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Will Hamilton frustration prompt Red Bull move?

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Andrew Benson | 11:20 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

Lewis Hamilton's frustration with life as a McLaren driver has been palpable in recent weeks.

There was his outburst after finishing sixth at Monaco, the result of a messy weekend at a race he was hoping to win.

There was the supposed-to-be clandestine visit to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on Saturday afternoon in Canada, a matter of hours after qualifying a disappointing fifth for another race he was hoping to win.

There were the messages over the team radio as he laboured in fourth place, struggling with tyre wear, during the European Grand Prix. "I can't go any slower," he said to his engineer after being asked to look after his tyres. And a few laps later: "I can't go any faster," when asked to try to make up some ground.

So will Hamilton still be a McLaren driver in 2012?

Although he has a contract that lasts until the end of that season, someone leaked to the Mail on Sunday that there is an option for Hamilton to leave if either he does not win the drivers' title or the team do not win the constructors' championship this year, neither of which is likely to happen. McLaren will not comment on the veracity of the Mail report.

On Monday the Independent published an interview with McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who said: "Lewis loves this team and he knows the car is capable of winning races.

"He's sat with me in the last 10 days and explained his passion, enthusiasm and desire to remain part of this team.

"I've known him since he was 11. I don't think he would look me in the eye and say that if he didn't mean it."

Lewis Hamilton signs autographs for fans

Hamilton remains one of the biggest stars in F1 despite some disappointing moments this season

But someone who has spoken to Hamilton about his future recently says that the 26-year-old is not happy at McLaren, and would leave if he could.

And in the last few days, a source with intimate knowledge of the driver market told me that Hamilton had been having "extensive negotiations with Red Bull".

The catalyst for Hamilton's discontent is another year in a car that is again not good enough to mount a realistic challenge for the title - the third in a row now for Hamilton at McLaren since he won the 2008 drivers' title in his second season with the team.

Hamilton is widely regarded in F1 as the fastest driver in the world, and he certainly believes that of himself. So to watch Sebastian Vettel running away to a second consecutive title at Red Bull, in the fastest car on the grid for the third year in a row, is painful indeed.

Publicly, Hamilton continues to say positive things about McLaren. His most recent utterance on the subject of his future was to say: "Fortunately I don't have to make any decisions just yet. I still have a contract for another year and a half."

He has added that he sees no reason to leave as long as he has a competitive car.

Some would follow Whitmarsh in arguing that he does - had things gone differently, Hamilton might have won in Spain, Monaco and Canada in addition to his sole victory so far in China this year.

That would mean he and Vettel would have been tied on four wins each, in which case Hamilton may not have been eyeing the Red Bull quite so jealously.

Even had this happened, however, the Red Bull would remain undoubtedly F1's fastest car - its advantage in the races is far less than it is in qualifying, but it seems increasingly certain that is simply down to the fact that Vettel has to take it easy on Sundays to manage this year's delicate Pirelli tyres.

Hamilton could only go to Red Bull in 2012, though, if two things married up - he has to really want it, and so do Red Bull.

You can be sure Hamilton would think very carefully about engineering a way out of his contract with a team that has nurtured him from the age of 11.

Firstly, there is the personal loyalty he must still feel on one level, even if he might think he has paid a lot of it back with some of his stunning wins in recent years, victories McLaren would not have had without him.

Just as important, though, will be the knowledge that, historically, McLaren always win in the end.

Stay where he is, and Hamilton can be pretty sure he will get a title-winning car eventually - just as Mika Hakkinen did after sticking with the team through the difficult years of the mid-1990s.

Equally, it is not that long since Hamilton dismissively referred to Red Bull as a "soft drinks company". And while McLaren and Ferrari are in F1 for the long haul - it is their raison d'etre - no one can be quite sure how long Red Bull will stick around.

But that's the long-term view, and racing drivers, generally, are pretty short-term people - after all, they have limited shelf lives.

The short-term view is as follows:

The Red Bull is likely to remain the car to beat as long as the current technical structure under Adrian Newey remains in place - which is until at least the end of 2014.

By then, Hamilton will be 29. He will still have plenty of life left in him, but that is a long period to wait fighting the odds - and potentially without a title - when most people consider you the fastest driver in the world.

There are other issues in the mix, too.

Hamilton - and team-mate Jenson Button, it is believed - find the public relations demands of being a McLaren driver quite tiring - and they note the rather different requirements on Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the other member of F1's big three.

Equally, McLaren are quite restrictive of drivers having their own personal sponsors, although Hamilton does have such a deal with sportswear company Reebok.

So in a lot of ways, a move to Red Bull might make sense for Hamilton. The question remains, though, does it make sense for Red Bull?

On the face of it, you might think not. They already have Vettel, their blue-eyed boy wonder.

Why unsettle him by sticking Hamilton alongside him in a match-up that is bound to be super-high-maintenance? And if they do, what is the point of their driver development programme, which is moving on apace with Red Bull protégé Daniel Ricciardo being given his F1 race debut in a Hispania this weekend at the British Grand Prix.

But if Vettel continues to dominate F1 in the way he is doing this year, is that really good for Red Bull? Yes, he is winning everything, but that is likely to turn off a majority of the audience, not excite them. And that is no way to sell cans of soft drink.

Red Bull seeks to project a cool, youthful, exciting image, and what could fit those qualities better than sticking Hamilton in the team alongside Vettel and saying to the world: "There you go. We're got two of the three most exciting drivers in the world and we're going to sit back and watch them go at it."

The reality is that any negotiations that may be taking place will likely be between Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz and Hamilton's new manager, Simon Fuller. Neither of whom routinely give interviews to F1 journalists.

For now, no one beyond that needs to know anything about it - not even Whitmarsh or Horner. So at the end of the day, it comes down to Hamilton and Mateschitz, and how much each of them wants to link up with the other. Time will tell.

UPDATE, 1600 BST: I have just heard from my old friend Gerhard Kuntschick on this subject. He is a journalist for the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachtrichten and knows Mateschitz as well as any reporter. Kuntschick spoke to Red Bull F1 adviser Helmut Marko on Monday, who told him: "Red Bull considers Lewis Hamilton as having a firm contract with McLaren and we don't interfere with other people's contracts. But you never know what will happen in the future."

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think it's a big risk for both parties for the reasons you've mentioned. Of course Newey increases the chances of RB having a good car again next year, but it only takes one clever idea from Ferrari or McLaren to get them ahead, and he'll be back to square one.

    Personally I'd stay at McLaren.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hamilton and McLaren both need to get their acts together. Lewis needs to sort his head out, ditch the celebrities and get his dad back as manager. McLaren need to sort the car out (especially aero) and quit making mistakes. When they're both on top of their game they're an unstoppable force. Plus I reckon Hamilton's style suits McLaren cars far better (straight line speed, good under braking, slippy rear end) then Red Bull (perfect aero and balance)

  • Comment number 3.

    for a supposed top level team, mclaren's number of championship wins is relatively poor. they seem to develop a competitive car only about 1 year in every 5. i'm not surprised the most talented driver in F1 is frustrated with them. whitmarsh needs to get his act together. perhaps they need to recruit a better technical director and more talented engineers.

  • Comment number 4.

    Mclaren are to blame for all this. its plain to see from the design of the car that its too long (wheelbase) and the front wing too big. The thing is Lewis does not need to have the fastest car, but one he can occassional put on pole like in 2007, 2008 and even 2009 for him to deliver another title.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agrre with # Trevers89. Hamilton should get his daad back if he really wants to win races and chanpionships. If he differs by wanting a few wins and sponsors through publicity exposure then Simon Fuller could be his man. However RB racing would have to make a decision if they want championship racing or soft dink sales. If the latter is a priority then Hamilton could be a realistic target, if not, then they already have Vettel at the business end of the driver and constructors championship

  • Comment number 6.

    lionshart - the 2009 car was a dog.

    I want to see Hamilton in a car that is capable of winning a championship - he's not had that for some time. Even last year's car struggled and would have required a perfect performance to win, without the two (?) reliability related DNFs he suffered.

    In the interests of the sport you need the big 3 (whoever they may be) to have some sort of parity that means the drivers can make a difference. We are miles away from that.

  • Comment number 7.

    Mclaren dominated when they could test and test and test. Those days are gone and I think they struggle with the freer thinking Red Bull team. As for LH I am sure Simon Fuller has plan B; Indy racing - that would be something with Hamilton at the wheel.

    Remember where David Beckham ended up, in the US!

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with #2. The fact remains that Mclaren have lots of money and tech expertise which mean they're normally competitive, but rarely dominate. They also seem are liable to self-destruct relatively easily and Lewis just seems to be away with the fairies at the moment.

    I'm a big Hamilton fan - if he did go to Red Bull I think it would be a great spectacle, but would also underline the lack of loyalty the guy has to anyone or anything. Including his own dad.

  • Comment number 9.

    If he moves to Red Bull and wins he'll be considered a tactical genius and we'll all be looking silly.

    If he moves and it turns out badly, he'll be criticised by the hindsight police..

    Catch 22 - but I totally agree with @Trevers89 i.e. stop hanging about with Rihanna et al. and get the head back in the game...

  • Comment number 10.

    Over the last few weeks this blog has turned into a gossip page, mainly about Lewis Hamilton.

    Lewis is a great driver and will always be a Championship contender, whether he races for McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull...I dare say he would do pretty well in a HRT too! If McLaren lose him, it's their loss. But give the guy a break, he's been with McLaren for a lifetime already.

    Now let's move on to something more important, like the British Grand Prix!

  • Comment number 11.

    "Hamilton is widely regarded in F1 as the fastest driver in the world".

    Pretty sloppy. Please see:

    http://www.wheels24.co.za/FormulaOne/Alonso-voted-best-driver-20100723

  • Comment number 12.

    Hamilton and Vetel in same team is recipe for disaster. These are two great drivers and most of the niceties they have currently with their team mates will vanish if they are in same team.
    Mcleren are definitely not too far behind Redbull. Just because Hamilton is having a bad season you cant put all that in to the car. After all Mcleran has won 2 races this year!

  • Comment number 13.

    With the Pirellis it is as much Vettel as well as Newey that is making the RB car look fast. Hamilton’s style would not mean the RB would be the quickest car round the track as he prefers an agressive front end rather than a neutral balance.
    For Hamilton to succeed he has to remember that he is a racing driver, get a racing driver manager who understands what he needs and ditch the celebrity rubbish. Also he has to be magnanimous in defeat and work on the areas where he and the team is lacking but do it behind closed doors.

  • Comment number 14.

    If Lewis Hamilton isn't happy at McLaren and Red Bull would have him, then he should move. Hamilton has never had the out and out quickest car on the grid at McLaren. In his first two seasons at McLaren they alternated with Ferrari for the top car. Since then they have been playing catch up.

    As for Red Bull "sticking around", the team will continue to exist, if one day Red Bull decide to remove their backing. Someone else will rescue them like Mercedes did with Honda via Brawn, so that's not a concern.

    I wouldn't be convinced the people at McLaren can actually get the best car on the grid anytime soon. They seem to make more mistakes than Red Bull, both in terms of strategy and race errors. OK, they've got to take more risks being in the grid position they are, but it has been far from smooth.

    Would it be good for Red Bull? Yes, they'd be unstoppable.

  • Comment number 15.

    Everyone keeps talking about the futures of Lewis and Jenson. How about the future of Martin Whitmarsh, ever since Ron Dennis stepped down and Whitmarsh took over, Mclaren and Lewis, lets face it have been no where near winning either of the chamionships. Lewis's first two season in F1 were with Ron Dennis, 1st time round came second by a single point, 2nd season he won the championship, Whitmarsh takes over 09 mclaren no where started season as a midfield team, 10 again started poorly, good middle spell, ended poorly. this year just no where near fast enough. Maybe the problem doesnt lie with Lewis and and the problem lies with Whitmarsh????????

  • Comment number 16.

    Perhaps this is why Red Bull are pulling out of owning and running two cars in Nascar, this would release some money to pay for a new signing.

  • Comment number 17.

    Who is Lewis Hamilton?? Ohhh thats right, he's tyhe one who always crashes and then blames everyone else..

    VRRROOOOMMMMM says Button..

  • Comment number 18.

    ... someone who has spoken to Hamilton ...

    ... a source with intimate knowledge ...

    There's clearly a line between journalists protecting sources, but we're talking about F1 not some international espionage, and this just reads like vague nonsense akin to the tabloids you quote.

    All the weekend's reports seemed to add was a clause in Hamilton's contract - nothing new, something outlined when it was signed x years ago.

    Having said all that, the sheer number of these 'stories' doesn't come from nothing; we haven't heard a single comment of similar vein with regard to Alonso.

    I await eagerly to see how "extensive negotiations with Red Bull" prove to be.




  • Comment number 19.

    If Hamilton moves to Red Bull, that could provide an opportunity for Paul Di Resta to move to McLaren.

  • Comment number 20.

    Lewis needs to join Red Bull if he is to further his ambitions to become a multiple world champion.
    After producing two excellent cars in 2007 and 2008, Mclaren appear to be struggling to find a eureka moment with any of their subsequent designs. They have been largely mired in mediocrity compared to Red Bull.
    The tenure of Martin Whitmarsh must also be brought into question given some of the teams strange technical and strategic decision making and operational performances since he took over the reigns in 2009.
    Lewis is clearly unhappy at Mclaren and all things must come to an end at some point in time. Even the late, great Ayrton Senna realised his time had ended with Mclaren in 1992/93 and he needed to be in a Williams if he was to win further titles.
    I believe under the current system, Red Bull is likely to dominate for a few more years to come. Lewis must cease his opportunity to join Red Bull now rather than waste any further years at Mclaren who appear to be heading in a downward spiral.

  • Comment number 21.

    Who cares who Lewis drives for and does it matter? No. One thing that any race strategist can't predict is luck. The "luck" has been with Red Bull this season, Monaco is one such example. Where there is ying, there is yang. Hamilton has had a major run of bad luck. Chin up Lewis, the law of averages is always on your side!

    It seems his head hasn't been screwed on properly since falling out with his Dad. I don't know (and frankly don't care) what has changed but mentally he obviously is not in a good place and a change is as good as a rest. Maybe, just maybe, moving to another team will be good for him. Thing is, it hasn't worked out for Alonso, two moves and no joy! Just unlucky I guess ;)

  • Comment number 22.

    Lewis is pathetic i think his earings are creating too much downforce and thats why he has lost the plot. Let him move to RB so Seb AKA the new shuwey can give him free lessons how to drive a car!

  • Comment number 23.

    He had a car capable of winning the championship in 2010. If it weren't for two bad moves that he made at Monza and Singapore, assuming he had finished fourth in those races, he would have won the championship.

    So, in three out of his five years with McLaren, he has had a car capable of winning the championship. Lewis needs to look at the big picture.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think its funny people keep bringing up the celebrities at racess when it comes to Hamilton. You do realise that is a part of his job right? He's the first black F1 driver so yeah he's going to attract a lot of new people such as rappers, singers, basketball stars etc to the sport. I'm sure McLaren are more than happy to accomodate them as are the whole of the F1 paddock seen as they're determined to get a bigger audience in the states.

    I seem to remember Colin Farrell was at Montreal as a guest of Lotus Renault and Geri Halliwell (who thought Christian Horner was just a mechanic) was a guest of Red Bulls at Monaco. Its just the business they're in.

    As for the will he move questions. Its all wild conjecture really, theres 22 Drivers out on the grid who want to be in the Red Bull this year but who know what'll happen next year? Not many people would have taken a seat at Honda/BGP in the run up to the 2009 season and look what happened there.

    Remember Senna left McLaren to join the completely dominant Williams team only for them to come up with a new Newey designed car that turned out to be terrible to drive, the FW16.

  • Comment number 25.

    What does Martin Whitmarsh have to say about the lack of wins under his leadership?

    Button is at the tail end of his F1 career and whilst he talks of wanting to win another championship, he also says he's satisfied with being a world champion already...

    Lewis however is very much at his peak and it must be eating away at him that McLaren are consistently failing to provide a competitive car.

    Something at McLaren has to change, whether that is Martin Whitmarsh or simply the way that he manages the team and its development engineers, who knows? Personally I was a fan of the way Ron Dennis controlled the team.

  • Comment number 26.

    'had things gone differently, Hamilton might have won in Spain, Monaco and Canada in addition to his sole victory so far in China this year.'

    ...& I guess he could have won in Australia, Turkey, Malaysia, & Spain to. Wow!!! in fact if he had entered Wimbledon this year he probably would have won the mens singles as well!!

    Truly. truly disrespectful comment to Button, Vettel, Alonso et al...... If things had gone differently Andrew, Timo Glock in a Virgin may have 5 race wins under his belt & Virigin leading the championship! However things did not go differently & hamilton is where he is due in part yes to a care that is not as quick a 'package' as the RB but in the main due to some p..s p..r driving.

    It never ceases to amaze me how some drivers, no matter what happens to them or what they do, have a legion of so called fans who will eventually rationalise it down to the point where it was not 'His' fault & 'He' would have won any way 'cos he is the best.'

    Perhaps what might best serve Hamilton now is some blunt, straight talking, not sycophancy on an industrial scale that perpetuates the myth that all others are not worthy.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 11

    Despite that poll being nearly a year old anyway, you miss the point that Alonso was voted the 'best' not the 'fastest' F1 driver.

    Andrew Benson has consistently referred to Lewis as probably the 'fastest' F1 driver and I support his claim that the opinion is 'widely' held, although not universally (which you seem to have taken Andrew as saying).

    There is clearly a distinction between being the 'fastest' and the 'best', with the latter far harder to decipher, with many more, often subjective, factors to consider. 'Fastest', however, is pretty straight forward - over 1 lap, who could drive the same car fastest - and I agree that the majority of people who study F1 and are able to analyse without bias, would say Lewis is probably the fastest.

    I'm a massive Alonso/Ferrari fan and even I can admit, readily, that anyone would do well to beat Lewis in the same car over 1 lap.

    Whilst we're at it, he's probably the best at overtaking too. You can argue the toss about his crashes but he has overtaken many, many more cars than anyone else over his years in F1 and has completed about 90% of the moves without incident (I'll try and remember the source for that stat - it's out there somewhere!).

    That said, Lewis is not the best strategist in F1, he's not the best at setting up a car, he's not got the best judgement in the heat of the moment, he’s not as adaptable, he’s not easy on his tyres and my personal belief is that he's a 'big game bottler' - he does crack under pressure. He chocked in China 2007, Brazil 2007, Brazil 2008 (but got away with it on the last corner), Singapore 2010 and Brazil 2010.

    Perhaps the most telling thing of all is that despite all of his flaws, Lewis’ strengths in overtaking and being the fastest represent, for most, the most exciting elements of the sport and what endears fans to the drivers.

    Anyway, on Lewis and Red Bull: LEWIS, GO TO RED BULL NOW PLEASE. Save us from another year of tedium and make Sebastian Vettel prove how good he really is. A risky move it may be but one that F1 desperately needs.

    From a selfish perspective, Lewis and Seb slugging it out upfront and either taking each other out repeatedly (let’s face it, they both have form), or at least taking points off one another, would make Fernando’s job a bit easier.

    It would be a delight to watch, whatever the outcome.

  • Comment number 28.

    @26. You do realise that Andrew was simply paraphrasing Whitmarsh don't you? Bit to eager to attack there I think.

  • Comment number 29.

    The valid point that Red Bull must consider by creating internal rivalry is that despite Vettel leading some 80% of the racing laps of this years season, his screen time and therefore their brand exposure to the massed audience has been, I would estimate, less than a tenth of that. Quite simply in a season with so much happening on track and in the pits there is no time for the TV director to watch a fast car at the front doing endless boring laps on his own.

  • Comment number 30.

    ... someone who has spoken to Hamilton ...

    ... a source with intimate knowledge ...

    Without proper references this is just gutter press lets make up a story. It may come true, but if you can't name this articles source, you don't have a story, you have hearsay. Why don't you write about which would be the best combination of all Marvel comics heroes, it would be about as relevant as this is at the moment. Especially considering most of the whole last month has been spent running circles around Lewis leaving. Is he, will he, who cares, unless you have a tangible fact that you can refer to in your article basically stop lowering the BBC with this rubbish.

    There also tends to be people saying he should get back with his Dad and so on. Unless you are intimate with their relationship, I really think you can't assume it is all happy families and would be a good thing. My guess would be his Dad potentially could be a user, someone who worked from a very young age to manufacturer a sports star to then live off in his elder age. Now that is what happened, as to if that was the plan, I can not say, but I certainly wouldn't be blindly saying what he should or shouldn't do within his family relationships. Or guessing how much of his success or failure relates to it.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hamilton needs to get his act together and stop moaning about the shortcomings of the team. Any sensible driver knows that it's a cardinal sin to criticise the team in public, the criticism should be behind closed doors. All of this obsession with 'having the fastest car' in getting a bit much as well. If he really is as good as he thinks he is then he just needs a car which is equal to or nearly the best. Schumacher dragged the 1997 and 1998 Ferrari into last round championship contention despite his Ferrari being miles off Williams' and McLaren's ultimate pace.

    Hamilton has only ever had one really dud McLaren, in 2009. Last year's was on the pace to enough of an extent for him to win the championship, he just blew it by getting over-exuberant in Monza and Singapore. This year, it's just that the Red Bull is a little too quick. Hamilton should take a leaf out of experienced drivers' books like Schumacher or Senna and galvanise the team into producing a better car, rather than lambasting the pace of the car and the team's strategy all the time, it's all too negative.

  • Comment number 32.

    Reading several comments the feeling is that Hamilton should move to Red Bull as he is the "fastest" driver in F1 at the mo. However why would Red Bull want him? If its for the publicity from employing him or the press inches he generates through childish behaviour then great f give him a contract. But as it has been pointed out the Red Bull can be hard on its tyres and is fast because of its better aero performance. Do you want a driver who is fantastic to watch going sideways (and very very fast) but won't win because he'll spend too much time needing to visit pits or do you employ a driver who's fast and kind to the equipment? I think Button would be better myself.........

  • Comment number 33.

    I still don't think Lewis going to Red Bull would be a good idea. Vettel is clearly the golden boy there. It would be a big PR boost from Red Bull's POV but I doubt Lewis would get treated much better there than Webber is!

  • Comment number 34.

    21. At 13:36 4th Jul 2011, Ian Lowson wrote:
    Who cares who Lewis drives for and does it matter? No. One thing that any race strategist can't predict is luck. The "luck" has been with Red Bull this season, Monaco is one such example. Where there is ying, there is yang. Hamilton has had a major run of bad luck. Chin up Lewis, the law of averages is always on your side!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    How does that work? Surely the law of averages is as much on someone else's side as your own? Besides, it's a bit of a stretch to say that the team that has been on pole at every race by as much as 8 tenths of a second in some instances and won 6 out of 8 races has been 'lucky'. The others have simply not been fast enough. You make your own luck, in Monaco Vettel won because he qualified on pole and led from the start, if Alonso, Hamilton, Button or whoever else had done that then they would have won the race. It's not luck that Red Bull have built a car that is at least half a second per lap faster than the others on ultimate pace.

  • Comment number 35.

    @28....Whitmarsh does not say anywhere that Hamilton could have won race x, y, z etc. Andrew adds that little comment all on his own. That comment is something that Andrew makes, or takes (without question), in one form or another quite often.

    My point still stands however that there is a perception for many that Hamiltons woes are all down to the car not the driver & this simply is not true. His first reaction when unhappy is to either say silly things to the media (again not his fault apparently according to some), or run to the garage of another team (read the excellent article by Mark Hughes in Sunday Times).

    He needs to look inward first & foremost & at the moment looks to me as if that is the last place he is looking. Some straight talking & honest truths might be uncomfortable but may be exactly what he needs.

  • Comment number 36.

    McLaren's weakness seems to be setup. Lewis has never been good at dialling the car in, and Jenson can't do it all on his own, so as a result they qualify badly. I think the car has raw speed, race days prove that, but they can't use it when they're 4th or 5th on the grid.
    McLaren might be better off without Hamilton. As long as he keeps moaning, and the rumours about him leaving go on, he'll destabilise the team. If he leaves and McLaren replace him with Rosberg - a good setup man - or even Webber, it might be better for them all.

  • Comment number 37.

    may i point out that no one has said how boring the constructors would be if both lewis and vettel were at the same team redbull are already to dominate

  • Comment number 38.

    Lewis is great racer but I think he is a bit misjudgeing F1.As it was already said there are no seats out there
    for him which are better then McLaren.Only Redbull is ahead and having with Sebastian a young top driver.
    They are not interested on a Alonso/Hamilton type of conflict as Ferrari with Alonso is too close for comfort.
    And a lot within Redbull anyway think that Sebastian is the better driver.Remember it is his 3rd year with Redbull and the worst rank was 2nd.And just as reminder as Lewis is looking for a championship winning car he was driving one in 2008 and was beaten from Sebastian in a Toro Rosso.

  • Comment number 39.

    @30
    "... I really think you can't assume it is all happy families ...

    And yet:

    "My guess would be his Dad potentially could be a user ..."

    The next sentence is barely comprehensible

    "... but I certainly wouldn't be blindly saying ..."

    No, not just blindly, but rather stupidly, with similar lack of foundation which you comment against not a paragraph earlier.

  • Comment number 40.

    Not really any change from the previous blog about all of this then, it's still all rumour and possible escape clauses. As I said before, it's not just Hamilton that's going to affect all of this:

    1) He has to wait for Webber to decide if he's staying or leaving
    2) Whether Massa remains at Ferrari for another season
    3) Will Schumacher take up his third year option on his contract (looks likely)
    4) Will Kubica still be as quick as he was before as he was also highly chased

    So if Webber and Schumacher stay and Massa goes then the only possible top drive to appear would be Ferrari and he'd be as welcome as ashley cole at the WI.

    Webber going opens the door but then would he fit with Red Bull where Vettel is number one. I doubt it and I don't think he'd be welcomed by Vettel given his reaction to Hamilton's comments about being the best. So would Red Bull maybe look at how Ricciardo performs at Torro Rosso, as that seems inevitable later in the season, or maybe look at Di Resta if Schumacher stays?

    Then you have the returning Kubica, if he's still quick then would Red Bull look at stealing him before Ferrari get another chance? He comes with much less attitude and is just as quick and aggressive as Hamilton on track. So maybe Red Bull and Ferrari hold onto Webber and Massa for one more season to have a go when Kubica's contract runs out next year. This leaves Hamilton no option but to stay at McLaren or chance that Mercedes will be at the front next season should Schumacher go.

    There's alot of "ifs", "maybes" and "whethers" to all this, don't be surprised if we're asking all this next july.

  • Comment number 41.

    Didn't we just have this blog?!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2011/06/could_hamilton_join_red_bull.html

    It is all media speculation at this point - in fact, that's all it has ever been. All these stories about 'Hamilton pondering his future' are simply furthering the rumour that he is pondering his future.

    Can't we just wait and see what happens and blog on something a bit more interesting?

  • Comment number 42.

    so when lewis said "i cant go any slower" then "i cant go any faster" you could see his frustration ?! loll

  • Comment number 43.

    Stick with McLaren until Mercedes stop supplying the team with engines (I think that is 2015 or 2016?)

  • Comment number 44.

    @39 obviously words like "could", "guess", are beyond you, also snipping bits out of context, nice1, funny man.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hamilton can't develop cars! Whilst Alonso was at Mclaren the car was developed well, we all know that Alonso has developed cars well, Renault, Mclaren and to a lesser extent Ferrari, but Ferrari is a different beast of a company for Alonso to steer. Hamilton is a fantastic driver, and has been lucky off the back of these development, put him in Red Bull and how long will their car be competetive? Will that Driver-Engineer rapour that is currently improving the car each week break down, and after a year everyone is back where they started?
    But now Hamilton is clearly frustrated with his team this relationship can never develop where he is without a big mindset change, or perhaps less time with sponsors?
    Hamilton needs to learn to develop cars with his engineers to become a truly great champion, then it doesn't matter which of the top teams he fits into, he will still be able to lead them to victories.

  • Comment number 46.

    41. At 14:58 4th Jul 2011, I wrote:
    All these stories about 'Hamilton pondering his future' are simply furthering the rumour that he is pondering his future.

    ================================

    In fact, to correct myself, it's not all they are doing.

    The other thing they are doing is making Hamilton seem (even more) petulant. I'm a big fan, but it is fair to say that in the heat of the moment he has made some mistakes. However, look at the comments this blog has attracted:

    "As long as he keeps moaning"
    "Hamilton needs to get his act together and stop moaning"
    "Lewis needs to look at the big picture"

    Bearing in mind this is a rehash of a 3+ week old subject, it's just stirring the subject and inciting more pro-Hamilton / anti-Hamilton debate.

  • Comment number 47.

    Lewis is great racer but I think he is a bit misjudgeing F1.As it was already said there are no seats out there
    for him which are better then McLaren.Only Redbull is ahead and having with Sebastian a young top driver.
    They are not interested on a Alonso/Hamilton type of conflict as Ferrari with Alonso is too close for comfort.
    And a lot within Redbull anyway think that Sebastian is the better driver.Remember it is his 3rd year with Redbull and the worst rank was 2nd.And just as reminder as Lewis is looking for a championship winning car he was driving one in 2008 and was beaten from Sebastian in a Toro Rosso.

  • Comment number 48.

    Well said Trevers89....Lewis needs a proper Manager, preferrably his Father again, someone needs to help him with his mindset and make constructive comments,, i think all the celebrity attention and entourage is distracting him ( i can't believe it's part of his sponsorship/contract etc)... Mcclaren also need to sack Whitmarsh... bring on a leader and the team will win once more...

  • Comment number 49.

    45 & 46 make good points.

    As for developing car, not sure how much the driver really develops cars any more, it is like it has become too much of a science with simulations and also using test drivers for the simulator time more than the actual drivers.

    e.g. Schumacher was always praised with how well he developed the Ferraris, yet at Mercedes I just don't get the feeling he is as involved in the development side of it, or that he ever was as much as he was credited, some of the pit communication has appeared far from technical or good feedback, thinking back to pretty much all of his practice pit communications over the past 2 years.

    It is perhaps a bit like the weather predictions the teams are using, they just don't look out the window and put their hand in the air, they trust the computer simulations more than gut instinct, I suspect the car development it so compartmentalised with so much of a paper trail, and all number based from a simulator that the drivers get no more input than we get when we go to the opticians. They get to try the finished thing and asked better or worse, well...different circuit, different day, shrug. And as for doing it all in the simulator, well that worked well for Virgin...so trying to judge a change in a computer sim is not as useful as they probably rate it.(imo)

  • Comment number 50.

    Whilst I agree that this isn't a new story, some of the comments are new and I'd rather hear them here than not at all (just because there's no source). There are some rather uncharitable comments out there. I guess if it was as simple as name your source, the source probably wouldn't have volunteered the information in the first place or ever do it again. The tin-foil hats out there probably think it's a BBC witch-hunt to upset poor Lewis.

    Hamilton needs Red Bull more than Red Bull needs Hamilton, so it will be interesting to see what develops towards the end of the season. I'm not so sure that Red Bull would want to entertain that one if they are already winning all there is to win. Nothing is "cooler" than winning championships!

  • Comment number 51.

    "41.
    At 14:58 4th Jul 2011, FortressFratton wrote:

    Didn't we just have this blog?!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2011/06/could_hamilton_join_red_bull.html

    It is all media speculation at this point - in fact, that's all it has ever been. All these stories about 'Hamilton pondering his future' are simply furthering the rumour that he is pondering his future.

    Can't we just wait and see what happens and blog on something a bit more interesting?"

    ---

    Couldn't agree more with this.

    It's like when the BBC (and other major media outlets) report on x person in the media spotlight visiting x person - like the "1st lady" visiting Nelson Mandela not so long ago.

    Who gives a stuff?

    I go visit my mates quite often - does that mean I'm moving in with them? Do the media report on that? No. Of course they don't.

    Time for the BBC F1 reporters to move on and talk about something instead of drumming up pointless discussions which lead only to the conclusion that we as spectators know nothing (but choose to comment any way).

  • Comment number 52.

    @ dc505:
    "Hamilton is widely regarded in F1 as the fastest driver in the world".
    Pretty sloppy. Please see:
    http://www.wheels24.co.za/FormulaOne/Alonso-voted-best-driver-20100723

    It is sad that you don't know the difference between the best (Alonso ) and the fastest driver ( Lewis )
    Plus this is an article from last year.

  • Comment number 53.

    Is Lewis Hamilton arrogant enough to think that if he goes to Red Bull (and that would obviously be goodnight Vienna for Mark Webber) that he would be quicker than Sebastian Vettel? I don't think he will and also, what's that old expression about a workman blaming his tools. There's nothing wrong with the fine McLarens, both Hamilton and Button are just not as quick as Seb. I think Jenson understands this and therefore doesn't keep bitching about it!

  • Comment number 54.

    McLaren need a new management and they need to start and fully concentrate on the 2012 car. This year is over in 2 races. Sad as there is not much reason to watch the F1 for the rest of this season. i watch it to see who and how will win but we all know that this will be Vettel from pole to finish. Yes, there will be the occasional 2-3 races where will will see another winner but ill not spend my Sunday for that. I realy hope with the upgrades and the diffuser ban the gap will be very close so we can see some proper old action at the front.

  • Comment number 55.

    There are so many people here who cant look at anything objectively.

    For a start anyone that says one way or the other Lewis is fatser than Sebastian or vise versa has no evidence and is purely a fanboy. As a viewer I would love to see them in the same team. Both drivers have said they want tio be thought of as the best of the current generation so for that to happen they would have to beat the bestso for me i think as driver if they have confidence in their talent they would welcome the opportunity. The reservations would be from the team, not only would they struggle to keep a happy camp but they would have to deal with two driver taking points from each other it cost mclaren in 07 and nearly cost red bull last year.

    Mclaren have to take a long hard look at their infrastructure and look for new engineering talent. They are far to prone to letting key eningeering peronnel leave to a rival, Adrian Newey and Pat Fry for example, and then have the arrogance to think they wont suffer as a result. I think Martin hwitmarsh is under pressure but to blame him for the 09 car is unfair as it was designed under Ron Dennis' leadership and he (MW) oversaw a dramtic turn around of that car.

    Personally i think Lewis should move to red bull but with a caviat that he should only have a two year contract until Newey decides what he is going to do after 2014.

  • Comment number 56.

    Two and a half years in a car that can't win consistently is long enough for Lewis. He should move.

    Driving in the wet is a pretty good indication of out and out talent and Lewis twice outdrove Sebastien in the wet in China.

    Martin Whitmarsh seems like a nice bloke but does he have the winning mentality to deliver for McLaren?

  • Comment number 57.

    I cannot understand journalists keeping on this rubbish about Hamilton joining Red Bull. They are supposed to report facts NOT rumour and gossip. I just wish they wou;ld stick to fact and stop giving opinion as fact. Go away and do a proper job!

  • Comment number 58.

    I want to address the question of loyalty people are talking about. People are saying that Hamilton is selfish. I agree with that but I also argue that it is part of his ambition to win and be the best that drives him to be like that. Look at most successful people, they are usually self motivated, ambitious and selfish. What most of these people realise is that you cant rely on other people to make you a success you have to do it yourself.

    So if he does decide to up sticks and move to Red Bull I think it would be the right thing for him to do. Prost didnt win 4 titles by being the best....he did it by being in the right car at the right time. If Hamilton wants to win more titles it might be time he did the same thing.

  • Comment number 59.

    I can understand why he might (privately) wish to another team (Red Bull). Lewis is 26, and for 15 of those years he has been signed up to McLaren. Yes he owes a great deal of gratitude to McLaren for bringing him to this stage. But he knows he is one of the best drivers, as as such, wants the best car. Sadly for him, this year's McLaren isn't one (or so it seems). Naturally he will be looking towards the Red Bull.

    He's stated that he's given up hopes for the Title this year. This could be premature, we'll have to wait and see how Red Bull manage the regulation changes for the blown diffuser.

  • Comment number 60.

    Please go to red bull let vettel show him how its done and also webber move to Mclaren, Mclaren produce faster car than red bull next year webber wins championship and leave vettel(the finger man) and hamilton (crashalotblamesomebodyelse) with egg on their faces.
    And then i woke up lol.
    Please stop with all the if buts and maybes as with all sports luck only counts for so much. Results count for a lot more, yes red bull are lucky but they also have the best car hence the cliche " you make your own luck"

  • Comment number 61.

    It will never happen. Even if Hamilton wanted it Red Bull won't. Who honestly thinks that Vettel's dominance within the team this year is purely due to his performances, or Webber having trouble getting to grips with the tyres (no pun intended)? No, much more likely Red Bull realised that last year their drivers were taking points off each other at the front and have opted for 1st and 2nd driver lineup. And to be fair it's working brilliantly for them, whether Webber likes it or not. So, why would Red Bull want Hamilton? A return to having two 1st drivers and narrowly dragging themselves to a championship. Or the dominance thats been displayed this season. I'm in no way putting Lewis down here, more the current distorted form of logic on display at Red Bull. Red Bull should want Hamilton, because in the future they might not be blessed with this void in pace to their nearest competitors, whether they are McLaren or whoever. They may one day have need for a driver capable of winning races rather than running away with them. However, I think Lewis should stick it out with McLaren in the hope that long term is the right way. However nobody knows how long and for some three years is long enough.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm really sorry but I am fed up of hearing Lewis Hamilton complaining all the time and that everything is not his fault. I'll be glad if he leaves McLaren if only to prove that he can work alongside and with another team. Cut out the moans and get on with driving the car and show everyone - again - that he's the great driver he claims to be.

    Incidentally, don't you think - with his oversized sunglasses - he looks even more like Brains out of Thunderbirds?

  • Comment number 63.

    also can we start having some decent blogs?
    Ones where we can have our opinion such as who will win the British grand prix?
    and predict 1st 2nd 3rd 4th and so on.
    and andrew could predict and we could see how good his journalism skills are seen as he has "intimate sources"
    Should be straightforward for a man with years of sports journalism

  • Comment number 64.

    Lewis Hamilton is a HUGE Ayrton Senna fan. Lewis' goal is not to be a World Champion - it never has been. It is the emulate his hero and win THREE World Titles. With no major regulation changes until 2014, it would be a brave person to bet against Red Bull not being the dominant force again for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Meaning if Hamilton does move he will likely have the car to win the title and achieve his goal. So Red Bull is clearly obvious from that point of view.

    The quotes about McLaren aways rising to the top is one I don't agree with much. Very little title success in the early 90s, 00s and the last 3 years. It must also be remembered that Red Bull too have a huge budget, top-class facilities, a technical team headed by Adrian Newey and they are very serious about their motor racing too (Red Bull purchased and revamped the old A1-ring, now the Red Bull ring). Red Bull are at the head of Formula One I think for good.

    Hamilton moving from McLaren to Red Bull would be a win situation for both sides. Red Bull will have two superb talents and PR machines. But I think the rivalry on track would be there best bit of advertising because it gets people talking. Look at Senna and Prost in McLaren. I think that snapshot scene of the MP4/5's locked together at the chicane is the best value of advertising Marlboro had ever got in their history of Grand Prix sponsorship, because it was controversional, memorable and yet perfectly sums up Formula One.

    Lewis Hamilton should move to Red Bull for the 2012 season. Why wait at McLaren for something that may or may not happen? Its almost certain the RB8 and RB9 will be title contenders. What McLaren MP4 will be the next title contender?

  • Comment number 65.

    I think the big issue for Hamilton if he moved is, as a German reporter(i think) pointed out to him is how he looks in the Red Bull uniform....and as such I don't think it can happen.

    Silly season just keeps starting earlier and earlier and is as silly as ever. There were and are lots of legitimate things to blog about right now, Williams, Goodwood, British GP, Button's injuries and British GP, how sucky the freeview red button has been and will it continue to be low priority to 3rd rate tournaments and matches from any other sport.

    Seems Andrew is obsessed with Lewis, perhaps that is what the new management team are after, get yourself in the press 24/7 and you become a brandname for marketing cologne etc. So perhaps his visit to Red Bull was purely a publicity stunt to cause the hounds to have a fit for a couple of months. Sure you refer this "a source with intimate knowledge of the driver market"...would any journalist count for this, and then having close knowledge of the driver market would far from meaning knowing anything greatly specific about these dealings, as you say later...

    "For now, no one beyond that needs to know anything about it - not even Whtmarsh or Horner. So at the end of the day, it comes down to Hamilton and Mateschitz, and how much each of them wants to link up with the other. Time will tell."

    So your intimate source if not Hamilton or Mateschitz, even you are saying doesn't know...which makes this a what...someone's uncle had a hunch this could happen so here you go...a full blown stirring blog based on a hunch, which had already been covered and trampled on a few weeks ago...

    Hey it might happen, but hey it might now, as 51 says

    "Who gives a stuff?"

  • Comment number 66.

    correction to 65 last line, now = not

  • Comment number 67.

    "Hamilton is widely regarded in F1 as the fastest driver in the world, and he certainly believes that of himself."
    Bernie Ecclestone and Stirling Moss don't think so, they think Vettel is!
    "For now, no one beyond that needs to know anything about it - not even Whitmarsh or Horner. So at the end of the day, it comes down to Hamilton and Mateschitz, and how much each of them wants to link up with the other. Time will tell."
    So why blog about it then? Especially when you blogged about the same topic a few weeks ago and then there is plenty of other things to blog about.

  • Comment number 68.

    If i was Lewis, i'd approach Ferrari and start making 'interested' noises, JUST, to wind Teflonso up!

  • Comment number 69.

    ah, all of you, just stop it now, Hamilton needs a winning car? redbullsh*t.
    McLaren need a winning driver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    One with balls, discipline and skill and no lame ass excuses, shut up and get on with it.
    If Sebastian would be in a McLaren, or Ferrari for that matter, he would be just as far ahead.
    Alonso and Hamilton the two best drivers in F1, I don't buy it. You make your own luck.
    Vettel and Kubica, unfortunately not at the moment, the two best drivers in F1? devo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Forza Vettel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Forza Kubica!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 70.

    As long as Adrian Newey remains at Red Bull they will have a leading car! Hamilton knows this and he wants to win multi-championships, and needs to be in the best car possible. McLaren aren't likely to come up with the goods until they have a super talented aerodynamist working with them that can also have sufficient clout to get the job done. - I also suspect McLaren have become rather too corporate internally so it actually works against producing a winning car. If the get out claus actually exists in Hamilton's contract as we are lead to believe and Mateschitz wants him, he will be at Red Bull next year regardless of the various smoke and mirrors acts going on.

  • Comment number 71.

    wow #69 you are right I always thought the car was one of the biggest elements in F1, but no if the best driver was in any car he would be storming ahead with 6 out of 8 wins and consistently 0.5 to 1 second a lap faster in qualifying! If only the mediocre teams realised this then they could forget about trying to improve their car and just get a better driver...yup yup that makes sense if you are nutz.

  • Comment number 72.

    whatever your opinions on hamilton are, i think we can all agree that the sport needs him. and to some extent need him to win once in a while. Look at the BBC F1 for example....when things are slow they just chuck another hamilton blog and a day later there is 100+ comments. Sorry Andrew but this story has been exhausted. How many articles need to be written about will he? wont he?

    I love f1 but im dreading the british grand prix... I dont want to spoil it for anyone but ...Red bull are gonna win. There.....now we can all get along with our gardening.

  • Comment number 73.

    Lets have done with all the arguments. Tony Brooks and Stirling Moss for McLaren!

  • Comment number 74.

    I really think Narain Karthikeyan is the fastest driver ... just got himself a rubbish car.
    Seriously, I believe there are not so many people around outside the UK who think Hamilton is the God driver.
    It's quite the contrary.
    Lewis who?

  • Comment number 75.

    Oh dear, Andrew Benson you really are more suited to work for a tabloid. This nonsense article is just speculation and gossip from un-named unverifiable sources with the usual side swipes at Lewis as we now expect with every article from the F1 journalists concerning Hamilton.

    This standard of journalism is way way below what we expect from the BBC. Your articles seem to serve no purpose other than to try and generate negative debate about Lewis.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ jdc505

    alonso IS the best driver. and hamilton IS the fastest driver. there is a difference! just ask alonso...

    http://en.espnf1.com/ferrari/motorsport/story/40937.html

    pretty sloppy not researching before posting ;)

  • Comment number 77.

    did we really need another blog about this? Three of your last five have been on the exact same topic and not much has changed. Would Hamilton like to be winning? Yes? Has Red Bull got the fastest car? Yes. Does that mean he'll go to Red Bull? Maybe.

    I'll let you use the above summary for your next blog. This is nothing more than bored and lazy journalism trying to find something to talk about because you have a deadline coming up. As of now this is a non-story, so let's stop talking about it.

  • Comment number 78.

    77. At 22:54 4th Jul 2011, TheTomTyke wrote:
    did we really need another blog about this? Three of your last five have been on the exact same topic and not much has changed. Would Hamilton like to be winning? Yes? Has Red Bull got the fastest car? Yes. Does that mean he'll go to Red Bull? Maybe.

    I'll let you use the above summary for your next blog. This is nothing more than bored and lazy journalism trying to find something to talk about because you have a deadline coming up. As of now this is a non-story, so let's stop talking about it.
    ----------------------------------------

    Unfortunately Benson won't stop these rubbish articles because he just want's to generate negative debate about Lewis so he'll use anything to do that even if it means stooping to quotes from un-known, un-verified sources.

    How does this guy keep his job?????

  • Comment number 79.

    After reading many others readers comments I find the whole subject being discussed in this way to be very disrespectful to Mark Webber - who, by the way is not a bad driver. For Red Bull or any other F1 team to pander to the ramblings of an upset Hamilton because for whatever reason he has not won I find incredible. To be a worthy F1 driver you do not crash on a regular basis when overtaking or attemting to overtake an equivalently powered car. Formula 1 is a test of drivers skills or should be and many former champions have won with inferior kit. Hamilton is typically whinging because he wants it on a plate. No doubting his skill but lets be real here.

  • Comment number 80.

    What was apparent in the last race was that up and till the last tire stop Vettel drove around in cruise mode. You could tell by the way the calm way he was able to drive, then he drove effortlessly away after the last pit stop. Sitting in one of the following cars when you know you are wringing the neck of it, it would be painfully apparent. Where in the past a driver could get enough performance from the tires for long enough to make a difference by driving the wheels off that isn't possible now.

    Hamilton has won once because in that race the way the tires lasted meant that the extra stop was the right call and RBR made the wrong call. In the majority of races the performance gain of an extra stop doesn't outweigh the time penalty.

    So what the new tires have done is improve the racing in one sense, by having more pit stops and more opportunities for huge performance differentials at various points in the race. However I think they actually work against the seat of your pants racer because that type of driver wears the tires quicker and although some lap times are faster the overall race time is effectively slower.

    Hamilton is making mistakes out of impatience because he knows he is slower and needs to make the most of the performance while he has it, knowing he has it for less time. Worse and this must be galling he knows that however hard he drives its not going to be enough and I think that was reflected in the telling team radio comments in the last race.

    I think the pennies now dropped that you can only win the world championship or even compete for it with the best car. Having a slightly inferior car means no chance because of the tires situation. Looking at the difference between Vettel and Webber again it has to be down to the tire management since we can only presume equal equipment.Qualify badly which Webber has done in many races and that's goodnight.

    Unless scrapping the blown diffuser makes a stellar difference or there is a driver change at RBR I fear that we will have lots of inevitable races unless it rains. Come on Bernie get the sprinklers out!!!

  • Comment number 81.


    Andrew Benson wrote:

    "Hamilton is widely regarded in F1 as the fastest driver in the world"


    No he is not. I can assure you.

    You can put it: "Hamilton is widely regarded IN BRITAIN as the fastest driver in the world" (alt. BY THE BRITISH PRESS)

    Or: "Hamilton is widely regarded in f1 as one the fastest drivers in the world in pure speed, but also one of the most ERRATIC; if you were to put together a montage of all his mistakes in his short career and in one of the most driveable cars you could make a whole movie."



  • Comment number 82.

    quite like this post

    -----------
    I really think Narain Karthikeyan is the fastest driver ... just got himself a rubbish car.
    Seriously, I believe there are not so many people around outside the UK who think Hamilton is the God driver.
    It's quite the contrary.
    Lewis who?
    ----------

    Last line asks a question answered by 3rd last line, good one.

  • Comment number 83.

    There is a lot of talk here about McLaren's failure to perform, variously blaming ace strategy, leadership and or engineering. But surely McLaren are the only team in 2011, other than Red Bull, to win any races? So they are surely not that far off the pace in a year where we have a dominant team & a dominant driver. There is also a tone in many comments here that seems to suggest that fans believe McLaren has some God given right to win, not unlike the English attitude to their football team, their cricket team and their rugby team. Maybe this is the issue more than McLaren's failure.

    While Lewis may be, arguably, the fastest driver, speed is only one of the attributes of you need to be the best. What he does appear to lack is a bit of finesse when it comes to tyre preservation and a tendency to take high risk decisions. Which makes for exciting racing but not always great results.

    He certainly is not quite there yet in challenging Alonso who seems to be regarded as the most complete driver.And yet Alonso has won nothing this year and is driving a Ferrari whose fans also subscribe to the God given right to win school of devotion.

    Of course if Hamilton does jump ship from McLaren and still fails to fulfil his ambitions, will we continue to hear constant carping about the stewards, the team and anything else or will Lewis and the die-hards accept that he wasn't quite good enough.

  • Comment number 84.

    Historically, drivers who have chopped and changed have achieved little. A prime example is the mess Jenson got himself into a few years ago.
    I'm convinced that his new management is looking at the money involved rather than promoting excellence in F1.

  • Comment number 85.

    Bit off topic but what the hey...

    I hate all these comments that Lewis is the fastest driver! The fastest driver is surely the driver that puts in the fastest race lap. You could say this is official as this is when lap record times are set. I believe these are the top three fastest drivers for 2011 so far:
    Aus - Massa, Alonso, Webber
    Malaysia - Webber, Alonso, Petrov
    China - Webber, Hamilton, Button
    Turkey - Webber, Alguersuari, Vettel
    Spain - Hamilton, Barrichello, Heidfeld
    Monaco - Webber, Vettel, Button
    Canada - Button, Vettel, Petrov
    European - Vettel, Alonso, Button

  • Comment number 86.

    A number of people are saying he cant be sure McLaren wont get the best car next year but before he signs for Red Bull I would be asking about Adrian Newey's contract. What chance Red Bull having the best car if Newey follows his traditional route of bailing once he has established dominance at a team. I must admit I would be talking to him first and offering to be his lead driver whichever team hes working for!

  • Comment number 87.

    Love Villeneuve's comments, DRS (artificial, overtakes before braking)- agree, penalties for racing or at least the danger of it every time someone tries - agree, Lewis - agree and so on, pampering is a good word for it, and artificial. DRS does not equal turbo boost button as Coulthard tries to sell it, the whole "be within 1 second at this line and only the person behind blah blah rules" makes it fake. Unlike boost/kers where it is a driver controlled limited resource that can be used both defensively and offensively. Might as well have Bernies' corner short cuts which is what this effectively is.

  • Comment number 88.

    McLaren aren't far away from RB. The difference, it seems to me, lies with Mr Whitmarsh & his immediate cabal; as others have said, the overall team performance has declined since he took over. With that slight % less qualifying/race performance, some very un-Mclaren-like tactical errors. pit-stop mistakes & plain bad calls at crucial race junctures (e.g. tyre changes wet/dry etc) , it all mounts up to LH (and co-driver) just missing out alot of the time.

    I think RB are on a roll, but I'm not sure how long that will last - alot of it seems to come down to Newey it seems - and will he hang around for ever?

    I personally feel that LH thinks similarly & he can't envisage Whitmarsh leaving any time soon either - hence his itchy feet & feeling that his limited time left might be better spent elsewhere.

    It's a bit of a catch-22 for LH: leave & risk RB losing their mojo (as well as having to define an equable & positive relationship with Vettel/RB) , or stay & see another 2-3 years drift under the current McLaren regime.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Stay where he is, and Hamilton can be pretty sure he will get a title-winning car eventually"

    ----------------------

    Sure, but the problem is he's not really a title-winning driver. Not intelligent enough. Vettel is. That's the difference.

    Vettel is a real driver, a complete driver, in the way that Alonso is.

    The only serious competition to those two could - conceivably - come from a rejuvenated Kubica. But there is no guarantee he will be the same driver when he comes back.

    Hamilton is fast in certain situations, but essentially he is a show-pony, not a future F1 great.

  • Comment number 90.

    I am utterly flabbergasted at the re-writing of history going on both in the blog and in the comments. The McLaren wasn't competitive in 2010? Lewis spent most of that season leading or within striking distance, and his season was only derailed by a sequence of DNFs, down to a mix of misfortune and error. I admit that a certain amount of Red Bull self-destruction made things seem closer than the equipment justified, but it's silly to describe the car as uncompetitive.

    Who are you going to drive for? RBR and Ferrari have their favourites installed, and aren't going to make any efforts in behalf of their number 2 driver. In fact, I can't see either being interested in taking Lewis on. The only other team with a realistic shot of winning titles consistently is McLaren. Lewis just has to take his lumps this year and hope that McLaren put a better car out in 2012.

  • Comment number 91.

    had a chuckle at this

    -----
    Di Montezemolo added that the next regulation change he would like to see would be a limit on aerodynamics.

    "Today, aerodynamics means 90 per cent of the performance," he said. "But I think this is not good because we are not building satellites or airplanes; we're building cars. Aerodynamics have to be less relevant in the performance of the car."
    ---

    In case you don't get it....satellites are well known for requiring great aerodynamics, yes :)

  • Comment number 92.

    The trouble with Hamilton is that he is to big headed for his own good, he must remember that it is impossible to win every race and that things will and do go wrong. Just get on with it and stop throwing the toys out of the pram. At present HE is just not good enough. Come on Alonso.

  • Comment number 93.

    I don't see where quite a few of you seem to have conjured up this myth that Hamilton is some kind of inconsistent crasher from. This season has had its moments with Massa, Maldonado and Webber. But I'm forced into thinking either most of you are either new to Formula One or have short term memory issues when the same people go on to sing Vettel's praises. I don't think anybody has seriously forgotten his record from last season, perhaps it's just been conveniently forgotten when he dragged the most dominant car over the line at the last race to win by a mere handful of points when it should have been a walk over. The people who are criticizing Lewis and asking the question of whether he could compete with Vettel at Red Bull should at the same time ask themselves the question can Vettel win a race by coming through the field without colliding with ever other car or running them off the track. Stop the speculation! We won't know until it happens, which it might not.

  • Comment number 94.

    well looking at the classifications it looks like big headed alonso is in a worse situation than hamilton so nothing to gloat about :) cmon lewis !!

  • Comment number 95.

    93 go and tell that to mister benson and his crewe of former average drivers... i name coulthard and brundle... i mean brundle and coulthard blaming lewis for his performances... thats rich !!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    "Stay where he is, and Hamilton can be pretty sure he will get a title-winning car eventually - just as Mika Hakkinen did after sticking with the team through the difficult years of the mid-1990s."

    That's a bit diffirent - was more a case of McLaren sticking with Hakkinen! Remember at that time he wasn't even a race winner, nevermind a W.C.. and didn't have the option to go to another big team.

  • Comment number 97.

    Most of the problems has to do with hamilton himself. The realization that he is not as good as he thinks he is. That others drivers are far more focused and more intelligent in their driving. The lack of maturity and the abilty to blame everybody/everything else for a bad drive except himself. A worst of all, playing the race card when he was clearly in the wrong followed by the grovelling and humilliating apology. Not the behaviour of an educated man.
    McLaren should ditch hamilton and get in a someone who wants it more.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hamiltons problem is the people he has whispering in his ear. Bensons problem is he sunbathes under Hamiltons rear end and obviously dislikes foreigners. As to who is the best, Vettel is, as he has the ability to learn from his mistakes.

  • Comment number 99.

    @92 - 98, Hi fanboys!

  • Comment number 100.

    loll benson doesnt like foreigners lolll typical from people who have inferiority complex they hate on everyone loll

 

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