Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011

Whitmarsh: Hamilton ‘underestimated Button’

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2011
Hamilton and Button battle for position in Hungary

Martin Whitmarsh says Lewis Hamilton underestimated the threat posed by Jenson Button.

Button joined the team last year and this season became the first of Hamilton’s team mates to beat him in the championship standings in F1.

Asked by the official F1 website if Hamilton underestimated Button, the McLaren team principal said: “Possibly. He probably did, yes.

“Let?s be open about it. Lewis, throughout his career, has destroyed every team mate that?s come his way.

“Bear in mind that in many ways he virtually destroyed Fernando Alonso when Fernando was a two-time world champion and Lewis was a rookie. He did the same with Nico Rosberg in karting frankly – and every other team mate on his way into Formula 1.

“He was disarmed by Jenson at the beginning and he probably thought that he was a nice guy, but he?d beat him. And he was probably surprised. Jenson on the other hand is of course also keen to beat his team mate but he would never do it in an underhand manner.

“For both drivers it?s true that there are no politics involved and both want to contribute equally to the team. Of course when you join a team as a driver and know that I have known Lewis since he was 11 you might question whether you would be treated equally.

“But all the talk about who is the number one driver in the team is media-made, as McLaren have always been a team that let their drivers race. That is our spirit and we remain true to it.”

Whitmarsh added: “for Lewis, by his own extraordinary standards, it?s been a disappointing year. Lewis expects more from himself and the world expects more from Lewis, so this season has been very challenging for him. There?s been a lot going on in his life.”

He said Button’s style leads people to underestimate him: “Jenson on the other hand is a person that is easily underestimated.

“You could ask whether he really is a fighter and whether he has the hunger, because he has such superb manner. Sometimes that might be a worry before you know him better, but I have to say that I know him a lot better now.

“You only have to stand back to see how hard he?s raced and how hard he pushed in Canada for his incredible win. It was raw determination.

“He has his battles with Lewis and wants to beat Lewis and that?s as we want it to be. I think we have a very good dynamic in the team because I know that teams can often talk about tranquillity and relationships in a team and put some spin on it, but I think that anyone who witnesses our drivers sees that there is genuine respect there.

“Even in the heat of the moment like in Canada where Lewis could have been easy meat for the media he showed extraordinary maturity and the way it was handled spoke volumes about the relationship in the team and especially between the two guys.”

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188 comments on “Whitmarsh: Hamilton ‘underestimated Button’”

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  1. In the meantime, while our beloved British neighbours passionately argue to know which one of their world champions in best, we French people are so happy : there will be a frenchman in F1 next year. The team ? Virgin/Marussia.


    1. But who knows what Pic might be up to, a real renessance of the French F1 hopes ;-)

  2. “Asked if Hamilton underestimated Button, the McLaren team principal said: “Possibly. He probably did, yes””

    Why speculate in such a way, considering Hamilton’s never said anything of the sort and is not hard to find if his team boss wants to know the truth of the matter? How does McLaren or either of their drivers benefit from Whitmarsh’s pointless attempt at mind-reading?

    “he virtually destroyed Fernando Alonso”

    If Hamilton “destroyed” Alonso – on count back – in 07 then how would Whitmarsh describe the difference between Button and Hamilton last year?

    Hamilton’s never, even when trouncing him previously, said a bad word about Button or played up the difference in performance but now Button’s out performed him his own team boss jumps on the anti-Hamilton bandwagon. Whitmarsh is well out of order and needs a good slap from Ron.

    1. He jumps on the anti-Hamilton bandwagon by pointing out his good past performance against Alonso and Rosberg?

    2. Point 1: he answered a question.
      Point 2: “destroyed” is not only a points tally problem. It is also in the mind. FA was a 2-times World Champion, and a rookie scored as heavily as he did. That must be disturbing. What MW means with “in some ways” is morale destruction i think.

      Now when has LH tounced JB ? Not last year anyway.

      I don’t think MW jumped on the anti LH bandwagon neither. How is saying he probably underestimated JB being anti LH ? Everyone has the right to underestimate JB and every one did !

      Furthermore, why always saying “LH has his worst season” ???
      Assuming a 4th place in Sao Paolo he’ll finish with 1 pt less than last year. A podium and he did better, with at least one more win. So please people, stop with that childish “JB has had his best season while LH has had his worst” !

      1. Worst in terms of performance, mistakes… Jenson had his best season and Lewis it’s worst. That’s a fact. If that will influence how you grade a driver, it’s up to you, but you can’t fight with facts.

  3. Whitmarsh’s comments are uncalled for and very unprofessional of him. Even if Hamilton underestimated Button (he hasn’t said that in public), there is no need to say that. This is the second negative comment about Hamilton in the last couple of weeks and that just gives the impression of an attempt to big up Button. He could have answered the question in a more professional way.

    He needs to focus on his own ability of leading the team to produce a car worthy of winning championships and stop the little digs at Hamilton.

    Maybe Hamilton is frustrated by the team’s inability to deliver championship winning cars and not Buttons points. Afterall if you compare the two drivers, of the 18 races so far, Hamilton has scored points head of Button 9 times and vice versa. On qualifying, Hamilton has qualified ahead of Button 12 times and Button qualified ahead of Hamilton 6 times. Hamilton beat Button last year and Button is set to beat Hamilton this year. It’s not the end of the world. The team should focus on delivering a good car and leave the driving to the drivers!

  4. MW has said the same thing twice in the past few months and both times Lewis has denied it and very forcefully too. Shouldn’t he refrain from any more comments on this or tone it down a little, knowing it will only annoy Lewis more? Or is that what his intention is?

  5. I don’t know about Martin but I agree that Button even many here,many thought & still think that his 09 WC isn’t a deserving one,but I think he proved this season what he is really capable of, some of his drive (Canada,Spa,Monza,Monaco) were surely amazing,something which I thought I will not see from him.One of the biggest difference has been stability within the team, performance & personal life,everywhere Button has been ahead of Hamilton,I hope HAM finds his momentum soon.

  6. I know it’s not bang on topic. Lewis pre-race interview with Jake and his comments about Jensen having it together and his comment critical of his father.

    These comments really made me uncomfortable. I found the comments disturbing and I felt not a little embarrassed for Lewis. He just sounded weak and had a poor me attitude. It also highlighted for me the fact that Lewis isn’t back in the groove and doesn’t seem have worked out what has gone wrong this year. He is still pointing fingers at everything and everyone else. Also whining about not having things like Jensen, a girlfriend, supportive father.

    If this is his state of mind and all that he has learned for this years problems, then he is just the same if not worse than the beginning of the year.

    A lot of comments on this thread state Lewis is back after his race win both driving and mentally. I found it to be the exact opposite. I am not a fan of Lewis but listening to him in that interview I felt sorry for him and thought this poor young man is messed up.

  7. JackBrabhamfan
    17th November 2011, 3:57

    Two words! Sam Michael! Ron Dennis made has made Sam director of racing and he is going to be in charge of race operations. In his first race in an unofficial capacity, Mclarens pit stops were the fastest, only the second time this year. Lewis was smiling and won the race.

    MW can feel his power slipping away. I will not be too surprised if he is kicked upstairs and Sam is made Team principal.

  8. The only reason Button beats Hamilton this season is not because Button is a brilliant driver, but because Hamilton have made a lot of mess for himself.

    There is no doubt who of those two drivers who’s the faster one.

  9. Having read all the comments so far it seems a lot of people are looking at Whitmarsh’s remark about Hamilton “virtually destroying” Alonso, pointing at the 2007 points tally and questioning his judgement.

    I think that’s because Whitmarsh isn’t referring to the points that year. Remember he’s been at McLaren so long he’s part of the furniture. He saw the Alonso chapter from day one.

    McLaren spent more time anticipating Alonso’s arrival than he actually spent driving for them. And we know that as early as March 2007 Alonso was talking to Flavio Briatore about going back to Renault. Whatever Alonso didn’t like about sharing a team with Hamilton, he felt it from day one.

    Alonso was supposed to be a major, long-term signing for the team – instead he was out in less than 12 months. When Whitmarsh says Hamilton “virtually destroyed” Alonso, I’m sure it’s this he’s talking about.

    1. Erm, Alonso did win 2 WDC’s with Renault. At the time, that is ’07, Ron was prepping team for arrival of Lewis, news of which was in media since ’05. Infact they brought forward the arrival of Lewis into F1 by a year. Who knows what was in the contract of Alonso. May be he indeed was to be number 1 at Macca and he didn’t like the situation he found instead, which was the team solidly behind Lewis. Another reason could have been spygate, where he may have feared a ban for McLaren and was just having a backup ready, just in case… The thing is, no one knows what Alonso came up against, but Alonso. Alonso is the same guy who went at Schumacher at 130R and i’m certain that every man can break given the push, but Alonso would have seen/ experienced something to result in what you quoted.

      1. The thing is, no one knows what Alonso came up against, but Alonso.

        I suspect Marthin Whitmarsh did, and that’s who we’re talking about.

    2. Maybe McLaren had something to do on the subjetc. Hamilton virtually destroyed Alonso, and as Dennis said, McLaren raced him.

    3. Don’t agree with you on that one Keith.

      MW said
      “Bear in mind that in many ways he virtually destroyed Fernando Alonso when Fernando was a two-time world champion and Lewis was a rookie. He did the same with Nico Rosberg in karting frankly – and every other team mate on his way into Formula 1.”

      He clearly means that Hamilton dominated Alonso and drove much better than him.

      It might appear that Hamilton dominated Alonso and that is mainly because of the reputation they came into that year, Alonso a 2 time champion and Hamilton a rookie. If Alonso was given a year to get used to the car then we would have seen the true difference between them. Unfortunately we did not.

      I think MW is trying to highlight the above to state how strong Button is. For whatever reason, i am not saying it is because he favours Button but Martin seems to feel the need to impress upon people how good Button’s year has been. Maybe because most people still don’t give credit to Button for this year.

      Personally i feel Button and Hamilton have been evenly matched because they have different strengths. Hamilton is struggling with tyres this year, he still has not got it right. Maybe because he likes a loose rear end and that destroys the Pirelli’s much faster. In the end they have been evenly matched. I expected more from Hamilton and still do, only time will tell us if he will wake up.

      1. If Alonso was given a year to get used to the car then we would have seen the true difference between them.

        I don’t buy that. It’s not as if Hamilton had much of a head start on him. And Alonso had five years of F1 experience to draw on.

  10. Why does Whitmarsh feel he needs to say these things ?
    You don’t hear Horner talking down Webber during interviews and you don’t hear Domenicali talking down Massa but both have been very much destroyed by their respective team mates.
    It’s obvious to anyone on the outside that Button is he’s golden boy.
    The only thing Hamilton underestimates on a regular bases is at what point Massa will turn in on him !!

    1. Why does Whitmarsh feel he needs to say these things ?

      He’s a significant figure in F1, which means journalists ask him questions, which he then answers.

      I’d rather he did that than duck every question, which a lot of people in his situation tend to do.

      Does it really make a difference to Hamilton or Button? I seriously doubt it.

      1. But it does matter, he is the team principle and everything he says matters.

        He has to say what he feels and which he is. Good for us.

      2. Keith,
        There are many important people in this world who have questions fired at them on a daily bases, most of them are able to answer those questions without bringing their own personal feelings into the equation and in a way that doesn’t offend anyone.
        Simply saying ‘he’s important and was asked the question’ is not an excuse.
        Of course it makes a difference to a driver if he’s team principle is saying he cracked under pressure from his team mate and he underestimated him.

      3. @Keith Collantine i have to disagree with you on this one. Yes, its good for Whitmarsh not to duck questions but there is a difference between answering questions based on facts and answers based on assumption without consideration to the issues it creates.
        “Does it really make a difference to Hamilton or Button? I seriously doubt it.”

        Ofcourse it does! Did Hamilton tell Whitmarsh he underestimated Button? This stamement about understimation is a tad childish and puts Hamilton in a bad light considering the fact that Hamilton has said that he respects Button and welcome the challenge he brings.

        I’m sure another team boss would have said a simple know or doesn’t think so and that would have been the end of it.

        I see no benefit in the given by Whitmarsh and i suggest he focus on his role as the team boss and deliver a championship winning car, which is his primary role!

  11. I’m not sure why we’re paying that much attention to the usual “boost-like” comments that every manager is supposed to say.
    “Lewis is great, he will beat anyone, etc, etc.” OK, we got, we know, let’s see.

    But, so far that hasn’t been the case with Button?

  12. No Mr. withmarsh, Hamilton underestimated you.

    Since Button joined Mclaren, Hamilton has got on very well with Button and doesn’t mind being beaten by him.
    What you, Mr. withmarsh has done, is focused on getting Button to finish ahead of Hamilton rather than focus on getting your drivers to finish ahead of Redbull.
    You have diluted every effort Hamilton has made by changing his race strategy to a ridiculous one mid race. You have giving Button the favourable pit stops even when he is not in contention for a podium position, and then used strategy to try get him ahead of Hamilton, whenever they were running close to each other.

    Your endless fascination with Button finishing ahead of Hamilton, instead of Button finishing ahead of Vettel, has cost you a driver’s title and a constructors title.
    You were lucky Ferrari had trouble getting heat into their tyres, and Mercedes, not being able to preserve theirs.

    First take a look at the numerous instances where your strategy has messed up Hamilton’s race or qualifying, then focus on what your team’s objective is. Because right now, your corporate objective is getting Button ahead of Hamilton rather than winning championships.

    1. Care to offer any proof for any of this?

      1. jackbrabhamfan
        17th November 2011, 12:23

        I will try to provide you with some proof……

        Lewis’s screwup (and I will grant you even the questionable ones, except when the stewards found the other party at fault)….
        Malaysia -Alonso incident and drive through
        Monaco- Massa and Maldonaldo
        Canada- Button Crash
        Hungary- Spin, deResta drive though
        Spa- Kobiyashi crash
        Singapore – Massa.
        India P1 yellow flag

        Now lets look at the team screw ups…..
        Malaysia, early tire first pitstop and change, very slow second pit stop which gave the 2nd place to Jenson and later the Alonso incident.
        Monaco….screwup in Q3 and Lewis’ final run spoilt by Perez crash
        Britain – screwup in Q3, and low fuel warning which cost a podium.
        Hungary- Wrong tire type of change while Jenson was put on the right tires within the next two laps.
        Singapore q3 fuelling issues.
        Japan- Q3 sending Lewis soon after Jenson with very little time to spare.
        In the race calling in Lewis on an erroneous slow tire puncture call.

        Jenson’s wins in Hungary and Japan came after Lewis was screwed with wrong tire calls.

        And qualified faster than Lewis when his final runs were aborted or disrupted in Monaco, Britain and Japan.

        This is not to say that Jenson is not a great driver. He is. And he was screwed by McLaren at least once in qualifying and twice during the race.

        So before MW starts reading Lewis’s thoughts, he should clean up his performance as he as the team leader has screwed Lewis more than Lewis has screwed him. Lewis has never said that he has underestimated Jenson and speaks always about him with affection and respect.

        And the dig about destroying Fernando seems like very cynical attempt to dig up old wounds just as Lewis and Fernando are becoming very complimentary of each other..

        And you ask proof of Oliver’s post supporting Lewis and critical of MW. To be fair, you then should ask proof from MW about Lewis’s underestimation of Jenson……

        1. jackbrabhamfan
          17th November 2011, 12:29

          And I emphasize the Q3 screwups…… because Horner gets Vettel to lap as the last driver on every Q3. And when Mclaren tries to do it, they screwup……..

        2. And where exactly is your proof in that litany of circumstance?

          The lengths you’ve gone to try to pin blame on McLaren for the most innocent of mistakes is almost comical. Take Hungary for example – Button made his own decision not to come in for tyres, there was nothing stopping Hamilton from doing the same.

          Not only is there no evidence here that Whitmarsh has done anything wrong, there is nothing that proves anyone has done anything even slightly dodgy. You’re letting your imagination run away with you and turn the odd blunder here and there into some heinous conspiracy.

          A few pit wall gaffes proves nothing more than that mistakes happen. Red Bull and Ferrari dropped the ball last weekend, it’ll be someone else next weekend.

          1. I agree with you on this particular point, but i have to say that your will to defend Withmarsh and Button is something amazing.

          2. jackbrabhamfan
            17th November 2011, 13:49

            Oliver said…”First take a look at the numerous instances where your strategy has messed up Hamilton’s race or qualifying, then focus on what your team’s objective is…”

            And you ask for proof of the messed up strategy….

            I give you examples…..

            …. and you claim that I am accusing MW of some heinous conspiracy….

            No Keith, I am not. I am accusing him of something worse….. Incompetence! Did you read the part when I said Jenson was affected too?

            You say…”Take Hungary for example – Button made his own decision not to come in for tyres, there was nothing stopping Hamilton from doing the same”. Now you blame Lewis for following pit instructions?

            “A few pit wall gaffes proves nothing more than that mistakes happen”. Of course they do…… But this is more than a few…. Which directly or indirectly led to a lot of Lewis’s incidents…(Malaysia, Monaco, Spa, Hungary, Singapore and Japan)

            You are extraordinarily supporting and forgiving of MW. Admirable trait indeed. I only wish you were as consistent across the board!

            An article on Lewis highlighting all his faults and psychological issues would seem more balanced if they include the team induced issues as well.

            And you haven’t responded comments about trying to bringing old and presumably forgotten issues between Alonso and Lewis, especially when they have been getting very complimentary to each other…..

            And what proof does MW have that Lewis underestimated Lewis? A little skepticism on that claim would be in order, don’t you think?

          3. How many times has Hamilton’s race engineer not been on the same page with the team, leading Withmarsh to clarify that they were under the wrong impression.
            Pit stops are another area where the team can influence the finishing order or potential of their drivers. I have seen Mclaren use it to Button’s favour many times. Even in Japan Hamilton was kept on faded tyres for too long further pushing him back, just so Button’s pit window was kept open.
            And this constant asking for proof is just not the way because the proof is in Withmarsh’s head, we are left to interprete his actions and comments to deduce what we already know and some tacitly choose to ignore.
            Withmarsh saying “I’ve known Lewis for many years” is not the same as ” I’ve always wanted Lewis in this team” or “I’ve always liked Lewis”.
            Witmarsh has done more to destroy Hamiltons image with his stupid comments and false declaration of support.
            Instead of pointing out where Massa did wrong like in Monaco, he will say, ” we don’t want him to change his style”. What does that mean? Isn’t it admitting his driver is to blame?

            Since Withmarsh became boss, Hamilton’s performance has been on the decline, he has suffered more race strategy blunders, which is different from pit service blunders. More effort has been made getting Button from say 6th to 3rd, than getting Hamilton from 3rd to 2nd or even 2nd to 1st. The reverse more often is the case.
            And if there is that slight chance they can get Button ahead, he will make sure it happens.
            We saw that in Hungary, before the rains came. Hamilton was already doomed to 2nd position at best.

            Withmarsh doesn’t have to like Hamilton, he is under no obligation to. The comments he made post Turkish GP 2010 has come to pass.
            It is better he keeps quiet than pretend. He ends up not looking very smart.

          4. SimS – It’s not so much to ask that if people are going to make allegations like this they should be able to back them up, regardless who they’re aimed at.

            Oliver –

            this constant asking for proof is just not the way because the proof is in Withmarsh’s head

            No, the suspicion is in your head, and the proof is absent because there isn’t any.

          5. Even in Japan Hamilton was kept on faded tyres for too long further pushing him back, just so Button’s pit window was kept open.

            Have you ever tought abuot that, if Hamilton made a pitstop, then his new tyres would have gone off before the end of the race, so they chose this option because he lost less time(2-3sec/lap), than he would have lost with another stop.(23-24sec).

          6. Keith, you are not an authority on Martin Withmarsh. The fact there is no suspicion in your head does not make that a fact. It only means you do not see one or refuse to see on.

            I am happy to have you believe there isn’t. So don’t, with the wave of a hand, dismiss the suspicions of people who read more meaning into events, than what is obvious to the naked eye.

            The facts remain that Withmarsh was the one who wanted to end Mclaren’s sponsorship of Hamilton prior to his F1 debut.
            Withmarsh was also the one who said Mclaren let go of the wrong driver, after Alonso left.
            He is the first team principal that I know of, who came up witha tirade at the puzzlement of his driver about the pitwall miscommunication. Rather tan calmly reassuring the driver, he went on the offensive.
            He is the first to blame his driver for even team errors. Only to come out a few days later with PR hogwash.

            I don’t dislike Withmarsh, but he is not lending himself to credibility in my opinion. Your own opinion is yours, it is free.

          7. So don’t, with the wave of a hand, dismiss the suspicions of people who read more meaning into events, than what is obvious to the naked eye.

            No, I’ll do the exact opposite and continue to point out that you are merely writing reams and reams of hysterical supposition and conjecture with no hard facts to back up your point of view.

            The amusing thing is you accuse others of spouting “PR hogwash”. Yet you are the one who has written a series of comments spinning, twisting and distorting every innocuous event to try to fit your view of the world.

            The facts speak for themselves. Or rather, in your case, the absence of them do.

          8. Ehm, Oliver should we then understand that if you say this

            Keith, you are not an authority on Martin Withmarsh.

            to mean you are an expert on Withmarsh?

            When you say

            The fact there is no suspicion in your head does not make that a fact.

            , that is true.
            But it also does not mean that your suspicion is a fact either. If someone suspects something, he/she should be able to explain why. And from what you have written so far, yours is based on things that should rather be called a string of annoying incidents (which McLaren no doubt would like to avoid in the future – enter Sam Michael), and no prove at all of some sort of dislike from Withmarsh going so far as to hurt his own teams’ chances to win races, championships and get points.

            Instead of pointing out where Massa did wrong like in Monaco, he will say, ” we don’t want him to change his style”. What does that mean? Isn’t it admitting his driver is to blame?

          9. … sorry that last one fell out.
            Withmarsh was reacting to the BBC in their Forum and Massa but with others jumping on the bandwagon to say Hamilton should radically change his driving.
            Withmarsh therefore said, that he does not want Hamilton to do any such thing, just refocuss on driving at the front. I really cannot see anything wrong with that.

  13. Nobody destroyed anyone, Alonso wanted all the support and No1 status and decided to use threats of revealing underhand tactics by McLaren to get it (allegedly). I actually applaud McLaren for not giving in to him and taking their punishment. We all remember the “i’ve brought 6 tenths to this team” comment” from Alonso, ever since then i’ve had zero respect for him.

  14. Fair comment from Whitmarsh.

    1. @AndrewTanner – I love the economy of this post, especially compared to some of the outpourings above! :)

      1. Well, @dirgegirl I don’t see that there is much to argue with here. I’m not one to make a mountain out of a molehill ;)

    2. jackbrabhamfan
      17th November 2011, 20:53

      On what basis is “Hamilton ‘underestimated Button’ a fair comment? MW’s opinion or something Lewis said?

      1. Martin Whitmarsh’s opinion. I agree with it.

        1. jackbrabhamfan
          17th November 2011, 21:23

          Thanks for clearing it up. For a moment, I thought your agreement with MW was based on facts (which would be based on what Lewis said) .

  15. @oliver Withmarsh wanted to end Hamilton sponsorship? So did Helmut Marko with Vettel… and look where he is now…

  16. sid_prasher (@)
    17th November 2011, 18:42

    I am not particularly a fan of Lewis – but he is ultra competitive and such people don’t have a habit of under-estimating others – not the least a reigning world champion. Comments like these are so subjective that they do nothing but cause irritation to all parties involved.

    1. Well said sid_prasher,
      That’s exactly the point, Whitmarsh may think those things and he has every right not to like Hamilton but to air those thoughts to a hungry pack of journalists just because he’s asked to is not the normal behavior of a team principle.

      1. Au contraire. Team principals exhibit pretty varied behaviour; just like people, really.

        1. jackbrabhamfan
          17th November 2011, 21:29

          Not the great ones…… Ross Brawn, Ron Dennis, Christian Horner, Frank Williams, Flavio B or even Stefano D would never presume to psychoanalyze their drivers.

          Even a newbie like Malliya or or Tony F would talk about the most inexperienced driver, let alone a former world champion and 17 Grand Prix winner.

          As someone much smarter than me once said, ‘Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”

          Which group do you think MW fits in?

          1. Well, since by commenting on this post I automatically fall into the “small mind” category, I’m not sure I’m qualified to pronounce. I don’t think I’d want to see Whitmarsh discuss ideas, though. Nor do I think he was psychoanalysing anyone.

  17. Do I understand that Keith is doubting whether Whitmarsh’s words matter to his drivers?

    I believe that these words do matter, and to Hamilton in particular.

    I imagine it’s pleasing to hear positivity from one’s team principal, but agree that Button is a mature, confident, settled adult who doesn’t need overly worry about other people’s talk, especially the media’s.

    Hamilton is different, though. And I would suggest that words matter very much to a less mature, less confident, altogether less emotionally stable driver when he’s going through a difficult time.

    Hamilton has been very open about his fragile emotional state and during a BBC1 interview this weekend tried explain how he believes his inability to cope with the negativity he feels from the media is one of the things that has adversely affected his driving.

    I would argue that these comments from Whitmarsh will undoubtly prompt journalists seeking reaction to the quote into exactly the kind of questionning Hamilton feels negative and must therefore conclude that Whitmarsh’s comments matter to Hamilton very much.

    Either way, I would like to say how sad I am to see anyone struggle with their well-being in this way and how I feel it’s also a shame for the sport that Hamilton’s talent is being impaired by his emotional coping ability.

    Let us all wish that this winter sees any driver who needs it receive as much support for their mental health as for their physical fitness.

    Ps. I love the site and would like to thank Keith for all his sterling work and all my fellow fanatics for making this what it is. :-)

    1. @Anon…, It is precisely this sort of compassionate view that is missing in most of todays journalism. Unfortunately, many here and elsewhere feel much better about themselves by tearing down others. I say this not as a blind worshiper of Hamilton, but an accomplished individual that attempts to stay fear removed from negativity… And I live in L.A. and work in the Biz in Hollywood. By comparison these vultures are tame. The Guy shows vulnerability and it still doesn’t soften the hearts of his detractors. Many so called news organizations have more in common with tabloids than they may care to believe… And that is not a dig @ F1F which I consider credible, so please don’t delete My comment

  18. Whitmarsh is supposed to be neutral, but this is not the first time this year that he has had a dig at Lewis. It appears to me to be a subtle hint to Lewis to accept no 2 status at McLaren next season. Perhaps that’s why Lewis – who definitely understands this – called earlier remarks by Whitmarsh ‘rubbish’, a rather unusually strong way to disagree.
    Two things stand out for me:
    1. There have been many mistakes in the pits at McLaren this season, usually affecting Lewis, including poor qualifying calls by the team, etc.
    2. Whenever Ron Dennis has been at the race, none of these has happened – and Lewis has beaten Jenson.
    I think there is a bit of a war going on at McLaren, and Whitmarsh is in Button’s corner.

  19. @Bingi.
    That is exactly the point.
    It becomes puzzling some individuals, instead of saying they don’t really beleive that is true, come out with so much confidence in dismissing these suggestions, as if to say they are privy to Withmarsh’s thought process.
    No one implies Withmarsh will sabotage Hamilton’s car, only that he does have a preference for Button coming out ahead.
    His way of always praising Button for the most basic of achievements speaks for itself.

    Some of us said last year that Withmarsh is out to create his own legacy. He needs his own signing to be the one to lead Mclaren’s challenge.
    If Hamilton keeps out pacing Button, then the hands of Ron Dennis are still steering the ship.

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