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Mistakes mounting up for Hamilton

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Jonathan Legard | 11:34 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

After his worst run of results in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton came to Suzuka looking for a strong start to a weekend that could make or break his challenge for the world championship.

If you think that sounds a touch melodramatic, then bear in mind the words of one McLaren leading official who told me on Thursday evening: "If he fails to score here, it's game over."

Having failed to finish three of his last four races and watched Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso overtake him in the standings, the last thing the 2008 champion needed was an early accident in practice.

But halfway through the first session, on his first proper run of the day, that's exactly what happened.

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He locked up his front right wheel heading into the second right-hander at Degner,thought he could catch the car but ended up bumping along the tyre wall and ripping off his front left wheel as well as damaging the McLaren's new rear wing.

Hamilton emerged unscathed but his distress was evident as he leaned back in the shadows under the bridge below the 130R corner. After looking steadfastly ahead, his helmet then slumped forward as if he was consumed by disappointment and disbelief.

He managed to avoid the television cameras and photographers awaiting his return in the paddock by taking a back entrance but you could see he had a face like thunder when he eventually appeared and marched into the back of the garage.

The big concern was that the chassis would need replacing, which would have ruled him out of the entire second session.

As it was, the repairs were so extensive - new gearbox, floor, and front and rear wings - and took so long that Hamilton was able to complete just four timed laps on the track in the dry.

That was crucial for race set-up because heavy rain is expected throughout Saturday, which would throw a whole set of variables into final practice and qualifying.

Hamilton is aware that could level the playing field and, depending on how severe the conditions are, the lost time could be rendered irrelevant, at least in terms of grid position.

But his reluctant, smiling admission after practice that he was "probably pushing too hard" en route to his crash will be seized on by his critics as another example of his excessive aggression behind the wheel costing him his title chances.

Indeed, that opinion was already being voiced in the paddock. "I see Hamilton and McLaren are throwing it away again under pressure," said a rival technical director.

Collisions in Monza and Singapore, and this latest incident certainly don't help his cause.

With only four races remaining, now is the wrong time for Hamilton to start making mistakes like Alonso, Webber and Sebastian Vettel have done earlier in the season.

Unlike in Melbourne, Valencia and Spa - when Hamilton found trouble but came through it - he's currently being punished for the sort of bold moves that make you look a hero when they work, and a novice when they don't.

Had he backed off and played the percentage game, say his critics, he would still be leading the championship. Understandably, Hamilton doesn't accept that view, and will continue driving as only he knows how.

"The fact is I'm not going to drive around in the position I was in and hope to finish the race. That's never been in me," he said in a BBC interview to be broadcast during the BBC One qualifying show.

"I want to fight for a win and I hope people respect that. Sometimes it is too aggressive and that's why it catches you out."

"Every now and then, you try to pull it back a bit and hope it works. Fingers crossed this weekend will be an improvement to say the least."

So far, not so good.

At a demanding track where he has raced just once - in 2009 - he has hardly scratched the surface of the programme that he and his engineers hoped to complete.

But his performance last year, finishing third, was one of his finest drives and is reason for optimism within the team.

"He likes it here, loves the track and will be competitive," said one engineer. "You can't take away what makes him the champion that he is."

Hamilton also received support from a rival team principal involved in the title battle.

"You must try to get your drivers as calm as possible, but it in the end it doesn't matter what you say to them because as soon as they get on the track, it all goes out of their heads," he said.

Another criticism levelled at Hamilton is that he's missing a management figure in a role previously filled by his father.

One team manager told me that Hamilton would benefit from having an independent sounding board outside the team environment, somebody on hand with advice on when to push and when to take it calmly.

McLaren's team principal Martin Whitmarsh would dispute that.

He made a point of sitting down with Hamilton after Monza and Singapore to discuss both incidents. And he did the same again after Friday's crash.

It's a point picked up by one last year's title contenders, Rubens Barrichello.

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"The mental preparation is so important, more important at this stage than the driving," Barrichello said.

"He's clearly got the team support in a good way. But I'm not sure he has the car."

And there's the rub for Hamilton.

He acknowledges that the team are working flat out to improve the car. Another new rear wing is arriving overnight in time for qualifying, with engineers happy that the upgrade added performance.

But he knows, just like McLaren know, that Red Bull remains the fastest car. Ferrari have been quicker too.

So if he's to achieve a second world title, he needs something special from within himself to make up for a lack of performance.

"We've been over-delivering for a long period of time during the year," he said.

"We've not been at the front where we've been absolutely faster than everybody else. We've just done generally better jobs than other teams."

"Clearly now it's down to pace as well as no mistakes, and hoping that we're edging ourselves closer to the others."

Suzuka has decided some classic title contests. Hamilton has to believe - and demonstrate - that he's not about to be counted out this weekend.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:01pm on 08 Oct 2010, Beawulff wrote:

    Grrrrrrrr. Come on Hamilton or we'll begin to think 'pushing too hard' is just an excuse. KEEP IT ON THE TRACK AND DON'T HIT ANYONE!!! Give us the race and racing us fans are yearning for.

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  • 2. At 12:28pm on 08 Oct 2010, Blitzwing85 wrote:

    Well i do respect Hamilton's view that he's a racer and just wants to push all the time. But i also agree that sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture. We all want to see true racing, but i'm not going to sit infront of the TV complaining if someone sits in 3rd for 15 laps rather than risk a 10% chance overtaking move...not at this point in the season at least.

    Personally i think it's over for Hamilton. The car looks poor here and it'll take some grit and determination to come back from this crash and go on to win. I can't see anything but a RB 1-2 with a possibly Mclaren 3rd, if they can pip Alonso to it. Maybe a Renault will be in the mix and affect the final outcome.

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  • 3. At 12:47pm on 08 Oct 2010, shanehomersimpson wrote:

    Sorry JL but you're wrong about Hambo (my name for him) locking up. That's not opinion, that's fact. Watch the clip again, car bottomed out, through the car offline, coupled with speed at the time and slipperiness on the gravel resulted in an accident. If it had just been Hambo's fault, JB wouldn't have had a similar situ.
    As for the last race, Hambo was absolutely right to make that manoeuvre on MW. If you watch Kubica's overtake on Sutil, you will see the difference is Sutil slows down, MW didn't. He knew if he didn't finish it won't matter as much as the next 3 tracks all suit the RB. So lets stop blaming Hambo here, Webber should of and could've backed out of the corner just as Sutil did.
    Hambo and JB have had to raise a 3rd fastest car to title challenging status. In essence they have achieved the opposite of the RB drivers in that they have "over achieved" with the equipment they have and the RB drivers and team have underachieved. It is only a matter of time for accidents to happen when they have to push so much harder than everyone else to achieve results especially, on the last few tracks that clearly suit the RB.

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  • 4. At 12:52pm on 08 Oct 2010, steamteam wrote:

    This might actually be the best thing that could happen to Lewis as for once it's happened in practice. That means there's still plenty of time for him to get back 'in the Zone' - especially if it rains.

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  • 5. At 12:55pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    Practice is so overrated, Hamilton FTW.

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  • 6. At 1:07pm on 08 Oct 2010, f1planet-co-uk wrote:

    I agree with the fact that maybe there needs to be less Pussycat dolls and more professional manages around Lewis
    Maybe he really does need his father to keep his mind focused

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  • 7. At 1:14pm on 08 Oct 2010, Darryl Ephraums wrote:

    I can't understand (ok I can..patriotism) why people still want to apportion blame to either Webber or Hamilton in Singapore. It was a racing incident between two 'all or nothing drivers'. When it happened, all I could think was r.e.s.p.e.c.t to both drivers for being so uncompromising, for showing that killer instinct that makes a driver capable of winning races and championships. Sometimes it doesn't work out, sometimes it does. It was breath taking stuff. No point saying that a particular driver should have slowed down or made space. In the heat of the moment, and at such speeds, they just go for it and that is that. As for Webber, he's due some serious luck in his career.

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  • 8. At 1:19pm on 08 Oct 2010, lynnm wrote:

    I think Lewis is great!! The McLaren car has been playing catch up all season and to have Lewis and JB still in the championship with the car they have had this season just shows you how amazing these guys are at driving! Come on Lewis you can do it....

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  • 9. At 1:19pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    Lewis is fine just as he is.

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  • 10. At 1:23pm on 08 Oct 2010, Ray123 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 11. At 1:23pm on 08 Oct 2010, Corporal Hicks wrote:

    Hamilton has to push to make up for the deficit in McLarens relative performance. Every point from now on will have to be earned, and he's in a position where he needs to make up a points deficit too.
    If he had the right car in terms of performance, and was closer on points, he could afford to play the percentage game. Its all or nothing now.

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  • 12. At 1:25pm on 08 Oct 2010, AEROFOIL wrote:

    I think Lewis is well aware he needs to get his act together very quickly, and also knows he needs wins to get back in the hunt properly. This is the problem with an underperforming car and a driver like Lewis Hamilton. - He will always attempt to push it to the front. I think he can recover this weekend and pull something out of the bag, probably not a win, but possibly a podium finish. That said I think this championship is Red Bulls to lose, and I have a sneaking suspicion it might be Vettel, but I would like to see Webber win it in the absence of Lewis Hamilton. Of course with a wet qualifying anything can happen so at least it may be entertaining.

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  • 13. At 1:37pm on 08 Oct 2010, Matt wrote:

    Say what you like about Hamilton but he is still the most entertaining driver out there. Just look at the number of competitive overtakes this season...

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  • 14. At 1:40pm on 08 Oct 2010, dyrewolfe wrote:

    Lets hope this was Lewis' bit of bad luck for the weekend. I also hope it calms him down a bit and makes him try to work within the limitations of his car.

    Its all very well wanting to be aggressive and keep pushing, but he's doing neither himself or the team any favours if he keeps stuffing the car into the barriers...or other cars...

    His move at Monza was plain stupid. Singapore was more bad luck / judgement than anything else. With any luck, now he's found where the limits of his car are, he'll manage to keep it on the track. Here's hoping for a good qualifying session and a good race for both LH and JB.

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  • 15. At 1:52pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    "Say what you like about Hamilton but he is still the most entertaining driver out there."

    Absolutely.

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  • 16. At 1:55pm on 08 Oct 2010, Automobilefanatic wrote:

    Shanehomersimpson, absolutely agree with you! Webber could've backed out and let Hambo through, (Hambo) as you called him. Webber did realize his mistake admitting during an Q&A session on F1.com, That Hamilton is a fair racer, somehow indicating Lewis had given him enough space to avoid any collision. The footage tells it all. However, what went through the mind of Webber split seconds before the contact will never be disclosed. Hamilton, has caught my admiration simply because of his racing abilities. He's never in denial when ever he makes mistake, like we saw in Monza. Barrichello, just hit the nail on the head according to this blog "He's clearly got the team support in a good way.But i'm not sure he has the car." Some critics expect LH to back off and take it to the wire? Better make mistakes now than to wait till last moment, there's no recovery beyond the last.

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  • 17. At 1:57pm on 08 Oct 2010, Catalin wrote:

    Unfortunately for him, Lewis` main source of mistakes is his approach: make it or break it. Totally wrong, totally unwise, like in his first year.

    Alonso said it best, 3 races ago: the driver who will get on the podium (no matter on what place) in ALL the remaining races will take the title.

    The name of the game in this remaining season is consistency and not aggressiveness, so if Lewis does not know this game he just needs to look at Mark and Fernando. But I guess he is too arrogant to do it.

    On the other hand, it is NOT acceptable at this level to make an over passing maneuver like he did on Mark and not to give room two more centimeters. So if Lewis will miss the title he will be only his blame.

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  • 18. At 1:59pm on 08 Oct 2010, Reverend Frog wrote:

    With such a close season, it is drivers who know how to play the percentage game that will benefit. Hamilton is fast becoming the new Gilles Villeneuve: fast, entertaining, capable of miracles in poor cars and beloved by the fans (although not by me) but not exactly a contender for multiple championships.
    Webber or Alonso will be the champ this year

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  • 19. At 2:11pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    Is Lewis not the most successful driver since his F1 career began - strange that people think such a successful (and entertaining) driver needs to change his style/attitude/etc.

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  • 20. At 3:22pm on 08 Oct 2010, Nickynak wrote:

    My moneys on Alonso to win the title, I've questioned Hamiltons attitude in the past but he was very unlucky in the last race to get taken out by Webber. Unlike the BBC pundits I'm not keen on Webber winning the title as I think he is great from the front of the grid, but not so great up against better racers like Hamilton and Vettel and is lucky that he seems to come out of incidents looking like he is not at fault, when he mostly is.

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  • 21. At 3:24pm on 08 Oct 2010, RetroGirl wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 3:29pm on 08 Oct 2010, abbdoc wrote:

    Lewis, is without a doubt the bestest (lol) most exciting driver out there, however I agree with the comments about needing a wee bit of a guiding hand, martin brundle for the job?

    And.. if his teammate can achieve this weekend it will make the difference.
    Don't underestimate either Lewis or Jenson, they are still world class and world beaters and regardless as to what anyone thinks it still takes that X(tra) factor to be a world champ and both men have been or are and could very well be again.
    In Summary you absolutely have to love Lewis's honesty in simply going for it, but there is still the bigger picture of the Constructors prize.
    Regards to all

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  • 23. At 3:51pm on 08 Oct 2010, Roy Smart wrote:

    These guys are running on the ragged limit for most of the races, and what separates the best from the rest regardless of the car's performance is the driver's ability to not only to take risks to get themselves further up the field, but accurately judging in nanoseconds when the right time has come to make that move - with the awareness of exactly where that other car is going to be in relation to his own car when he goes past.

    Hamilton has performed schoolboy errors to put himself out of the last two races, because he didn't give the other cars enough room when trying to overtake and outmaneuver them. I would like to see Lewis win another title, but I think his car is not quick enough - leaving him to make impetuous driving mistakes and seriously undermine his championship prospects.

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  • 24. At 4:05pm on 08 Oct 2010, BlueMadrid wrote:

    Nickynak HCAFC wrote:
    My moneys on Alonso to win the title, I've questioned Hamiltons attitude in the past but he was very unlucky in the last race to get taken out by Webber. Unlike the BBC pundits I'm not keen on Webber winning the title as I think he is great from the front of the grid, but not so great up against better racers like Hamilton and Vettel and is lucky that he seems to come out of incidents looking like he is not at fault, when he mostly is.

    .......................

    Webber must be God

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  • 25. At 4:18pm on 08 Oct 2010, n4meless wrote:

    JL, why have you refused to name any of the tem principles?

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  • 26. At 4:20pm on 08 Oct 2010, Carlonso wrote:

    Hamilton has proved yet again what a boy racer he is. He can mathematically still win it of course, but his arrogance, temperament and gun-ho approach will let him down.
    As always in this sport it's about consistency and if Webber still has that rabbit's claw from Singapore then he's going to be very difficult to shift from top spot...the Red Bulls look ominous in Suzuka...

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  • 27. At 4:22pm on 08 Oct 2010, SupaSix-1 wrote:

    grow up leggard - I cant believe the way you guys always pounce on Lewis. He has been having the same ammount of issues as many of the other front runners - its just that he happened to have them in the later part of the season.

    Also....as for this incident - does it escape your memory that alonso, schumacher & your golden-boy button also had the same issue? Did you not see the many other drivers who had the same problem?

    -NO...conveniently!

    Also I wasnt aware that you are so qualified in 'X-ray psychology' that you can see lewis' mindset through his helmet. Lewis was standing there waiting to for the car to be cleared....he had his helmet on for safety (which he took off as soon as he walked off the track), and why should he have to speak to the media right away?

    I thought you were british?
    -well you only seem to be british when you talk about button.

    Johanathon....very dissapointed in you!

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  • 28. At 4:32pm on 08 Oct 2010, Matt Colton wrote:

    @Retrogirl comment 21

    Indeed! Sorry JL, it is obvious you work hard at your job as an F1 commentator but you frequently seem to miss the point.
    In this case your own footage there illustrates clearly that LH doesnt lock up. It isnt obvious to me why he went off, but the wheels keep on spinning the whole time. Therefore no lock up surely?

    Fantastic season this year - LH and JB still just in the championship despite driving milk floats all year, Alonso remembering that he is one of the top 2 drivers out there, and Webber making huge amounts of hay whilst the sun is shining. Awesome!

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  • 29. At 4:37pm on 08 Oct 2010, Matt wrote:

    "Hamilton has performed schoolboy errors to put himself out of the last two races,"

    I wish my PE lessons at school involved racing F1 cars.

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  • 30. At 5:04pm on 08 Oct 2010, steve_strings wrote:

    It seems like to good an opportunity to miss..... guys - during the race preamble when you show Hamilton's recent mishaps you MUST use the brilliant mega rock song "Baby Can't Drive" by Nicole Scherzinger, Slash and Alice Cooper from Slash's new album 'Slash' ....not sure Lewis will approve but I bet he still comes up with the goods and shows us what he's made of - especially if it rains tomorrow...
    Good luck to Lewis AND Jenson tomorrow..it's not over yet! :-)

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  • 31. At 5:14pm on 08 Oct 2010, LostInWeb wrote:

    Are BBC journalist incapable of writing longer paragraphs? Why is this article, like most on your news site, one line paragraphs? We are literate and can read if you allow us to do so.

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  • 32. At 5:27pm on 08 Oct 2010, timepasser wrote:

    Is that Red Bull on rails??Mc Laren have covered all the bases with an out and out racer and a silky smooth tactician . Im a Buttton fan , but I think people should lay off Hamilton for doing "what it says on the tin". Both McLarens are going to pedal like mental and pray for rain /magical upgrade,if they are to have any chance of staying in the fight.Lets face it a bigger gap and only three GP will effecitively end both drivers title ambitions and the constructors to boot.....Now if only Vettel could barge into Alonso this week hmmmm.

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  • 33. At 5:33pm on 08 Oct 2010, timjferguson wrote:

    I'm interested to see if Button finishes ahead of Hamilton in the final standings. Hamilton is clearly better at getting more out of the car when it's not to his liking but Button's consistency this year could prove a better approach than the out-and-out speed and aggression a la Hamilton. In fact if Vettel hadn't taken Button out at Spa he'd probably be ahead anyway...

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  • 34. At 5:56pm on 08 Oct 2010, Matt Colton wrote:

    Without wishing to bang on about JL not really getting Formula 1 (I have only now had a chance to watch the replay with audio on) Anthony Davidson in commentary even says that LH bottomed out, not locked up.

    Keep up Leggard...

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  • 35. At 6:02pm on 08 Oct 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    Pretty much all been said, Lewis is a fantastic racing driver doing a great job in what has been the 3rd fastest car all season.

    Yes he has made mistakes pushing the envelope, good, we love to see the envelope pushed otherwise we wouldn't be watching F1!

    He has also raced on the edge for the majority of the season without making mistakes - I think his ratio is pretty good!

    Fernando and both RB drivers have all made their mistakes too. Not sure it's about any extra pressure, it's just racing.

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  • 36. At 6:27pm on 08 Oct 2010, F12008 wrote:

    3. At 12:47pm on 08 Oct 2010, shanehomersimpson wrote:
    Sorry JL but you're wrong about Hambo (my name for him) locking up. That's not opinion, that's fact. Watch the clip again, car bottomed out, through the car offline, coupled with speed at the time and slipperiness on the gravel resulted in an accident. If it had just been Hambo's fault, JB wouldn't have had a similar situ.
    As for the last race, Hambo was absolutely right to make that manoeuvre on MW. If you watch Kubica's overtake on Sutil, you will see the difference is Sutil slows down, MW didn't. He knew if he didn't finish it won't matter as much as the next 3 tracks all suit the RB. So lets stop blaming Hambo here, Webber should of and could've backed out of the corner just as Sutil did.
    Hambo and JB have had to raise a 3rd fastest car to title challenging status. In essence they have achieved the opposite of the RB drivers in that they have "over achieved" with the equipment they have and the RB drivers and team have underachieved. It is only a matter of time for accidents to happen when they have to push so much harder than everyone else to achieve results especially, on the last few tracks that clearly suit the RB.

    ____________________________________________________________________


    My response is that the car understeered into the corner and it`s just practice Jonathan could you have come up with an article praising the five drivers in the hunt or praising the Super-fast Suzuka Track?

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  • 37. At 6:44pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    "Now if only Vettel could barge into Alonso this week hmmmm."

    :-)


    "we love to see the envelope pushed otherwise we wouldn't be watching F1!"

    Yeah, but no matter how much you push the envelope it is still stationary. :-) couldnt resist that, but yes, Lewis's driving style is the reason many of us watch F1.

    "He has also raced on the edge for the majority of the season without making mistakes - I think his ratio is pretty good! "

    statistically, since being in F1, he is the best.

    "a boy racer"? Yeah, and?

    "arrogance"? ... he comes across as one of the least arrogant in F1.

    "temperament"? I don't know about that.

    "gun-ho approach will let him down"? Funny, it is his usual approach that i'll be getting up early in the morning to watch. I'll be disappointed if he doesn't win or at least have a good race, but i wont feel let down, and i hope he doesnt.

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  • 38. At 7:05pm on 08 Oct 2010, Peter wrote:

    There's a very fine line between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough, and some people are quick to criticise when a bold move turns out in hindsight to have been rash.

    But there are some great drivers - Senna amongst them - who regarded aggressiveness as an investment for future races: "I'll take us both off if you don't let me through". Drivers were intimidated and gave way next time.

    I'm not saying it's right, and it is more difficult to get away with these days, but it worked for Senna. And Schumacher.

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  • 39. At 7:31pm on 08 Oct 2010, Richard wrote:

    Hi, we are forgetting that the Mclaren is well off the pace of the Red Bull and Ferrari. While Jenson is happy to cruise around at the pace of the car, and settle for second prize, Lewis is pushing the limits to try and hang on in the championship race- this is a fundamental difference in the psyche of the 2 drivers. As a result we are seeing the mistakes borne out of pushing the limit- I remain fully supportive of Lewis's 'do or die' approach'- this is what his fans expect of him and this is why we think he is the greatest talent on the track, I still think he can pull it off, Go lewis!!!!!

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  • 40. At 7:40pm on 08 Oct 2010, AlberRatman wrote:

    I reckon Lewis would make a better BBC commentator after reading your coments JL.

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  • 41. At 7:50pm on 08 Oct 2010, MacauBlue wrote:


    Catalin

    So Lewis has made a couple of mistakes at a critical tie of the season – Monza and first, practice in Japan. I steadfastly refuse to accept that he was too aggressive/opportunistic/hot-headed etc etc in the Singapore Webber incident. He got a good run at a car that was baulked by backmarkers, passed that car and was on the racing line turning into the corner. Webber, on the dirty side of the track (it did not matter that it was the inside, as some people seem to think is ones divine right to a corner) decided not to concede the corner which was lost and took Hamilton out… and not for the first time this season – remember Australia? It would be really interesting to have seen the reaction had Alonso been in Hamilton's position.

    So, back to Hamilton's 'approach'. Surely it's more excusable to make silly mistakes when under severe pressure than not… witness Alonso throwing it into the barriers, un-assisted, at Monaco and Spa when under absolutely no pressure whatsoever. And what about Vettel's several mistakes throughout the season?

    So, based on the fact that all the top drivers this year have made significant errors (with the exception of Button, who hasn't exactly set the pace), where does this popular word 'aggressive', when relating to Hamilton, come from? Successfully completeing more significant passing moves than any other driver this year doesn't necessarily equate to aggressiveness… it just means that he's better at it than most of the others!

    And why is it that people regard the last few races of the season as key to the title… it all started in March and there have been several key races, not least when Ferrari switched its drivers in th crudest way possible, which could yet affect the outcome at the end of the season.

    Hamilton did himself no favours in Japan's first practice but it makes little difference whether it be the first or the last race… it's the points at the end of the year that count. And I, for one, would rather Hamilton's approach to racing that just about any other current F1 driver with perhaps the exception of Robert Kubica and Vettel when he's not punting other drivers out of races.

    I suppose it's the difference betweeen supporting someone like Alain Prost – deadly dull to watch – but racked up 4 WDCs, or Gilles Villeneuve, who was never a Champion but just watching him drive will live long in the memory and stir the soul of many, long after Prost is forgotten.

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  • 42. At 8:16pm on 08 Oct 2010, ljhgvoutdytd wrote:

    there appears to be a consensus view that Lewis Hamilton is doing just fine the way he is - change nothing Lewis, just keep doing what you do. :-)

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  • 43. At 8:36pm on 08 Oct 2010, jha4lbb wrote:

    as always - the bbc getting on hamilton's back.
    no doubt... MW and JB are probably nicer people, but they are very obviously slower than hamilton. I find it amazing how biased the pundits are. Granted, Hamilton's crash in Monza was his fault, but for EXACTLY the same reason the crash in Singapore was Webber's!
    What more... Hamilton bottomed out, that is why he crashed, not because of driver error.

    He is by far the best and most entertaining man in F1.

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  • 44. At 9:30pm on 08 Oct 2010, Gdave07 wrote:

    To be quite honest I dont see Hamilton winning this weekends race and even this year's championship. I am a Hamilton/McLaren Fan and of course I will be happy to see Hamilton win the title for the second time but I just dont see it happening now.. with 4 races to go including this one, it is extremely difficult for Hamilton to bounce back now.

    Just in case......... COME ON HAMILTON!!!!

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  • 45. At 9:45pm on 08 Oct 2010, LordProsperity wrote:

    I would like Vettel or Hamilton win it because they both are brave. Those oldies who play percentage games are boring.

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  • 46. At 11:06pm on 08 Oct 2010, Lord_Lancashire wrote:

    Well, thank God it happened in practice! McLaren really don't need another retirement, after a frustrating few races.

    I also hope Ferrari don't win this weekend. This has been a fantastic year of racing, and Alonso ending up as champion will spoil it. As Damon Hill put it; it will be controversial - there are many who think his result at Hockenheim should've been scratched...

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  • 47. At 11:22pm on 08 Oct 2010, Ray123 wrote:

    Looks like he is starting to crack again like he did in 2007 and 2008,he needs to cool down, he has made some basic errors in the last few races, based on this he does not deserve to be champion , go webber.

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  • 48. At 11:24pm on 08 Oct 2010, G_K___ wrote:

    "Understandably, Hamilton doesn't accept that view, and will continue driving as only he knows how."

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

    I would dispute that only Hamilton knows how to drive that way. The history of F1 is littered with drivers who didn't make the grade because they only knew how to push too far, and couldn't tell where the envelope was.

    I think the correct phrasing would be "driving the only way he knows how." I.e. he is a one-trick pony - who has been found out.

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  • 49. At 11:30pm on 08 Oct 2010, aussieage wrote:

    Pleeeeeeeease Lewis you should stop pretending you are senna and continue your quest to be the most aggressive driver in f1 which sadly u are not (belongs to schumi)...play the percentage game and take CALCULATED risks...the sooner u do the more successfull you will be...only when you are a multiple WC should you revert to your agressive style....Lewis you a great driver but no Senna or schumacher....

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  • 50. At 11:32pm on 08 Oct 2010, Ray123 wrote:

    I believe Lewis only has himself to blame, he has put him self under pressure, you would think he would have learnt from his mistakes, he looks frustrated as Alonso is in front and he believes deep inside he is better then him which is not the case, Alonso is calm and collected and doesn't make the errors that Lewis is making ,Lewis needs to change his approach to last few races left of the year

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  • 51. At 11:34pm on 08 Oct 2010, AlberRatman wrote:

    Hamilton has only made one mistake in his three retirements of the last four races. Wheel banging with Massa. He had a golden oppertunity to overtake Webber and he took it. It wasn't his fault that Webber was going to "you shall not pass here". It wasn't totally his fault today either. An experienced commentator on R5L stated that the car was bottoming out. Hamilton has to push as hard as possible as his car is not a match for the RB6's or the F10's. Thus this article isn't very objective..

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  • 52. At 11:36pm on 08 Oct 2010, neilmurg wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 53. At 11:39pm on 08 Oct 2010, Ishfail wrote:

    I remember a certain J. Button claiming that Sebastian Vettel had made too many mistakes this season to be crowned world champion (after the race at Spa). And I agree, I think Vettel has been too error-prone this season, but surely that criticism applies to Hamilton too. Hamilton is (without question) a superbly talented driver, but he seems to have cracked slightly under the pressure this year (as he did in '07 when he effectiely gifted the title to Raikonnen), and I would not be surprised if he finds himself out of the running before the championship is properly decided as a direct result of his DNFs in Italy and Singapore. And possibly because of this recent crash at Suzuka.

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  • 54. At 00:41am on 09 Oct 2010, zengirl wrote:

    To all you people who are blaming 'lewis is buckling under pressure'.
    Who would not ?? when the world title is at stake. It is all in the game, whether lewis is going to sink or swim time will tell. It is human to crack under pressure, am sure he is all Zen about it now! He is a natural racer, he will have his coping techniques. can't wait to see quali 2moro!

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  • 55. At 00:48am on 09 Oct 2010, zengirl wrote:

    #48 - G-k- one trick pony
    whoa!guess u've not been following LH/ F1 for long?? have u seen his karting days.
    watch one f1 season and name a world champion one trick pony-too harsh and baseless!

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  • 56. At 00:57am on 09 Oct 2010, saudisafc wrote:

    Just wondering how many times Jenson has crashed this year?

    Red Bull easy win in the dry, Alonso/Button in the wet

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  • 57. At 01:19am on 09 Oct 2010, angelfly41 wrote:

    LH is arguably the best in F1 at the moment.Had he not had reliabilty problems and crashes he would be leading the championship by a margin.Just add the fact that he is not driving the fastest car then you can start to see how good he actually is.He has also done the most overtaking.Often in commentary you dont get so much coverage if you dont win the race LH has had some great races coming from the back of the grid this year often getting overlooked.He has also out qualified his team mate and current world champ.Fianlly this is only his 4th year in F1 look at his position at the end of each year,hes up there.oh and how could I forget he has the most attractive sexy girlfriend not just in F1 but in the world.LH is top drawer.please I would like someone to disagree and show me the facts on why they disagree.

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  • 58. At 01:34am on 09 Oct 2010, TheScuderiaAndy wrote:

    im a ferrari fan so totally unbaised towards the mclaren situation and i have to say hamilton might have crashed three times of late but thats what happens when your really pushing hard, and not settling for second best! out of your two drivers hamilton is by far the quicker and greater to watch! Jenson is slow and boring and cannot keep up with lewis on nearly every occasion.

    simaily with red bull, i just dont rate webber that much, if he was that great he would have done somthing in the sport by now. Vettel is FASTER than him but as is still growing up a bit.

    i want alonso to win world title for ferrari but vettel will be world championship if he stays out the wall, if he crashes in these last races webber will be champion and F1 will have anther plastic champion just like last year!


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  • 59. At 02:46am on 09 Oct 2010, Ray6 wrote:

    I have been a fan of McLaren for a long time...I would love to see either Jenson or Lewis become world champion this season. However, I have to say that I am a bit surprised - or disappointed - that McLaren with all their resources are not capable of getting their car right...it sounds like a major design flaw...or maybe the development team is not strong enough?

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  • 60. At 07:23am on 09 Oct 2010, Riggadon wrote:

    Lewis' style has got him to where he is today. It got him to formula 1, and it won him a world title.

    To suggest that he needs to change anything, just because he's having a challenging year is ludicrous, and anyone inferring that he needs to do so is either displaying a true lack of knowledge, or they just like kicking a person when they're not being perfect.

    In other words, I think certain people take any chance they can to criticise Hamilton. The very moment he's not perfection itself, people get in there and stick the boot in. I think it's quite funny to watch.

    Those same people will be saying how great he is when he brings it back round, and how he should never change his style because it makes him what he is and got him to where he is, etc. The fact is, these people need to remember that form and a bad car is temporary.

    Class is permanent.

    Just because he's having an iffy year in a less than perfect car, that means he should change his whole style.

    Pffft.

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  • 61. At 10:12am on 09 Oct 2010, Real_Estate wrote:

    Only because Ferrari know if McLaren followed their 'One Driver' tactics, the season would have long been over for them.

    Alonso is a nothing more than an average driver in need of all the assistance he can get.

    McLaren have shown themselves as the real men of the sport, by keeping their two drivers head-to-head all season.

    That alone makes Button, Hamilton and McLaren them the most deserving Champions. With of course respect due as ever for the efforts of the Red Bull team......

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  • 62. At 12:16pm on 09 Oct 2010, Eakka wrote:

    5 place grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton - Japanese Grand Prix

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  • 63. At 12:58pm on 09 Oct 2010, Automobilefanatic wrote:

    #62 Eakka, And so what? Are you glad he's given a 5 place penalty? Or you're trying to inform us, because there's no need to we are well in touch.

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  • 64. At 1:09pm on 09 Oct 2010, shanehomersimpson wrote:

    @RAY123
    So Alonso is really calm!?! So the crying in his car about Massa being ahead of him and him not having the skill to overtake without an accident(ala Mclaren) is evidence of how calm he is? What about the bleeting into his helmet about what was Hambo's position after he made an error in overtaking the safety car, had a penalty and came out in the same position.
    Any driver that has to cheat to win a race (Singapore 08) and Germany 10 and has to have the whole team only rooting for him to feel secure is not worthy of the Driver's championship We saw how calm Alonso was when his car wasn't as good as it is now in Monaco.
    He has a lot of skill but mentally is very suspect.

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  • 65. At 1:40pm on 09 Oct 2010, alpha_101 wrote:

    I enjoyed reading the posts here and felt compelled to add my own. Essentially we all have our opinion however what concerns me is the subjective comments made on LH:

    'boy racer...arrogant...temparement...mistakes/approach' and so on.

    Obviously comments like these generate a lot of debate and that's mostly good natured. All I have to say is to those who make these subjective remarks, perhaps you can be mindful of what the objective statistics are that I can justify that Lewis Hamilton is a truely remarkable driver. This is why he is where he is today. It's not rocket science so why change a mindset that has enabled so much achievement at such a young age. Now that's a statistically supported comment. I do agree with the mindset of risk management however if the opportunity was there to overtake would anybody just coast to the finish??? Oh dear. What sport is this anyway? Do we even know how much natural adrenaline these guys are on particularly on race day? This is not lawn bowls (although this also has its fair share of adrenaline)!

    I argue the reference of 'mistakes' and interpret that as racing incident. Indeed LH had been rather unfortunate in recent events however these are not mistakes. These are 'racing incidents'. An example of a LH mistake would had been if we all recall his hitting the back of Raikkonen in Canada after failing to stop but this is motor racing and that is why it is so exciting.

    Lewis Hamilton aka 'hambo' all the way...

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  • 66. At 3:00pm on 09 Oct 2010, sidoley wrote:

    Lewis Hamilton is a splendid driver, but for politics he would now be a two time champion, the youngest and only rookie to win.
    Most overtakes this season, most incidents and excitement.
    He is one of the few pilots that doesnt just sit there, he has a go. Regardless of anything else that is what we are all after as viewers.
    I think him and webber have been excellent, Lewis has been massively unfortunate in the last coulple of races, as indeed has Jenson, though to a lesser extent. Twice Webber has stopped Hamilton from scoring.
    Bare in mind that the Mclaren is perhaps now only the 4th quickest car in my opinion, so i do not beleive that Hamilton and Button can actually win the championship anyway, but boy they could damage the other three's hopes. Suprised after last season that Mclaren have been so slow and poor in development, they never really caught the Red Bulls.
    They have fed off Red Bull scraps most of the year.
    Vettel must win this race, if not it is Alonso v Webber realistically.
    Pressure on Vettel like never before, i prey for a wet qualifying, and one of the Lotus to somehow get on the front row alongside Vettel.
    Even though i will always kind of loath Schumacher, i would like to see him win in the wet, after a majestic battle with Alonso whom he drove off the track and out of the championship.

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  • 67. At 3:01pm on 09 Oct 2010, Jap_Jennifer wrote:

    Local weather forecast says it will still be raining at 9 am and sunny at 12 (it's listed in 3 hour intervals) however it doesn't say exactly when it will stop. Which means when qualifying starts at 10 it could still be raining or not and the track should still be wet. It drains quite quickly and 3 pm race start time is predicted as sunny and 25C ie bone dry. Let's hope Vettel doesn't qualify too close to the front. We want the Brits back in the hunt.

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  • 68. At 6:34pm on 09 Oct 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    "While Jenson is happy to cruise around at the pace of the car, and settle for second prize, Lewis is pushing the limits to try and hang on in the championship race- this is a fundamental difference in the psyche of the 2 drivers"

    Strange comment, seems to suggest that Jenson has found it's limit and is staying on it while Lewis has yet to find that limit and is therefore taking it too far and losing points?

    I was trying to stay with the blog earlier which is about Lewis, he is doing fantastically well and deserves total respect for his abilities and his approach, don't think it's extra pressure affecting him at all, just racing incidents at a crucial stage.

    If this blog was about Jenson I would say the same thing, he has two dnfs, one due to a crew error and one due to Vettel's error, other than that he has finished equal to or better than his qualifying position in every race of the season - that is a ridiculously impressive record! Oh, and it's his first season with the team - yeah he's rubbish isn't he? He's just an average driver, nothing special, silky smooth = boring, blah blah blah...

    I honestly believe give the Red Bull car to Lewis, Jenson or Fernando this season and they would be 50+ points clear at this stage (even if Webber or Vettel had the other driver), they are all world class - of the three I think Lewis is the fastest and in time will be shown to be an all-time great but I can't wait to see how good Jenson really is next year with a full season in the McLaren behind him and the best of the other drivers in his team as a yard-stick...

    Still time to upset the odds this season, hoping for a Jenson/Lewis WDC and a McLaren constructor's championship as well!

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  • 69. At 6:43pm on 09 Oct 2010, gohavesometea wrote:

    @ ljhgvoutdytd

    btw - loved your envelope is just stationary comment ;-)

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  • 70. At 6:51pm on 09 Oct 2010, AndrewF wrote:

    I have watched F1 for forty years. I admire equally the talents of both British drivers. Lewis is immensely talented. It is a fact that they do not have the fastest car. Fastest car wins pole. Best drivers can win WDC
    without the fastest car if he can balance overtaking risk versus reward.
    All great drivers have the intelligence to balance risk versus reward.
    How mant times would you see a Jackie Stewart or an Alain Prost get that
    assesssment wrong? Answer : Not many! Result multiple WDCs both of them. This is something that Lewis has to learn if he wants to be a multiple champion. It's his assessment of risk that needs balancing.
    Potential not being optimised and needing a manager he can respect.
    Step in Martin Brundle or even Sir Jackie and do us all a favour.
    Great drivers drive intelligently as well as fast...

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  • 71. At 7:38pm on 09 Oct 2010, sp4rk8 wrote:

    I sense over reaction in many fans of LH just because he had a run of bad luck. But listen, their job is all about going as close to the limit as possible. Good racers like LH accept the risk of over driving when the car is not fast enough. He is a great driver in a great team with a great car and still has many options both for the race and the title, let's not talk about his father, girlfriend, managers and so on. Maybe tomorrow he makes a nice race and this will be all over.

    BTW, I'm not a fan of him but I find it unfair to criticise Hamilton now.

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  • 72. At 9:12pm on 09 Oct 2010, Robin wrote:

    67. At 3:01pm on 09 Oct 2010, Jap_Jennifer wrote:

    "Local weather forecast says it will still be raining at 9 am and sunny at 12..."

    Which could make it a fascinating morning. I'd guess that a wet qualifying session would give Maclaren a slight advantage while, based on Friday practice, a dry race should suit Red Bull. And, as the Ferraris look pretty good all round, I'll be very interested to see how Massa goes in qualifying - if Button and the two Ferraris qualify ahead of the Red Bulls we might be in for a great race.

    The 5 place penalty will make it very difficult for Hamilton but changing weather conditions could give him the break he needs to pull off a "do or die" performance.

    And if it rains all the way through qualifying, will anyone outside the top teams gamble on running a little extra downforce and turn the grid upside down?

    I'm definitely looking forward to this one, but I haven't a clue who I fancy to win it. How about Kubica?

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  • 73. At 10:24pm on 09 Oct 2010, zengirl wrote:

    can't wait for suzuka! hope lewis comes back fighting!

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  • 74. At 10:54pm on 09 Oct 2010, Reid wrote:

    Completely silly argument, Shanehomer about Singapore. If Hamilton's decision to overtake MW was correct, he wouldn't have crashed. The moment you rely on what the other guy might or might not do, you are in trouble.
    Wasn't it Sterling Moss who wrote, that you only become a good driver when you learn there's a time to put it down and a time to lift it off.
    There's little doubt the Mclaren hasn't got it this year, so both driver's are stuck a bit with Hobson's choice. Try and finish the race as high up as you can, or push the car beyond it's capabilities and hope you get away with it. The problem with choosing the latter is it brings up another great truism of racing. Before you can win anything, you first have to finish.

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  • 75. At 01:36am on 10 Oct 2010, nickydoda wrote:

    How come the virgins in the front places of the restart when Hamilton and Webber came to blows

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