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Hamilton glory cannot hide the hurt

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Andrew Benson | 19:34 UK time, Sunday, 9 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Italian Grand Prix was his second in three races and McLaren’s third in a row, confirming their position as the form team in Formula 1.

They have won nearly twice as many races as any other team this season – their five compare with the three of Ferrari and Red Bull. No-one else has won more than one.

Just as worryingly for their rivals, the last two victories – Hamilton’s on Sunday and Jenson Button’s in Belgium seven days previously – were utterly dominant.

The retirement of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel with his second alternator failure in a race this season also helped Hamilton move into second place in the championship.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton (centre) celebrates winning the Italian GP on the podium with Sergio Perez (left) and Fernando Alonso (right). Photo: Getty 

The 27-year-old may be 37 points behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, but there are 175 still available in the remaining seven races.

Alonso is, by common consent, the stand-out driver of 2012, but Hamilton has also driven a superb season and has almost certainly been second best.

Had it not been for a number of operational problems early in the championship, he may well be leading the championship. Even as it is, he has every chance of making a fight of it to the end of the season.

For a man in such a position, after a strong weekend, Hamilton was in a subdued mood after the race, as indeed he was throughout the four days in Monza.

He insisted that the BBC Sport story in which Eddie Jordan said that Hamilton was on the verge of leaving McLaren and signing for Mercedes had not affected him, but it did not look that way.

Whatever was prompting him to keep his answers short and to the point in his news conferences and television interviews certainly did not affect his driving.

He was in excellent form throughout the three days, tussling with Alonso for the honour of being fastest man at Monza.

And once the Spaniard was put out of the reckoning for victory with a rear anti-roll bar problem that left him in 10th place on the grid, Hamilton always looked odds-on for victory.

His task was made easier when Ferrari’s Felipe Massa beat Button away from the grid and held on to second place, with the McLaren never really hustling as it might have been expected to do, until he made his pit stop on lap 19. By then, Hamilton had the race won.

There was no evidence Button would have been able to challenge his team-mate had he got away in second place.

Button did close a little a few laps after their pit stops, but it was clear Hamilton was measuring his pace, and he let Button get no closer than seven seconds before holding him there until the second McLaren retired with a fuel system problem.

It was a mature, controlled drive, just as were his victories in Canada and Hungary. Alonso, who rates him as his toughest rival, will take the threat from him in the championship very seriously.

All in all, it was a tense weekend at McLaren. The Hamilton/Mercedes story made it a difficult weekend for the team and the relationship between their two drivers is frosty, presumably following Hamilton’s decision to post a picture of confidential team telemetry on the social networking site Twitter on the morning of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Button said he was “surprised and disappointed” by his team-mate’s actions, for which read “seriously hacked off”.

“I didn’t concentrate on it too much,” Button said on his arrival at Monza. “I thought it was important to say how I felt. It’s very easy not to say anything; also if you say something you can clear it up quicker. That was the last race. We’ve moved on from that.”

Perhaps, but the body language between the two men was palpably cool throughout the weekend, and they were not troubling to hide it, even in public arenas such as the restaurant at their hotel.

One night, sitting at adjacent tables, they did not even look at or acknowledge each other, let alone exchange a word.

McLaren insiders were relaxed about the situation, though. They like their drivers to race and a bit of edge focuses their minds, one senior figure pointed out.

Hamilton admitted his victory would have been a lot harder had Alonso qualified on the front row, as he looked certain to do before his problem in qualifying.

As it was, Alonso was forced to salvage what he could from 10th on the grid and, typically, he made the most of the situation.

An aggressive and clinical first few laps go him into fifth place by lap seven, but there his progress halted against the back of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.

The world champion was robust in his defence, and Alonso was not able to pass before they made their pit stops together on lap 20.

Ferrari’s slick pit work, consistently among the best this season, almost got him out ahead of Vettel, but the Red Bull edged ahead, forcing Alonso to get past on the track.

When he went for the big move, around the outside of Curva Grande at 180mph on lap 26, Vettel unceremoniously barged him on to the grass, the Ferrari bucking scarily as Alonso wrestled for control.

Understandably, he was furious, although he kept his counsel after the race. It was a sure-fire penalty, in the context of a clarification on acceptable driving which was issued verbally to the drivers at the Spanish Grand Prix and then in written form in Canada.

The assumption was that Vettel was getting Alonso back for a similar situation, with roles reversed, in last year’s Italian Grand Prix. That one, in which Vettel passed Alonso with two wheels on the grass, has rankled with the German ever since.

He has brought it up at every opportunity, and this looked very much like revenge.

The difference was that, then, Alonso left Vettel just enough room, and Vettel took to the grass when he could – just – have stayed on the track. This time, Vettel left no room, and his behaviour was clearly unacceptable.

Vettel has the arrogance and self-belief that is required of all great drivers but there is also sometimes a sense of entitlement about him which is less than appealing.

He got this one wrong, and one hopes that when he watches a video of the incident, he will recognise that himself.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Great weekend for Hamilton. Brilliant Saturday and untroubled Sunday, just what the doctor ordered after the torrid weekend he had in Spa. Hopefully this is Hamilton turning the corner and he, and McLaren, can move on from all the in-fighting of last week and concentrate on grabbing a championship or two.

    A shame for Button as that second place, or third (Perez was on a serious roll at the end of the race) with Vettel and Webber not finishing would have boosted his Championship credentials somewhat! Now though, he could be a little too far back to, realistically, be in with much chance.

    More of the same please McLaren!

  • Comment number 4.

    Great performances throughout the field, superb drive from Hamilton. Shame about Button's troubles, would have loved to see a McLaren 1-2. A little part of me was disappointed not to see Massa on the podium, but outstanding job by Perez to maximise a strategy opportunity.
    This was a much more balanced and unbiased article than usual, Andrew. Though I still noticed a couple of digs here, that were slightly irrelevant....

  • Comment number 5.

    @2 wow you want fish with that massive chip?

  • Comment number 6.

    @1 and 2...

    The negative narrative is very much of Lewis's own making I'm afraid. He hasn't signed for McLaren, his management company have been looking to other teams for a seat, clearly someone's making mischief about Mercedes and he does silly things like put telemetry data out there for everyone to see, a clear faux pas if ever there was one. As for the race its made clear for all to see in the blog - Lewis was top dog today and no bones are made about it. If Jenson had not retired I don't think he could have won today, Lewis had the edge.

    As for Spactus's slant at a racial bias, personally I think that is little more than fanboi fantasy and people making such accusations need to get a life. There is no racial bias but I think there may be a little frustration amongst some serious commentators about how a driver with such a raw talent keeps landing himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. He could learn a lot from his team mate in that respect.

    You read/hear what you want to read/hear I guess.

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    Andrew

    I would echo other comments. Why is it that you and the BBC team are so mealy-mouthed about LH's success and so complimentary about JB and Paul DiResta.

    Look who is second in the championship and who has consistently out-qualified JB.

    Why are you all so biased?

  • Comment number 9.

    Maybe he is subdued and short in interviews because he is sick of having to divert questions about his future when it is still all largely speculation and he just wants to race. LH and JB are obviously not getting along right now. I get the feeling that LH is feeling increasingly pushed out at McLaren. Alonso has the better chance of winning the championship because he has the support of not only the team but his teammate also and that could be McLaren and LH's downfall this weekend if they do not make the no.1 driver decision in the next couple of races if JB is unable to make up any ground.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 11.

    @7
    "
    You know full well that Hamilton can no longer be himself or give an open or honest opinion because of the media storm that journalists like you will whip up if you can find anything negative in what he says.

    Considering the abuse he's got over the last week I'm not surprised that the media only get scripted answers now."

    So you don't think he brings it on himself by his own antics? It's perfectly OK to post confidential team information on a public forum? It's OK to effectively blame your team for a decision you made as a team??

    Journalists always look for their pound of flesh for tomorrow's chip paper, they always have. LH will fall for it on occasion so they will always chance their arm and when they get golden open goals like they did as Spa what do you reasonably expect? LH is his own worst enemy I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 12.

    The rules have changed, but I don´t see a fundamental difference in the Vettel/Alonso overtakes of 2011/12. One is not more dangerous than the other, both are marginal.

    There´s an interesting side by side video on YouTube of the moves by Vettel on Alonso in 2011 and Alonso on Vettel in 2012. True, in 2012, Alonso has 4 wheels on the grass, but Vettel´s car is more to the centre of the track at that point than Alonso´s car at the same point the previous year. Maybe Alonso just couldn´t keep the car as tight as Vettel did in 2012, rather than he was run off the road?

    Both are fantastic drivers, and that´s racing, including the politics. Good interesting race, excellent performance by Hamilton.

  • Comment number 13.

    McLaren need Lewis far more than Lewis needs McLaren as JB will never be a strong number one who'll put it on pole more often than not. We saw with Lewis' fantastic qualifying last year despite huge criticism and a dominant Red Bull he consistently put it on the front row, even when his car is not apparently up to the task.

    And now on to Benson, it seems that his Anti-Lewis stance just couldn't be effectively put across today, so his hateful, biased journalism has turned to our double world champion Vettel. Alonso, as good a driver as he is, deliberately pulled off onto the grass in order to dramatize the move, as there was plenty of space for him to have just two wheels on the grass like he forced Sebastian into last year. However, I'm sure realising that Vettel is his main championship contender along with Lewis, he needed to prevent the German gaining any points this weekend. I'm shocked with these mindgames that Alonso seems to be playing, seemingly blaming Hamilton for the crash and Spa, as well as speaking out at the 'dangerous' move by Vettel that caused him no damage, whilst refusing to blame Grosjean for nearly taking his head off. I thought Fernando was a true F1 great, but no more.

  • Comment number 14.

    @12 I'd love to get that link?

  • Comment number 15.

    Just wasted 4 precious minutes of my life reading this, time i'll never get back.

    Leave LH alone to get on with what he's paid to do and that is driving.

    I personally love those "short answers" given by Lewis. Now you media guys can do elsewhere to get your rubbish stories and unfounded rumours.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    @5 &6, very well said - however i suspect those who write such rubbish as 1,2,7,8 won't understand your subtlety The response I am tempted to give is much more direct.

    I'm a big Lewis fan, and whilst reading the blog I didn't once think 'cor, those horrible racists at the BBC have really got it in for poor Lewis'. Maybe I'm just not intellectually agile enough to understand the undertones, like some others can.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hamiltons performs well - we report the negetive. How about some new tunes!?

    Surely Sergio Perez's talent would be more intersting, rather than just re-hashing pretty obvious well-trodden ground again.

  • Comment number 19.

    @13: 'hateful, biased journalism'... You big girl's blouse - truly pathetic

  • Comment number 20.

    Just imagine what Benson would be writing if it was button who won this race and not Hamilton.

    I have never wrote on this blog before, but after seeing the difference between the way button's win and Hamilton's win has been recorded by the BBC's Chief F1 Editor I have to say it is very dissapointing.

    Button and Hamilton wins were equally dominant, I thought maybe Benson would write them equally, but then I saw the title and realized that it was stupid of me to expect that

  • Comment number 21.

    I read this article and thought "oh good, surely the usual people who comment on this blog with the boring "Mr Benson is in love with Jenson" and "why do you never say nice things about lewis?!" would finally have nothing to say, but the first two comments sure to make me look stupid.

    How can you accuse the BBC or Andrew Benson of being biased against Lewis, or not really ever being complimentary, when he says "Alonso is, by common consent, the stand-out driver of 2012, but Hamilton has also driven a superb season and has almost certainly been second best." That's a good thing, right??

    I for one like these blogs. They are after all, blogs. Not a race report. People always say "why didn't you talk about driver x's race at all? you must hate him". Well the blog wasn't about that, was it, grow up.

    And while i'm at it, post 13, you are an idiot. "Alonso, as good a driver as he is, deliberately pulled off onto the grass in order to dramatize the move" .
    Either that, or you have a special direct line to Fernando's inner thoughts, in which case you should really be on the tv.

  • Comment number 22.

    @18
    Amen to that! Perez was outstanding today, as he has been most of the season.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think the stewards were harsh with Vettle, yes he moved half a cars width to thge left but not sharply, Alonso didn't need to go asfar onto the grass as he did. In F1 "justice" seems to e based on what you think of the pewrsonality of the offender; Webber Buitton and Rosberg for example will be treated lightly, but Maldanardo Vettle and Schumacker harshly. I dislike the latter three also but their errors should be punished at the standard level.
    Apart from all that stuff; great race today and well done Lewis!

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.

    I have to admit the reporting is very anti-Lewis.
    Every fault and mistake made by Lewis is critically examined, yet Button is lauded even when his performances have not matched his team mate.
    As for the Vettel move, it was very robust, but Alonso also decided to place his car in a very dangerous spot knowing he would be forced on the grass if Vettel did not leave room.
    I think some commentators forget this is hard ball racing and not a knitting competition.
    I fear the sport is going to become too heavily policed and it will only be a matter of time before speed cameras and speeding tickets are introduced.
    F1 has become too safety conscious and is not the same sport it was 10 to 15 years ago.
    The safest option for running an F1 event is not to run it at all.

  • Comment number 26.

    well done to mclaren and a hat-trick of wins! another great performance for #TeamGB

    also as to benson alluding to drivers not talking, I am sure that webber and vettel are best of pals, same for massa and alonso, roseberg and schumacher! please BBC don't try to sensationalise F1 Coverage, you have die hard fans, please don't feel you have to do this to attract new followers this was. keep it simple and get the exclusive like bernie's schumi slip up!

  • Comment number 27.

    @20, nothing in that blog is as dissapointing (sic) as your grammar and spelling.

  • Comment number 28.

    Jenson could well justify being hacked off (even if Gary Andersen confirmed that nothing confidential was divulged) however, what he has done is just as bad if not worse with his public rebuke via media rather than private clearing air with Lewis that plus other ‘Lewis-based’ opinions always being expressed in the media suggest someone has little interest in a reconciliation anyway.
    Loving the drama. Long may it continue!

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think the vast majority have hit the nail on the head the BBC have always shown bias towards JB. Lewis had a cracking race and whole weekend. Lets remember that he now has a real chance at the title and the relationship between him and JB will only get more difficult if they are expected to pull the stunts that Ferrari showed today. Felt sorry for massa today as getting a podium would have strengthened his chances of keeping his drive.
    Yeas publishing telemetry data wasn't lewis best moment but i think as another posters said Mclaren may need him more than he needs Maclaren. But i don't think Mercedes would be a good team for him as they are only semi competitive at best and there is no where else to go if you believe the media

  • Comment number 31.

    At 21. In regards to 13, you don't need to be an expert. Just re-watch the footage and you will see for yourself.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Perhaps that is his intention anyway in order not support Lewis in the championship – although it really shouldn’t be his call although one supposes with Whitmarsh calling the shots it probably will.

  • Comment number 34.

    It really is remarkable the bias nearly all formula 1 fans adopt when another driver has a good day.

    I won't belittle you or myself Andrew to claim any of this has any basis in race, it would only serve to undermine my rationale. But you clearly are defensive when it comes to acknowledging Hamilton's good performances.

    I can see why, Hamilton appears on the scene with a bang in '07 and rocks all reference points for Alonso fans by providing him the biggest challenge of his career as a rookie no less.

    And Hamilton fans do the same also when Button gains any ground on Hamilton, be it in races, qualifying or even as a better handler of PR events and the press.

    Previous posts have mentioned the difference between the write up regarding last week's race compared to this one and the two separate tones are clear to see.

    You spend a quarter of the article praising the McLaren team, a quarter running through a list of circumstances which would have resulted in Lewis losing the race, a quarter delving into last week's news regarding twitter and the final quarter defending your dear Alonso.

    Although praise where it's due, I found a sentence where you do acknowledge Hamilton's performance "He was in excellent form throughout the three days, tussling with Alonso for the honour of being fastest man at Monza". And for reference, i mean the praise goes to me for finding the sentence rather than you for writing it.

    Don't get me wrong, the team have done exceptionally well and deserved mentioned. The Alonso/Vettel incident does also deserve analysis, but perhaps in a blog later in the week. you yourself have commented previously saying this blog is for the story of the day; the winner.

    Wouldn't it be fantastic for us to except that our believed greatest drivers are not the greatest every race, or every season for that matter. If only we had the grace to acknowledge a good drive when one is driven. Or to see the flaws in the drivers we believe are the greatest. After all it's rather arrogant to believe our opinions are correct all the time.

    However that said, today's race was fantastic. Plenty of overtaking outside the DRS zones, mixed tactics and the odd calamity.

    I said it last week when Jenson won and I'll say it this week; excellent drive from the winner, they got the hard work done on the Saturday and it's the most efficient way to win a race.

    Stand out mentions go to Perez and Alonso, incredible drives from the pair. And I actually agree with you Andrew, Vettel deserved his penalty. Not because the move was different from last year but because the rules are. Alonso forced Vettel's two wheels off the track last year and this year Vettel forced all four off. To me both are incredibly dangerous and now, luckily enough, illegal.

    I don't expect you to not have a belief who is the greatest, I don't think anyone who truly cares for the sport can truly be impartial. I just hope there is greater consistency in reporting in future.

  • Comment number 35.

    Having read the rules and watched the alonso-vettel incident several times, it was just alonso looking for attention and something to moan about, and by going off he conned the stewards, and evidentally andrew benson, into thinking vettel had done something other than driven round a corner normally.

  • Comment number 36.

    Just to say I watched it on Sky and after the race Lewis spoke with them and I thought he was brilliant, shook all of their hands, laughed and joked with them. He actually seemed to answer questions with Sky. not sure what others think, but maybe Lewis is being short with the BBC for a reason

  • Comment number 37.

    @27 sorry if I made one spelling mistake, but anyway this is the internet, you really should not be looking to pick out people's grammatical mistakes

  • Comment number 38.

    Great win by Lewis, and a great drive by Perez. Ferrari, or to be precise their president, say he is too inexperienced, but surely he is good enough for a top seat, although a season as a teammate to Fernando might knock his confidence. It was strange to see how quick he was on the mediums (and how well they lasted) compared to others at the start, although they were on high fuel. However, if Ferrari do ignore him then if Schumacher or Hamilton leave their respective teams then surely merc or Mclaren should try to get him. My own opinion on Ferrari is that they will keep Massa, he is well off the pace but is happy to move well out of the way of Fernando and do their donkey work. It was a shame about Button's retirement, a Mclaren 1-2 would have been nice but I think Perez would have got 2nd anyway. Kimi always seem to there and there about but the lotus doesn't seem to be quite good enough for him to win the wdc, which is starting to look like Alonso's unless Hamilton or maybe Vettel (if the RBR improves) can win 2 or 3 on the bounce. Finally, i originally thought Vettel's penalty was harsh, but on reflection maybe it was deserved, either way the stewards are certainly being harsher this year, think of this (similar to Monza last year), Vettel and Massa's penalties for ignoring yellows in Spain and maybe others I have missed.

  • Comment number 39.

    You can comment on the differences between the two blogs about Jenson and Lewis's races but the spotlight would be more on the positives of Lewis's race if he wasn't surrounded by hype he might be leaving his team and after he tweeted secret telemetry. Jenson has nothing going on outside of the track so what else is there to comment on but the race?

    The fact that he would (consider to) leave McLaren is almost like watching a marriage fall apart as after all he has had links with them all of his life and both have such high regard for each other you have to wonder which one is not happy with the other. No other team has this special relationship so it is bound to be a talking point as you would expect it all to be going on well considering they have known each other so well and for so long.

  • Comment number 40.

    @36 , i think you right there he was rather guarded today but more open with the sky crew than the BBC

  • Comment number 41.

    Also, a lot of comments here regarding the BBC. I don't think it takes a genius to work out that JB is their favourite drivers (compare the coverage of Spa to Monza quali) and how often he appears in the BBC opening sequence, however I would, even as a Hamilton fan (who still supports Button and Di Resta) that his tweeting wasn't clever to say the least. Also, sorry for the length of the last post!

  • Comment number 42.

    Great race with some superb tactics and different strategies applied giving us exactly what we need for an exciting race. As for comments 23 & 35 these just add to the whole soap opera of it all when you have comments from people who have clearly never raced or understand the reality of racing wheel to wheel with someone. Love it and great to also see the Hamilton V Button debate rage on. To think when Hamilton finished the 2007 that a driver who had only competed in one race at that time would go on to win more races and championships by now than him. If only Hamilton was as smart as he is quick an impulsive who knows how good he could be.

  • Comment number 43.

    @36 It would not surprise me if he was more open with sky compared to the BBC, since it was one of the BBC crew, Eddie Jordan, who 'leaked' the story about him joining Mercedes

  • Comment number 44.

    Mr. Benson. Your blatant hatred of Lewis Hamilton and further attempts to justify this by creating fake stories (in the restaurant) about any rift are really really getting tired now. You've been doing it for years. Give up, go and report on something where hype, inaccuracies, favouritism and journalist conjured hatred will be appreciated.

    This is enough, I for one will be writing to George Entwistle to complain about this and previous blogs made in the same manner. Anyone else feeling the same should do the same.

    There are enough one sided fanboys on these blogs making stupid comments without giving them all a head start.

  • Comment number 45.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 46.

    My god, I thought football blogs were posted on by blinkered idiots but most of the above really takes the biscuit.

    Benson says how great Hamilton has been all weekend, says hes been the second best driver of the season ( admittedly not exactly great praise as he is second in the championship) and suggests that early operational problems are why he's not top of the championship.

    But because he mentions other things in his blog as well he's showing bias against Hamilton. Its not surprising he talks about Hamilton's tweet, it is one of the most newsworthy incidents of the season given plenty of coverage by all major news outlets.

    Not a huge F1 fan but this season is turning out to be a classic which is grabbing the attention of former and floating fans. Lets hope the end of the season lives up to the past few months.

  • Comment number 47.

    So bored of the Alonso love-in and his constant moaning whenever something doesn't go his way. Vettel just gave him some of his own medicine and he couldn't take it. Harsh penalty.

    Also a shame that Button had the DNF today - considering the championship will likely (or at least so it seems) be down to the 2 McLaren drivers now, it would have possibly been more interesting had Button stayed a bit closer in the standings - nobody seems to have a solid answer to McLaren who seem to have cemented their early promise of having the best car this season - I think sadly this is Hamilton's title to lose - will be interesting to see how long it will be before Alonso turns the attention of his constant whining towards Hamilton.

    It is wierd though, I still don't feel like I'm watching true F1 this season, the races, they just make for really odd watching. In a bizarre way, while there have been plenty of "exciting" races, I haven't really come away feeling satisfied with any of them - this entire season and the tyres nonsense, it just feels like they have destroyed the sport a bit.

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    Andrew, an utterly appalling and biased view of the Vettel Alonso incident. Vettel did NOTHING wrong and is entitled to take whatever line he chooses as he was infront. The closing speed of Alonso is what made this an incident in the first place and this was his to manage. I am an Alonso fan but as many said after the race the penalty was unjust and ridiculous.

    Here's hoping the fight for the title will be between Vettel and Alonso. This is the fight we want to see between the two best DRIVERS on the grid.

    Andrew your pro-Hamilton bias is getting ridiculous, you could just ask him to marry you????

  • Comment number 50.

    So Benson, you seem proud that a story the BBC seem to have concocted from thin air with no real evidence to back it up has unsettled Hamilton.

    Very professional!

    Why oh why does my licence fee pay for the BBC to behave like a cheap rag of a tabloid newspaper?

  • Comment number 51.

    Wow, haven't read these blogs before but the comments are very strange!

    If the BBC are so biased to JB how come we usually don't even see him qualify? (or hear much about it)

    LH had a very good weekend which he worked hard for.

    JB was unlucky.

    Vettel/Alonso, same as last year (in reverse), though the rules have been clarified since. Vettel last year handled it better than Alonso this year.

    Perez was the real star in the race for me. Superb drive.

    As for the speculation on LH, i'll care when a deal is signed. Let him race.

  • Comment number 52.

    Regarding the incident with Vettel and Alonso. A penalty was given for this incident, although I agree it warranted a penalty, I do not think it should have been given considering the other incidents that occurred before it that went unpunished by the stewards.

    1) Rosberg pushing Senna of the track at Turn 1.
    2) Senna cutting the corner and then not giving Rosberg back the position.
    3) Di Resta pushing Senna onto the grass going into della Roggia.

    All of these incident occurred before the Vettel/Alonso incident and they all went unpunished, they didn't even come up as "being investigated" and then either "drive-through", "investigated after the race" or "no further action". The stewards at the race were totally inconsistent and going by what they didn't punish, the Vettel incident should not have been punished either.

  • Comment number 53.

    For once, I have to disagree, don't think AB is bashing LH in this particular post.

    What I don't get however, is why no one mentions the obvious.

    LH feels that he is being disadvantaged and not fully supported at McLaren.
    So my question, is that not obvious to journalists and readers? It is to me.

    This is the one single thing that could have prompted his publication of the picture: he was saying look public, McL is playing dirty tricks. And thats why JB was offended too.

    The publication was a huge move, but he made countless smaller complaints & hints at that earlier, ever since the Turkish Grand Prix 2010. If you want me to go into details, give me a shout and I will.

    And everyone (EJ, DC, BBC) thinks he only wants money. I doubt that. Didn't it strike anyone that he wants more support from his team? And when he is mad at operational+strategy errors, I don't think he would get AS bitter if he knew they were simply mistakes.

    Rather, I wouldn't be surprised if he thought, that McL often gave JB better race strategies and tried this in quali too. That's the kind of stuff that might make you want to leave a team that won 3 races in a row.

  • Comment number 54.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 55.

    Nice how no one has pointed out Kimi Raikonnen is only 1 point behind Hamilton, with 0 wins to Hamilton's 3. Nice how no one is replaying the comments from Hamilton at the start of the season saying consistency is key.

    With Vettel, Raikonnen and Hamilton separated by 3 points, they could quite easilly keep taking points off each other.
    A 37 point lead will be very handy when the other drivers all share the wins.

    That being said, McLaren look rock solid now. Strange how Vettel was pretty good at Spa, but not at Monza.

    Will be really interesting over the next few races. I really hope it can stay as a 4 way fight!

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 I noticed the boo's too, not only when Lewis took to the podium and when being interviewed but also when the national anthem was being played. That's disgraceful and the FIA should seriously look at that with a view to keeping the track closed to spectators during the ceremony like most other circuits.

  • Comment number 57.

    @55 you are right about Kimi, he has been very consistent, and for a comeback year. my concern about him in the championship is Lotus were 3rd in Spa, after over half of the top 10 were taken out and without really challenging for the lead and holding off a force india, and 5th today with Button out, Vettel with a penalty then out, so it could have been 7th, then another lap and maybe 8th or 9th, so while in terms of points Kimi is still there, the car would be worrying for him.

  • Comment number 58.

    great point Gregsterh Lewis was mad last week because he believe the team set him up to fail.why the spilt on setup when you have the best car...so they use the cover of no practise to decieve Lewis into a less competitive setup,and by the way they been doing that since 2010 to make Button look more copetitive.remember the story entering into spa was when would Button have to support LEWIS ,and that annoyed the hell out of Witmarsh and Button so the stuff Lewis to close the gap..But bOYZ CLUB of Culthard and Brundle and Witmarsh want to push the narrative that Lewis is sulking because he got beat

  • Comment number 59.

    hamilton is a spoiled little brat

  • Comment number 60.

    @58 spactus i think they supported lewis all through 2011 though..... please leave the analysis to the professionals!! go to the dailymail for gossip...

  • Comment number 61.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 62.

    The number of pathetic comments on these blogs is truly astounding. I quite like Hamilton and Button but I cannot stand their blinkered fans who post comments on every article on this website. Nice to see Kimi moving up the table, would be a great story if the Iceman could somehow nick the title, sadly his Lotus doesn't quite have the pace to challenge for wins at the moment.

  • Comment number 63.

    Jay is that you Jenson...well we the Lewis fan wont be silence by either the naive or the ignorant

  • Comment number 64.

    Alonso is massively overrated. I don't think the Ferrari has been anywhere near as bad as he has been proclaiming, especially since China. He leads the championship simply because he has had more luck than his nearest rivals.

    To gain 7 places (one of them being his submissive pet of a teammate, and others like JB) in the car he has, on a track like this, is nothing to get too excited about. Massa is clearly not in the same league as any of the other top 11 drivers in the standings, he serves to land praise on Fernando. Get well soon Kubica. The Mclaren has returned to form since Silverstone, and the Red Bull has tailed off in recent races, but overall the 3 leading teams have had the same performance. For me, there's only been one outstanding driver - C'mon Kimi!

    One more thing(/dig); besides China this year, Schumacher has been far more impressive than Rosberg for the past 2 seasons, I feel like the only person in the world who thinks this way??? I really don't know why it's assumed that Hamilton would be any great improvement on the old timer.

  • Comment number 65.

    i think it will be down to his management team ordering him to remain neutral so as to not give any thing away, this will i think drive a wedge in the mclaren team as the season goes on, his race was good today got out in front and ran away much like button last week, nothing spectacular except down the field where the contest for points was well fought.
    Ok so onto the next race and lets see what comes the way of the fans.

  • Comment number 66.

    lewis needs to grow up

  • Comment number 67.

    I have to say that I don't understand the comments from the LH fans. Personally, I think he's a fantastic driver, and great to watch... in the car. Outside of the car is a different story. He's brought every bit of pressure and criticism on himself. There's no point in going through all of the daft things he's done and said, but he should stop sulking and get on with it. I hope he signs for Lotus or Mercedes... they won't put up with that kind of nonsense.

    It'll be a waste of so much talent if he doesn't win several world championships, but if he continues the way he's going, he'll certainly underachieve.

    As for Button, I think he's been making snide comments in the press (such as the Button/Coulthard chat where they both had sneaky little digs at Hamilton over the Twitter nonsense) that don't help the situation. Pretty poor from a supposed team player.

    Finally, so many of you complain about Andrew's column every time... if you hate it so much, stop reading it. Myself, I find it informative and entertaining, and if I don't agree with everything, I remind myself that everyone is entitled to an opinion!

  • Comment number 68.

    Keep going Jenson; you're a far better driver than Lewis! The sooner Lewis goes to Mercedes, or wherever else he chooses, the better...

  • Comment number 69.

    Button and Vettel's DNFs today effectively negated the Spa result. It was back to business today.

    Andrew, please PLEASE tell me how your restaurant anecdote has ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. I dislike most of your blogs because, like others here, I honestly see the difference in your attitudes to JB and LH. But I was reading along fine until that stupid restaurant reference.

    Team-mates don't have to be friends, and by god not everyone has to love Jenson Button like the Beeb do.

    Its sad really because I'm a Button fan, but its stuff like this that is making me want Button to fail just to stick one in the eye of the BBC. How dreadful is that?! But there you go.

    I'm thoroughly enjoying the Sky coverage. Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and The Brundle providing top-quality and distinctly unbiased reviews. BBC should learn from them.

    Lewis is clearly having a rough time of it, the tweet should be done and forgotten about (anyone who follows him on twitter might have even put it down to his "engaging with the fans" thing he's been doing recently, but like anyone in the world he just didnt think about the ramifications of that tweet at that moment in time - we all say and do things we regret).

    Let the guy race, its what he's good at, and if he's moody with the media then just take a look at Raikkonen's media record yeah?

    Anyway. The title race is Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel/Raikkonen. Juicy.

  • Comment number 70.

    @63 spactus yes of course its me jenson how did you guess? yes of course silencing you, no need for comments like on here... seriously read the dailymail.....

  • Comment number 71.

    If all the remaining races are dry, Lewis has a real chance, if it rains the McClaren tyres don't work.

  • Comment number 72.

    I have just watched Martin Whitmarsh inteviewed by Eddie Jordan. In response to the inevitable question I could see that MW looked very uncomfortable. If my wife was talking like that about our marriage I would kind of expect the divorce to be in the post.

  • Comment number 73.

    @APlikesF1 Try Alonso to win, Button 2nd and Vettel 3rd, with Webber 4th? Think all the speculation and rumours will get to LH!

    So, it's a 4 horse race then... I don't think so!

  • Comment number 74.

    Come home and pay taxes like ordinary people, young man, then you'll be respected and happier.

  • Comment number 75.

    Having followed F1 and been involved in Motorsport for 31 of my of my 35 years I noticed something odd 5 years ago, a new breed of F1 fans or should I say Lewis fans. Watching Lewis move up though the ranks was pure pleasure it seemed that for the first time in a long time the UK had a driver that could be a true great. However there wasnt much media nore did he have a huge fan base until 2007 ! then there was a massive media circus and a wave of new fans all wearing Lewis T Shirts & caps. I beleive Lewis does have what it takes to be the greatest driver of his generation but to do so he needs to mature and adapt his appoach. His driving talent is unquestioable but to be a mutiple world champ you either need a car that can smoke the rest without failure or play the long game keeping youself out of trouble and make scoring points a pass time when a win is not possible.

    Lewis is not yet the full package and until he starts to take advise and open his mind to critics he will stay the driver with the potential to be the greatest as opposed to the greatest which will be a massive waste and a real shame.

    Jenson gets alot of criticism from Lewis fans many for the 2 dark years in that Earth car ! but take those years out of his career and it starts to look somewhat better. In the early years at Honda he went up againt Ferrari and Renualt at their height with Shu and Alonso also on form and given the performance difference those guys had he held is own and learnt how to work with a team to get better performance which paid off in 2009.

    Is jenson or Lewis the better driver ? well everyone will have their opinion but Jenson is cleary better with the team, media, tactics, RnD and is cheaper. Why would a team work extra hard for you if you dont show them respect ? why would they pay you the same as a muti world champ if you are not ? why should a team mate accept that you have made public data from their run ? why should F1 fans (not Lewis fans) and the media not pass comment on your current performance?

    Basically Lewis needs to chill out a bit and beleive he is the best before acting like it. Alonso seems to have gone though this milestone in recent years and will no doubt be racking up more championships and success.

    Lewis if you do read this then please mate listen to us because we so want you to fullfill the hype and sometimes the best people to listen to are the ones that arent licking your ass !

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    @71 that is a very good point I didn't think of :)

  • Comment number 78.

    69.
    At 22:46 9th Sep 2012, APlikesF1 wrote:

    Andrew, please PLEASE tell me how your restaurant anecdote has ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING. I dislike most of your blogs because, like others here, I honestly see the difference in your attitudes to JB and LH. But I was reading along fine until that stupid restaurant reference.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Totally Agree!

    F-1 drivers have contractual agreements to entertain / dine with sponsors, so you sit your drivers on different tables and entertain more sponsors.

  • Comment number 79.

    andy0583 needs to grow up

  • Comment number 80.

    regarding Perez. He is racing out of his skin. Why then would he want to move to Ferrari to be held back and not aloud to win if Alonso is in with a sniff. He's better where he is and looking for a drive at McLaren or Lotus sooner where there is no number 1 driver.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ Tell it how it is (and others regarding the media)

    Couldn't have put it better. Lewis hasn't exactly helped himself off-track, but maybe if the media would atop acting like toe-rags (I know it would be against their nature) towards him, LH might feel a bit more relaxed and less tight lipped.

  • Comment number 82.

    Another great drive from LH controlled it from the start, showing a level of maturity this year that seems to suggest McLaren would be mad to let him go. But then given the financial challenges they face, no Mercedes partnership next year, VF reviewing their sponsorship and now Santander announcing that they are reviewing their sponsorship of F1 it may be time to move to a team with more guaranteed resources and do what MS did with Ferrari and build a winning team around you.

    Imoressed with Perez great drive, perfect strategy, clearly the stand out driver amongst the new boys, Alonso again a great start and took as much as he could from the race, Button, Vettel and Webber all unfortunate. Kimi, quietly going about his business and still in touch for the title.

    Still anyone of five for the title, instinct tells me it will be down to LH v FS but never write the others off, turning into another great F1 climax.

  • Comment number 83.

    I dunno reading some of these comments (the ones that actually make points !) maybe Lewis does just want and need more support from his team. But when relations break down with your employer you either need to tow the line or get a new job. Lewis doenst seem good at towing the line so lets hope he finds a new job !

    Notice a comment about Mc given Jenson the better race setup and strategies maybe I am wrong but I have never known a team to push either onto a driver. Normally they try a few setups look at performance and decide as for strategy the same applies normally the driver and their engineer have the finally say and the team make the ad hoc changes as the race unfolds. JB has always been good at strategy in every team he has driven for this could be down to more experience in under performing cars meaning this has always played a big part in his perfomance.

    As for all you trolls ! really guys get a life JB and LH are talented drivers they have to be that before they even get a test in a F1 car let alone win titles ! so LH trolls give the guy a break hes cleary tying hard and loves racing, to the JB trolls it is not JB fault Lewis is not winning or that Lewis has come across spoilt in the press ! a true F1 fan enjoys watching all the drivers and respects the fastest guy on the day.

    If you want to act like teenage girls arguing over which boy band is best then please go to www.growup.com.

  • Comment number 84.

    No point talking about how Lewis is treated as we all know.

    Andrew - did you see what Alonso did to Di resta on the opening lap? Alonso can be just as entitled as Vettel. Leave him alone.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just been watching the coverage of the photograph of the team in rocket red, must say that if Martin Whitmarsh wants 100% commitment from LH then he also needs to give 100% commitment back, he clearly showed more "love" for JB that's the first time I've really started to believe the maybe McLaren would rather JB than LH.

    Or maybe there is just a financial reality that McLaren have some challenges next year and are not able to compete with Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes when it comes to salaries?

  • Comment number 86.

    1. How many points do you think Alonso has gained through 'help' from Massa this season, be it by being let past (like today) or though Massa's 'rear gunner' acts of holding up potential competition.

    2. How many points would Lewis Hamilton have gained if Jensen Button was doing the same thing as Massa this season.

    3. What would the reaction be if Lewis Hamilton won the championship by being helped by Jensen Button.

    4. Can anyone honestly say that Lewis Hamilton would stand up and a) accept the championship trophy under such circumstances and b) maintain that he earned it in an honourable way?


    Either bring an end to this blatant team orders nonsense and make racing drivers RACE for their points, not be gifted them by a second rate driver.

    -OR-

    Make ALL teams have a nominated No1 and No2 driver so we all know we stand with regards to who they are trying to win the race with.

    Where we are now with trying to combine two different team order policies (some teams with & some teams without) isn't working and isn't palatable.

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    #83 couldn't put it better myself. Seriously for some people you wouldn't think formula 1 existed before 2007. How dare Jenson beat Lewis at Spa ( or in 2011 for that matter ), the team MUST be favouring him. Except when Lewis wins and Jenson is back to being an overrated chugger. And before any #lewisnumber1fan gets all antsy - I think he is a great driver, probably the quickest over a single lap. His attitude when things dont go his way - not so good. Classy driver yes, not so much out of the car. Nice wave to the crowd by Jenson after his race ended btw...

  • Comment number 89.

    FIA Thursday press conference - Spain 10 May 2012
    Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA

    Q: (Andy Benson - BBC Sport) To anyone, but Fernando and Sebastian particularly: following the rulings in the two Nico Rosberg incidents in Bahrain - one of which Fernando was involved in - are you clear in terms of what’s allowed and what isn’t when it comes to defending your position?
    FA: Yes.
    Q: (Andy Benson - BBC Sport) Has your understanding changed between before Bahrain to now?
    FA: No, maybe I did…

    I think you have to leave a space, ALL THE TIME YOU HAVE TO LEAVE A SPACE OK?

    SV: Fernando made it pretty clear. He said ‘you have to leave the space. All the time you have to leave the space!
    FA: Yes. Yes.
    SV: It was clear, no?
    FA: As I did last year with Sebastian. In Monza.... (2011)

  • Comment number 90.

    @86 I'm not trying to be funny, genuine question, what did you think in 2010 with Red Bull and the front wing at Silverstone? This is the problem of where team orders and number 1 and number 2 drivers come into it. How would you combat that? If there are only enough parts for 1 driver?
    To me team orders have always been a part of the sport and don't bother me. The money is in winning the WDC. Also thinking back in history Fangio taking his team mates car if his broke down etc. so it's always been there. But I can understand why it frustrates some, I just accept it as its a team sport.

  • Comment number 91.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Your Hamilton articles are hilarious, really non biased towards Button..

  • Comment number 94.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 95.

    I thought this would be the race that Alonso starts to drop back with not having the best car, but he was close enough to get pole before his mechanical problem. Lewis drove well, but I fear it wont be enough. He needs to find his 2007 form to equal Alonso again.

  • Comment number 96.

    Give the guy a break! It does seem to me that he get's more critically analysed than any other driver in F1?!

    Can anyone tell me what he has done wrong THIS weekend?!... He has been awesome all weekend - credit where credit is due... And so when I read articles like this it just has a negative feel about it and instead of lauding praise and celebrating the victory we read more about past failings, unfounded hearsay and conjecture, and praise of other drivers.

    And I believe I speak objectively when I note that when it is the likes of Button or Alonso there seems to be a much more celebratory feel to the article. I observe a similar feel with the BBC's TV coverage (which on the whole I love) - where with Button, for example, it's all high spirits and positivity then when it's Lewis it's a very difficult dynamic. That will partly be down to respective personalities but it tends to come from the approach of the pundit or interviewer rather than the driver. It always saddens me to be honest.

    One last thing to mention... There have been lots of negative comments made regarding Lewis's management team (19) and there master plan to make Lewis in to a global brand to match David Beckham and The Spice Girls with EJ in particular making grand statements (without any substantiated evidence) that they want Mercesdes because of it's brand status etc. ... Well here's the thing... Last time I looked, 19 Entertainment were employed by Hamilton, that is he pays them. It is not for them to make a decision on where Hamilton will drive next season and to imply they do is to sensationalise the whole thing and to squew the truth. They will table the best deals they can but at the end of the day Hamilton will, when he's ready, sign with the team HE wants to race with based on his own criteria and I've seen no genuine evidence over the years that it would be for any reason other than winning races and championships (just like Alonso, Vettel, Button etc).

    So it leaves me even more dissappointed that all this negative vibe around Hamilton is kind of manufactured by the very people who are bringing us the coverage, and so I really don't blame the guy for being less than chatty with the BBC and keeping a little subdued - I would probably be the same if I was in his shoes.

  • Comment number 97.

    Deserved penalty? Come on, why is it that everyone, even the FIA, always seems to give Ferrari the benefit of the doubt? Inconsistencies by the stewards is what is getting out of hand now. Last season Alonso left Vettel space? Well, the way I remember it, Vettel had the choice of putting two wheels on the grass, risking losing control and doing what he did or had the option of going wheel to wheel with Alonso and risking hitting him. Some choice and some "space" left by Fernando.

    This year, Vettel was clearly not looking at his mirrors, Alonso was clearly faster and chose to put his car on the side Sebastian was heading in. Vettel did not make any sudden movements, he simply continued his line. This is a racing incident similar to the previous one in the race involving Di Resta and Senna where Senna ran wide, yet this was not even investigated. Alonso also near enough forced Di Resta a little bit off at the beginning of the race, yet this was not looked at. Red Bull and Vettel have every right to feel aggrieved, they were dealt with harshly, as is always the case when a red car is the victim.

    Funny thing as well that Perez can actually find it within himself to pass Alonso now, isn't it?

  • Comment number 98.

    @13 RememberSenna

    "Alonso, as good a driver as he is, deliberately pulled off onto the grass in order to dramatize the move, as there was plenty of space for him to have just two wheels on the grass like he forced Sebastian into last year. However, I'm sure realising that Vettel is his main championship contender along with Lewis, he needed to prevent the German gaining any points this weekend."
    "I thought Fernando was a true F1 great, but no more."

    Agreed that the difference between this year and last years moves were marginal, but to claim that Alonso deliberately pulled off the track is ridiculous! Alonso is arguably the best driver out there at the moment. We've seen this year that as soon as Red Bull don't have the fastest car Vettel fails to deliver. I don't think Ferrari have had the best car at any race this weekend yet Alonso leads the championship. Fernando is in a different league compared to Seb.

  • Comment number 99.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 100.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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