ‘Shue’ had a plan and was calculating, Hamilton abjectly fails to see beyond the moment putting either his car or both feet straight in.

    While unsuccessful efforts have been made over the last 5-years, the reality is no amount of management has contained his excesses.

    One surmises the problem is in Hamilton’s head and nowhere else, and while one can ask who it was that shaped that personality, it’s probably far too late to do very much about it.

    Will the ‘Hamilton Effect” dissuade rival teams from signing him at any point, based on his behaviour and indeed achievements to date it seems that may be true for all the top team’s.

    1. Any team in the paddock would sign Lewis on the spot.. Don’t doubt that for one second… ANY team :)

      Schumi had one big plus.. a car wich he had on pole everytime..
      Now that he is racing midfield. He makes MANY many mistakes as well.

      1. Schumacher actually took far more wins than he did poles.

  74. I think Hamilton’s problem is incredibly simple: He obvisouly believes that he is in a class of his own and that none of the other drivers on track share his abilities. Coupled with his dubious off-track persona, means that he has become increasingly arrogant.

    Being beaten on the track means that he is over-driving by trying to force his way past opponents that he considers to be less talented than him.

    I really think McLaren should drop Hamilton and put Di Resta in his car. That would be a formidable driver pairing.

    1. Every driver who has the past history of learning/honing their skills because of karting exhibited similar attributes. They have those peculiar killer instincts to beat the opposition. Lewis of the same kind following Senna, Schumi, Mika…..

      His mistakes are nothing to do with arrogance. I would go with the word aggressive and the attack; attack at all times mindset. Everyone was impressed when he made the overtaking move on JB @ Shanghai 2011. That was classic Lewis who wouldn’t hesitate to go for the gap. If it were Feliple or Schumi [oh no, it hurts :-( ] in JB’s place, it would have been a different discussion. Every incident that Lewis was involved in this year….not all of them were down to his own mistake. Whatever he learned when he was a kid; he carries the same passion while driving an F1 car. That’s the way he is & that’s the way he is going to stay. I never seen him deliberately muscle past a slow car. Many of the posts here state he started his career in McLaren & that he is spoiled rotten – one reason for his arrogance. By the way, only few of us believe him genuinely deserved to be in that position – his road to that seat wasn’t easy, was it? He is a onetime WDC… expecting & demanding a competitive car to fight at the front. What’s wrong with that? Also, he doesn’t make too many mistakes under pressure….. and if we see his GP2 career, he was respected for this immaculate skill.

      Why do we even attack his personaility by talking about his off track life?

  75. Ever since I started following this site in 2008, I’ve critized how F1Fanatic favors Hamilton. However, some of the recent articles (not just this one) have shown that this is no longer an issue. In my books F1Fanatic is now the best F1 site on the Internet. Nice work!

    1. Wasn’t/isn’t that the case everywhere, Hamilton could no wrong, though it’s not helping when you feel like the lone voice in the wilderness, but you were never alone.

      F1 public opinion has received a long overdue reality check over Hamilton, but still there’s the impression this is a local issue so to speak, ie something temporary occurred to change this wonderful person into what most acknowledge is someone less then edifying.

      Thing is the more astute recognised Hamilton’s less savoury traits long ago and said so, Matthew Syed in The Times was one. I still archive his article on Hamilton after LieGate (in 08/09 I think).

      But the thing is, not even Hamilton’s most vocal critic doesn’t want him to succeed, what they’ed like is for him to do it in the right way. The same went for Schumacher, and if he can’t then like some of Schumacher’s there’re really not worth having.

    2. There’s been no change in the editorial position of the site in terms of backing one driver or another. It’s never been something I’ve set out to do.

      1. Some people don’t get that a driver in the picture gets talked about.
        Last year he had a very solid year and voted nr1 driver on many sites. Some people that don’t look further then results don’t get the full picture.
        Just like people are mad at bbc that they talk too much to the same teams.. Well they talk to the teams that matter the most… and that want to talk to them!
        Why does Martin talk so much with Jenson on the grid? …Because he wants to talk!

        1. Obviously I wasn’t talking about how often Lewis has been mentioned on this site. This should be clear since I said F1Fanatic is not favoring Hamilton anymore in an article about Hamilton.

  76. Sorry Keith, I think this is an over reaction. This season’s prospects were signed and sealed with three words Vettel, Red & Bull.

    I don’t think there’s anything else to it – hard to focus at the level Lewis performs when the prospects are not ideal.

    I think Lewis’ question over the radio at Singapore said it all, words to the effect: “Is there anything worth racing for here guys?” When dangled a carrot and a team demand he performed flawlessly.

    McLaren just need to deliver another championship potential car and do as Red Bull. Feign equality for drivers whilst skilfully doing something else.

    Lewis will leave Jenson for breakfast, dinner & tea, always, given an objective worth pursuing…

    1. I think is just “Red Bull”

      1. No, it is “Vettel” and “Red Bull”.

  77. Hardbrakingmike
    29th September 2011, 14:14

    I’m not worried about Hamilton. He is too good of a driver to become ‘squandered potential’. Yes his recent dip in form is disappointing to say the least, but I simply cannot imagine Hamilton not challenging for the title ever again. Its ridiculous that there is even speculation of this.

    If anything its flattering for him to receive this much column inches even when hes performing the way he is. It goes to show the high standard that we expect of him – and we should never expect anything less from the most watchable and exciting driver in F1.

    He is the reason I watch the sport and i’m certain i’m not the only one here that thinks this.

    I’m surprised its only 17 points from 5th and 2nd. Will be a great battle for 2nd right till the end. Hamilton is in that contest no doubt about it.

    Having said this, great job from Jenson this season. Always knew he had great ability since his BAR Honda days, and he is fulfilling this potential with ease right now.

  78. I think his mayor problem is his current management. An emotional driver like him needs a close and strong management behind him controlling his crisis; obviously this year that hasn’t been the case. This problem reflected even since his new manager arrived with a bad attitude towards McLaren, now i think they have reconsidered that attitude because he has nowhere else to go (speaking of very competitive F1 teams) and Lewis does not have the car-developing abilities of M.S. or Alonso to take a small team and turn it into a great one.

    A F1 driver can’t have a superstar management, they are over the top sportsmen, not artists.

  79. Very good article Keith. I would also note the absence of Ron Dennis as team principal as adding to Lewis Hamilton’s downturn in recent years. I believe his relationship breakdown with his father, and Dennis resigning from his role at McLaren, are highly important in understanding this dip in form. Having your father with you your entire racing career, from racing carts to Formula One, must have some value.
    I have noticed that Jenson Button always has his dad at the grands prix, which must give a driver support and comfort, especially during bad times.
    In 2007 many criticised Ron Dennie for ‘supporting’ Hamilton more than Fernando Alonso, because Hamilton had been Dennis’ ‘find’ back in 1995. His driver that he had helped develop into a Formula One champion come 2008. Those days have come and gone.
    I have my doubts that Lewis enjoys quite the same understanding with Martin Whitmarsh that he did with Dennis. Maybe Whitmarsh doesn’t care who wins championships, just as long as it is in a McLaren? If true, that is a far cry from 2007 and the alleged ‘bias’ towards Hamilton that Alonso fans claim cost the Spaniard a third title!
    Button it would appear has thrived at being the underdog at McLaren, a driver most thought Hamilton would destroy much like he did Heikki Kovalainen. That has not been the case. Now Hamilton is Fernando Alonso circa 2007. It is Lewis who is the former world champion expected to deliver world titles but instead is losing to a team mate few thought good enough to ever challenge him. The media scrutiny at all of the mistakes, the outbursts, and penalties.
    And who does Lewis have to fall back on for advice? A member of the Pussycat Dolls? He needs to look at the reasons for his success four years ago and ask himself what is missing now that was not then! This year’s car is not the best, it is not an Adrian Newey wonder like the Red Bull is, but in Button’s hands it is certainly as good as the Ferrari. That is a fact that must surely weigh heavily on Hamilton’s mind. For the first time since 2007, he is at serious risk of being beaten by the guy in the sister McLaren. That, just two years ago, would have been unthinkable.

  80. Hardbrakingmike
    29th September 2011, 14:39

    It really doesnt matter whether all this criticism towards Lewis is justified or not. I really couldn’t care less if this whole site started sticking up for him and explaining his dip in form. What is indisputable is that Lewis isnt performing to the level that we all know he is capable of. Thats the only issue here. Its not down to his management, or the change in rules this year which has nullified his overtaking talents, nor is it that Buttons increase in performance relative to lewis is pressurising him. THOSE are all excuses. No one can explain his error prone season except for the man himself.

    This is coming from a massive Hamilton who believes thats its not a matter of if he gets out of this slump, but simply when.

  81. question: what happened with Lewis since middle of last season when he started to make silly mistakes

  82. Seems that the articles with most comments are the ones about hamilton, this guy is the spice for the F1 at moment. Enough said.

  83. hamilton will not win another wdc unless he moves team.
    the relationship were he is has become stale and check out the body language of the people in his crew when he is around how nobody is smiling or just having a chat and then look at buttons crew and it leads you to believe that hamilton is not well liked and is too formal. when you look at redbull you see that they have allot of fun and I think that comes across in the racing.

    1. Really? They looked really happy when he won Germany two months ago… he even jump the barrier…

      1. You must be the only one that noticed that jump. The guy is a MEGA athlete.

  84. Its always darkest before the dawn. Lewis is a genius, it will show…..eventually.

  85. Even with all of Vettel’s success, the spotlight remains on Hamilton.
    You can find all the logical reasons to deny it, but in the back of your minds the feeling remains – he is the best, and the thought is uncomfortable.

    Good things the cars are not always equal it would be embarrassing.

  86. Lewis seems to be getting a lot of penalties every time he sneezes – like what Prisoner Monkey said – If a teacher has a problematic child they will continue issue punishments until they behave. And if this is the case then it is justifiable regardless of whom it is.

    I don’t think Lewis is threatened by Jenson for the following reasons;
    * They get along off the track, and being the same nationality also helps
    * Lewis recommended that McLaren pursue Jenson as a worthy team mate
    * Lewis has confidence in his own abilities but is respectful that Jenson is getting more out of the car than he currently can.
    * Neither Lewis not Jenson have purposely wrecked each other’s race like Alonso did to Lewis in the first year with the pit stop fiasco – same with Villeneuve and Jenson when they were at BAR. So they get along while on the track too. A majority of their stoushes on track have been good and neither have ran each other off the track. With the exception of Canada – where Lewis was coming up the side of Jenson in the wet. Lewis would have been in the ¾ blind spot and the spray from the cars would have been impossible to see anyone behind (hence the FIA mandates the flashing red light at the rear) – perhaps the FIA needs to look at flashing front lights for wet races. All you guys thinking it was Jenson’s fault are delusional.

    It seems you Lewis fan boys seem to be more threatened by Jenson’s performance than Lewis is. It’s probably the same group of people that don’t believe Jenson deserved his WDC in 2009. Some of you claim it’s Jenson’s people that are giving him the media hype, but you know, it’s Lewis that’s hired a marketing firm to manage him – figure that one out?

    It takes good results to get good comments, and crashes to get negative ones.

  87. Whatever the root of the problem is, it threatens to turn the career of a driver who produced one of the greatest rookie performances ever seen, into a case study in squandered potential.

    My thoughts exactly Keith, and as a big Hamilton fan, that’s what worries me at the moment.

    For me, there’s that 5% that was there in 07 and 08, and to a slightly lesser extent in 09 and 10, that 5% that makes him such a great driver is just below the surface right now. He’s putting his car into positions it shouldn’t be in (Monaco, Canada, Singapore etc) and when he goes too far the other way (Monza) he’s not the Lewis I know.

    I feel confident he’ll find it again, but he has to find himself first. (Yes, I know that’s cheesy but it’s the best I could come up with. :) )

    Nathan

    1. kenneth Ntulume
      30th September 2011, 13:45

      This Headline is ignorant of an f1 enthusiast like Keith.
      Nothing has gone wrong with Hamilton,
      he is just trying hardest, than what the car can do (superman)……..
      Lewis wants to beat the Red-bull (Vettel) not to be second(JB) and play it safe…..
      he is thus taking unusually more risks, to squeeze better performance out of that car, there is no way LEWIS would have been ahead of Vettel by driving normally, givin the abnormal superiority of Vettels car, in a 2nd/3rd best car on the grid..
      no1 is still his default preference, please note, most of his, if not all , his penalties this year are a result of an attempt to overtake and gain a position thus move ahead and win races not bad driving perse….i thought this is what winning is all about….Hamilton knows well the world never remembers No 2, No3, smooth as silk drivers……it remembers spectacular drivers and winners…..ONLY NO 1…now that is impossible for him to win the championship, he still tries to win races, becoz thats what he does…winning,.

      PLEASE be wise, CHANGE your heading to, Against all odds Hamilton attempts to win races in 2011

      1. The headline is fine. Some of the crashes he’s had are from situations he probably would have cleanly made the pass in the previous 4 seasons. His errors haven’t been in the “pushing hard to win” mould of Monza 09.

  88. lewis wants to win races,because thats the only way to win the championship.coming 2nd and 3rd wont win you the championship.this is why lewis goes all out for wins.its all or nothing.at the end of the day his team mate hasnt come close to winning the championship himself this season.
    lewis doesnt need to be more like button,he just needs to get back to his best.he got 2 more dnfs than button last season and still finished the season with 26 more points,so button with 2dnfs like lewis this season should finish the season with more points than lewis easily considering all the praise he’s been getting.
    if he doesnt that’ll say alot about each driver.

  89. Lewis does not impress me at all. He has his moments as a driver, but as a person he is truly lacking. His personality appears phony and manufactured. He demonstrates little growth and does not seem to learn from his mistakes, making the same errors time and again then continues to blame other drivers, stewards, etc. Champions do not act this way .. there is a reason Vettel is dominating. He has developed, he has grown, he has learned from his mistakes and each race he gets stronger and more formidable. In short he is leaving Lewis behind on the track and in ability.

  90. What’s wrong with Lewis Hamilton?

    Simple.

    He’s human and in the spotlight. A very large and critical spotlight at that, wielded by armchair experts who seemingly know him better that he does himself.

    I’m pretty sure we’ll see Hamilton take another WDC.

  91. Constantly having to deny rumours about getting married to his much older girlfriend can’t help his state of mind too much. I suspect that behind the scenes there is/has been more pressure on Hamilton here than is common knowledge.

    Even as an Alonso fan I want to see Hamilton back on form; at least when he wins a race I usually feel that I’ve witnessed a worthy winner unlike the utterly hollow feeling I have seeing Vettel win yet another race from pole.

    And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he upsets the Whitmarsh/Button/BBC love-in by finishing ahead of Button this season.

  92. The problem with Lewis is that he believes he’s channeling the Late Ayrton Senna’s spirit in his racing. This would be fine if Lewis was indeed in same league as the late master but unfortunately he is simply not. There will never be another Ayrton Senna. If Lewis is serious about leaving his mark in the sport he would do very well instead to take a leaf or two out of the Alain Prost book of cerebral racing without overly abandoning the jaw droppingly blsitering natural speed that has come to define and deify in the eyes of his many fans.

  93. The problem with Lewis is that he believes he’s channeling the Late Ayrton Senna’s spirit in his racing. This would be fine if Lewis was indeed in same league as the late master but unfortunately he is simply not. There will never be another Ayrton Senna. If Lewis is serious about leaving his mark in the sport he would do very well instead to take a leaf or two out of the Alain Prost book of cerebral racing without overly abandoning the jaw droppingly blsitering natural speed that has come to define and deify him in the eyes of his many fans.

  94. Lewis is simply the BEST in F1 right now. Vettel is NOT on his level (Vettel is probably in the same league as Button, Rosberg, Massa and the like).
    Lewis’ only competition on the grid right is Alonso, whom he beat a rookie :-)

    1. Based on this season, if Vettel hasn’t been on Hamilton’s level, then he’s been well above it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.