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On pole but not smiling. Troubles still weigh on Hamilton

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Sarah Holt | 10:40 UK time, Saturday, 15 October 2011

In Yeongam

It has been a while since Formula 1 has seen Lewis Hamilton smile, so it was a surprise that even after taking a significant pole position for McLaren in Korea his trademark, happy grin was still missing.

The 26-year-old stared into the middle distance as he stood alongside Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who has been beaten just four times in qualifying this year, and his own team-mate Jenson Button.

For the record books Hamilton's pole position represented an end to Red Bull's dominance over one lap this season. For the 2008 world champion, it meant a glimmer of redemption.

When asked directly why he wasn't smiling, Hamilton answered: "I don't feel I deserve it.

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"I've had some tough races in the second half of the season but tomorrow and the rest of the races are what count, avoiding penalties and all those different things.

"[The pole] is one of the first positives. I've had some difficult races in the past and we'll try to redeem ourselves tomorrow."

Hamilton also revealed why he did not respond on McLaren's pit-to-car radio when the team congratulated him on his pole position.

"I wasn't on the radio," he said. "I hadn't heard that in a long time so it was good to hear. It was just a comforting feeling. It was satisfying to hear the guys in the background cheering so that makes me happy."

A traumatic season has seen Hamilton mix errors on track, including nearly taking out his team-mate in Canada, with off-track spats, most controversially his criticism of the stewards in Monaco.

The run of bad results have been in contrast to Button, who has soared in the second half of the season, winning two of the last five races to climb to second in the championship.

Hamilton's troubles have been played out under intense scrutiny and there have been suggestions that he lacks support as he deals with a new management company, in place of his Dad Anthony, and the stresses of a long-distance relationship with pop-star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

There was no escape from further scrutiny in Korea.

When he sat alongside Vettel in the first media conference of the weekend, Hamilton was asked more questions than the man who had become the sport's youngest world champion just four days earlier.

As he spoke to the media, Hamilton admitted that it would take a long time to recover.

A solitary pole may not be enough to complete the process but it could the catalyst for the start of a personal comeback, as well as proving he is back in the groove behind the wheel.

"This is just a very small step but in the right direction," Hamilton reflected. "It was important we got [pole] today and it made a significant difference."

It had been 16 months since Hamilton has been on pole and on race days he has not been on the podium since winning the German Grand Prix in July.

"Hamilton has been flying this weekend," said BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. "Every time he's sat in the car he's look good.

"He's got the thing alive and we haven't seen that for a while from Lewis Hamilton."

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Hamilton's most immediate challenge is to convert pole into a third victory of the season at Yeongam.

McLaren have had the pace all weekend and Hamilton finished a strong second here in last year's rain-delayed race.

His chances of scoring a pole-to-flag victory could hang on tyre wear and Red Bull have opted for an opposite strategy to rivals McLaren by saving three new sets of the more durable 'soft' tyres for the race.

While Button managed his tyres to win the last race in Japan, Hamilton had to pit early when his tyres degraded badly after just eight laps and he finished a distant fifth.

But he is more optimistic that a change to his car's set-up, which he described as stiff in Suzuka, will help him nurse his tyres through the Korean race.

"The set-up that I have will definitely be easier on the tyres," Hamilton added. "The one I went to in Japan wasn't good for consecutive laps.

"I've come in a different direction which hopefully will be more beneficial in the race."

Whether Hamilton wins or not on Sunday, the embattled 26-year-old has to take this pole position as not only an opportunity to put his rivals behind him, but his troubles too.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Great poll from Lewis, lets hope his form is returning.

    Jenson and Lewis on the top two steps of the podium could be achievable this weekend.

    Yes to terristrial TV. No to s*y

  • Comment number 2.

    It is great for Lewis that he won pole and i think Brundle's observation about the car looking 'alive' was perceptive....i'm curious though about his so muted response..the absence of response is in itself a response!

    I think he's feeling up against it in terms of his performances against Button and notices the groundswell of warm sentiments towards his team mate recently...he is no longer feeling quite as 'special' and 'precocious' as he has been within the team...

    He knows that race day is where he needs to put it all together and that generally has been his undoing a lot of the time this season

  • Comment number 3.

    To Lewis....we have never lost faith, shame not to see your smile, but great to see what i believe is sheer determination.

    Keep the faith Lewis, we have!


    Yes to terristrial TV. No to s*y

  • Comment number 4.

    +1.. Great poll from Lewis, i too hope to see his form return and hopefully some smiles in the future, though i can fully appreciate the way he is conducting himself at the moment (non emotional/self critical/quite serious)... although i'm no racing driver, i have (in the past) conducted myself in the same manner when i've had doubts in my own abilities and when others surrounding me have not quite believed in my capability's... it's just a way of dealing with things... you know the sayings "pride before a fall", "tempting fate" etc etc... i think it's just a way of dealing with things (coping mechanism) when you're feeling most dejected (and i'm sure many of us can relate to this, as i'm sure similar negativity's have happened to most of us at some point in our lives)... Anyway it would be great to see Hamilton win tomorrow, but TBH i'll just be happy to see him finish in the points.

  • Comment number 5.

    He's a childish fellow isn't he? Jenson is so much more together in that team at the moment. He's more mature and it shows with reactions like Hamilton's to the pole position. You've just got pole - celebrate for god's sake!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Fantastic pole Lewis, well done! Just need to win the race tomorrow and you can have a big smile on your face again

    Good luck

  • Comment number 7.

    Sarah,

    Why should he smile when you and your colleagues (and pretty much the whole F1 world) have bombarded him with criticism pretty much all season ? Taking pole today has no meaning whatsoever except that he starts on the best available track position. A bad start and everything has to be done again, and then you and your colleagues will *again* tear him to shreds for this.

    Even if he somehow does manage to win tomorrow, what will it mean anyway ? The Drivers' Championship is gone, Vettel no longer has to push himself as hard as he did thus far, the Constructors' Championship is still in play but it's going to take a cataclysm of titanic proportions for McLaren to actually win it. So basically, there's nothing left to play for : Lewis knows his pole has 0 significance, he's a winner and the only thing he can see right now is that his season has been a personal failure of epic proportions.

    Be nice and give him a break.

  • Comment number 8.

    @5 People react in different ways, but I didn't think he was childish. More likely just trying to keep his emotions in check - if he can convert it into a win tomorrow I've no doubt we'll see him celebrate.

    Another racetrack without the supporting infrastructure. Looking at the empty stands, does make you wonder whether Korea will turn into another Turkey.

    No to Sky

  • Comment number 9.

    Your first manager is always your best. You should have stayed with daddy but you listened to the wrong people.

    Hope you have regrouped LH and start thinking positively again. Get rid of those useless hangers' on and you will see going places son.

  • Comment number 10.

    The guy gets pole and is the first driver to show that McLaren are able to BEAT Red Bull and what does he get, MORE CRITICISMS!

    "why isn't he smiling?"..."why did he not respond to his team on the radio"... "why doesn't he celebrate?"

    I hope Hamilton gives the V-sign to this pathetic journalism we continually see from the beeb. And the only way to do that is for him to keep getting more Poles, Wins and finish this season strong to show his intent for next year!

    2012 will be Hamilton's year!!

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    Come on Sarah .....do you really not realize why his so withdrawn after your workmates have slated him all season. Everyone makes mistakes I hope you do not suffer like Lewis has when you make a mistake..........keep your head up Lewis do not let them grind you down.

    Ohmygod666 supports C4 F1 no to sky no to bbcredbull :) :) :)

  • Comment number 13.

    Its like listening to a grumpy teenager. Get over yourself Lewis!!

    Yes you've had a bad year, yes its annoying Vettel is stealing your thunder, yes your team mate appears to have knocked you off number 1 but come on!

    You've got a fit girlfriend, earn millions of pounds a year and appear to be able to still challenge for races. Suck it up and use this as a pre cursor to next season.

  • Comment number 14.

    Lewis is still the most exciting driver to watch and he will be there next year when BBC are relegated by s*y

  • Comment number 15.

    The debate this week was about whether Vettel could ever be as good as Schumacher.

    The question should be when will Hamilton beat Schumachers' record?

    Well done Lewis.

    No To Sky

  • Comment number 16.

    From the look in his eyes I suspect Lewis could be suffering from the medical condition known as "depression". Let's not be unreasonable or rude to him. If that's the case he has joined the many who have to fighting "the black dog".

  • Comment number 17.

    "While Button managed his tyres to win the last race in Japan, Hamilton had to pit early when his tyres degraded badly after just eight laps and he finished a distant fifth. "

    You don't mention that Lewis' tyres had done more laps during qualifying itself due to him failing to set his proper time on a new set of tyres. You also fail to mention he got a puncture after that. Sure, he had a poor race and struggled for pace in general which wasn't good, but it's reporting like that which may possibly be one of the reasons he still isn't smiling. Very poor.

  • Comment number 18.

    #7: QFT:
    "Why should he smile when you and your colleagues (and pretty much the whole F1 world) have bombarded him with criticism pretty much all season ? Taking pole today has no meaning whatsoever except that he starts on the best available track position. A bad start and everything has to be done again, and then you and your colleagues will *again* tear him to shreds for this."

    Also, so what if he is subdued? Anything at all could be going on in the lads personal life at the moment, you have no idea. Yet the main "story" here is that Lewis didn't smile rather than him coming out and sticking it on a fantastic pole.

    No to underhand deals with Sky BBC, do the honourable thing and allow other broadcasters a chance to put an offer in.

  • Comment number 19.

    I am disappointed at the quality and level of journalism. Sometimes, I get the sad but distinct impression that the BBC comment and speculation would be just at home in tabloids, gossip websites and magazines.
    How can anyone put out a headline "Subdued" etc... when the sports person in question just did what they did. There's no way that a top driver could do what he/she did without intensity and anything but total commitment. The reaction is the result. Not the way someone smiles, or speaks to the press.
    Formula One this year has been amazing. So close at the top, where the margins between the teams and top drivers are very small. Driver and team errors, and incorrect decision making at the wrong time, have been especially costly this year more than most because of the closeness and pressure of this year's competition. And that is sport.
    No need for such a barrage of criticism on any of the people involved. It's the nature of this year in F1 that has generated this. Again, that is sport. Fantastic.
    Shame the BBC is letting down the fans again, with the deal for Sky. Not in anyone's interests, except Sky.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree with the above, apart from no.5 - why is not reacting being childish?? And jenson looks more at ease within the team to the detriment of Lewis' success.

    I wouldnt be giving the journalists the time of day either - why should he.

    Brilliant pole position. Anyone else notice that button didnt even shake his hand when they stood for the photo straight after the session.

    Lewis we know you'll get things sorted. What ever doesnt kill you can only make you stronger. A win tomorrow will help you turn a corner.

    Tomorrow's race will be a good one hopefully. Lets hope Mclaren dont mess up the strategy AGAIN.

  • Comment number 21.

    I can't believe that the BBC is still posting stuff like "almost taking his teammate out in Canada". How do you get away with such tripe? If anything, Button took him out. Hamilton was overtaking, was squeezed into the wall, and was taking out because of it.

    Media sensationalist journalism is not an excuse for outright lies. Hamilton has had a bad season without having to create fictitious scenarios to add to the list of problems!

  • Comment number 22.

    For the first time today, I didn't get a buzz from watching the F1. Frankly I felt bored and wanted it to end. The atmosphere and lack of fans at the Korean GP just makes the atmosphere there utter sh*te and that extends to me - the viewer. Still, at least we've got classic GPs like France to look forward too, oh wait, I just forgot, Bernie prefers these tracks to those where people actually come and watch.

    What does he expect, though? Hiring the same designer who's only good track was Turkey (was is the keyword there) giving it to the same type of country with 0 interest in F1 with a boring and dull track apart from 1 or 2 corners, a million mile long straight and sticking it in the middle of nowhere, all the while asserting that it is "good for F1" to go to these new, crap tracks where no-one is watching and take it away from places like France where the track was about the same, but people turned up and watched and where all the teams and drivers are based.

    Remember that at one point, it could have been this over Silverstone, and may still be favoured over tracks like Spa.

  • Comment number 23.

    Thanks for a god balanced blog on Lewis. A great pole position, but he is right when he says it is the race that counts. I hope he wins. He needs it and F1 needs it because F1 needs drivers like Lewis!

    If it all goes pear shaped tomorrow no doubt we can look forward to another Andrew Benson blog poking at him before giving over the last two thirds to his adulation of Alonso unless of course Schumacher does something even slightly naughty.... I can hardly wait.... NOT!

  • Comment number 24.

    Lewis Hamilton, such a fun, exciting and talented figure in the sport, yet within such a short space of time the F1 scene has managed to criticise, punish and generally make any attempt possible to bring him down and make him less exciting.
    These are young guys and everyone involved, the commentary team, the media all take any chance they can to stick the boot in.
    I am glad Michael Schumacher is back this year because at least that gives them someone else to throw every negative comment they can think of, a guy that can still challenge at the top in a car which is off the pace and at twice the age of the other drivers. Yet give Eddie Jordan a microphone and he'll do what he can to pull everything he does to pieces. Luckily Schumacher can now ignore these idiots with his years of experience.
    So well done to all, we will no longer hear the drivers real feelings, instead we get to hear comments like "yes, the move was interesting" rather than what they want to say.
    Perhaps the move to Sky will help, perhaps the massive negativity the BBC team lump on the guy will slightly reduce.
    Fingers crossed for him tomorrow, fingers crossed to see him enjoy himself again.
    And if he does win, in advance, poor Schumacher, you're going to take a pounding.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm not sure anything Hamilton can do will win with the media these days, keeping a low profile is probably his best bet.

    And no to F1 on S*y, keep it on terrestrial.

  • Comment number 26.

    Gosh Sarah, I agree with #17
    "A traumatic season has seen Hamilton mix errors on track, including nearly taking out his team-mate in Canada,"

    "While Button managed his tyres to win the last race in Japan, Hamilton had to pit early when his tyres degraded badly after just eight laps and he finished a distant fifth."

    Bernard Ingram would be proud of the way you were ecomonical with the truth or detail. As and F1 fan I expect more accurate reporting from an F1 journalist of your stature; as a licence payer, I'm not surprised by the BBC's attempt to sensationalise to the point of causing controvesy.
    No to Sky

  • Comment number 27.

    Perhaps Lewis is just lonely and feels isolated. Unlike Jenson his girlfriend is rarely at races, his father is with a different driver, his management is never around and his team is taking an increasing interest in his team mate.
    He has taken the flack alone and perhaps now feels like he has no-one with which to celebrate.
    But he remains the most naturally-gifted and exciting F1 driver since Senna.

  • Comment number 28.

    "nearly taking out his team-mate in Canada"

    Seriously, what are you on about. How about replacing it with Button "taking out his team-mate in Canada"

    One of the most exciting drivers to come to the sport has now been muted and is clearly not in love with F1 anymore. Well done media, FIA and also now McLaren.

    I actually don't care its going to Sky anymore.

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    This is beginning to remind me of the Great Ronnie O' Sullivan witchunt, whereupon every BBC interviewer that got within 20 metres of him, would attempt to over-analyse his mental state and play the amateur sigmund freud card. I remember one muppet from the BBC kicking off one interview with "whats wrong, Ronnie?" I half expected the next question to be "and tell us about your mother".

    It's getting that corny now with this constant analysing of Hamiltons mind state. Its on that kind of level Leave the guy alone. He will come good.

  • Comment number 31.

    I applaud Lewis not giving too much away in interviews. Even though his performances have not been exemplary this year, I believe he's starting to realise that the (mainly english) "press" that are always looking to lash into anyone who is under performing and seemingly delighting in the situation, are the very same people who want to step in and share the limelight when results are going the right way.

    A trait which all politicians exhibit, and no doubts why the media and they are such happy bedfellows!

    Jensen has put in a mature performance this year, and it is in no small part due to his "growing pains" being dealt with years ago in less-than-class-leading cars out of the spotlight.


    And bring on F1 on S*Y! No doubt the viewing figures will be just as "good" as the subscriber based "Bernievision" coverage of F1 was back in 1996 - 2002............

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi all

    Thanks for all the responses so far.

    To number 17, as Ted Kravitz reported on Friday, it emerged this weekend in Korea that Hamilton did not have a puncture in Japan - he noticed a sudden lack of grip and pitted but it turned out the tyres were all fully inflated. Hamilton himself and Martin Whitmarsh have also admitted this in Korea.

    You can find more details in our live text from practice: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9615076.stm

  • Comment number 33.

    @5 in particular (I'm in a rush and haven't got round to reading the remainder of the comments..)

    How on earth is it childish for Lewis to behave as he has done after Qauli?! After losing the WDC, making mistakes, potentially losing to his team mate for the first time over the course of the season in F1, why would he smile about pole when he has the belief he should be World Champion?

    Pole is a good place to start, but that's all it is. He knows it's not a race win... yet. Let's see how tomorrow pans out and see if a smile appears.

    Awesome Q3 - more of the same for the remainder of the season I hope. Excited for the race tomorrow!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    This is getting silly. How many articles are we going to see posted on the BBC F1 website which re-hash the same tired story and repeat the same old facts over and over again ad infinitum?

    Yes, Lewis has had a tough season. Yes, he has made mistakes. Yes, it's the first time he MIGHT be beaten over a season in F1. We know all of this - we have read it in the previous ten articles!

    Even when he secures pole position, halting Red Bull's dominance of Saturdays, the BBC find it yet another excuse to cut and paste the same story with a different introduction.

    Is it really surprising he was subdued? I don't think so. Lewis has already said he won't feel redeemed after this season even if he wins a race or two. This was just pole position - if he jumped out of his car and celebrated, the media would no doubt have written how he was over reacting and needed to deliver in the RACE.

    I am a Jenson fan but I sort of hope Lewis wins tomorrow so we begin to see an end to this lazy, over-dramatized, sensationalised style of reporting. Even Brundle implied in commentary that Lewis had issues off the track - what issues are those? Pure speculation. Lewis has said his issues are solely on the track so let's stick to the facts.

  • Comment number 35.

    Great pole today Lewis,But great answer to all the BBC pundits!!!

    Lee M..Ques,Lewis after delivering an outstanding performance today you don't seem to eager to talk about it? Ans.Lee what I have learnt this season is that I need to be more selected with my moves on the race track.In turn that also applies to what I say.Thank you!!

    Keep it up Lewis,because for one who does not court the media!! They seem to want to court you?? P.S. Jenson be careful for what you wish for!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Why should he smile when you and your colleagues (and pretty much the whole F1 world) have bombarded him with criticism pretty much all season ? Taking pole today has no meaning whatsoever except that he starts on the best available track position. A bad start and everything has to be done again, and then you and your colleagues will *again* tear him to shreds for this.

    Even if he somehow does manage to win tomorrow, what will it mean anyway ? The Drivers' Championship is gone, Vettel no longer has to push himself as hard as he did thus far, the Constructors' Championship is still in play but it's going to take a cataclysm of titanic proportions for McLaren to actually win it. So basically, there's nothing left to play for : Lewis knows his pole has 0 significance, he's a winner and the only thing he can see right now is that his season has been a personal failure of epic proportions.

    Be nice and give him a break.

  • Comment number 37.

    A welcome return to form Lewis , keep it up.

    And 31 it's not about the quality of the coverage it's having to pay for it, twice.
    BBC is best anyway.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm glad that there are already many comments echoing my feelings after reading another article having a pop at Lewis' mental state.

    It's very sad. Lewis doesn't do well, journalists line up to have a pop at him. When he does well, you have a pop at him because he is sick to death of your persistant nagging questions over the same old dross. The poor chap can't win either way. if I were him, I would do the same as Alonso and have a media blackout one weekend and focus on delivering the race of his life.

    Not happy with the blog content when there were many other stories from qualifying that could have been expanded-Red Bull being knocked off pole, Di Riesta making Q3 again, Massa outqualifying Alonso but then again, that would be balanced journalism wouldn't it?!

  • Comment number 39.

    On a day when Hamilton delivers a faultless performance, top in Q1, Q2 and secures Pole, all Sarah Holt can talk about is the fact the he did not smile for the cameras.

    This is just typical of the bias in the BBC Formula 1 team against Hamilton. And it is becoming more and more obvious with each race. Sarah Holt is an idiot for posting such tripe.

  • Comment number 40.

    ohh come on sarah your better than that :)

    i reckon lewis showed jenson how to outqualify sebastian loll

    hope he will win tomorow... but i guess MARTIN WHITMARSH WILL HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY AGAINST THIS :)

  • Comment number 41.

    Shame on you Sarah. You've decided to respond to post 17 on the issue of the puncture but fail to comment on your reference to hamilton "nearly taking out his team mate in Canada". I'm not going to comment further, but if you want to carry on with a career in reporting on F1 you may want to try and report the real facts rather than making up scenarios to create headlines. One of the few good things about F1 going to Sky is that you won't be able to travel around on tax payers money and make irrelevant and biased comments on formula one to try and create a story (read: career for you).

    Thank god i don't have a job that relies on putting people down and making up stories to earn a crust.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    Poor Lewis can't win, and he can't seem to do anything right for the BBC and for so many of the so-called F1 racing fans.

    What indeed has he got to smile about when most British fans have it in for him whether he's winning or losing???

    They praise Button to the sky and in the same line take a side swipe at Lewis. I understand there was a racing incident during the qualifiers, and why hasn't this being highlighted here by Sarah Holt. Or why indeed has the detractors of racing incidents not made their feelings known here?...or even blame Lewis though he was miles away from the incident. Will the two drivers be before the stewards and penalised? I doubt it !!

    If not, then we must assume there's one rule for Hamilton, and one for the others. Shameful !!

  • Comment number 44.

    May be Hamilton is having a difficult time trying to out perform Button and may be Button has got inside Hamiltons head a bit.
    Smile Lewis your on Pole !

  • Comment number 45.

    Great lap Lewis, hoping to see a smile tomorrow after a good race. The uk fan's love your determined racing style and seeing you do what you do best.

    I love and will very much miss the BBC coverage next year, I can't justify sky sports this is the only sport I follow. I will be sticking with the BBC coverage but fear the quality will reduce as there is unlikely to be the same level of commitment when they are only showing half the races.

  • Comment number 46.

    Not impressed with Lewis' attitude and not just about him not smiling.

    There have been many drivers in the past who have not smiled - two Finnish drivers spring immediately to mind! - but his whole attitude and body language is in danger of having a negative effect on the rest of the team. For McLaren to have continually upped their game and brought the fight to Red Bull has to be admired and for Lewis to have achieved the only non-Red Bull pole of the season to date is to be applauded. Lewis should be looking at the positives and working with the team with more outward enthusiasm. I just hope that his demeanour does not have an adverse effect on the rest of the hardworking guys at McLaren.

    It was so obvious at the post quali. photo shoot that even Jenson was looking decidedly fed up with him speaking only to Seb. (Congrats. on a brilliant second champoionship by the way!).

    Get a grip Lewis! Yes, it hasn't been the best of seasons for him, but the prospects going forward have to be looking good. At least Jenson realises what a privileged position he is in at one of the best, front running teams in F1. If Lewis Hamilton considers that he should be looked on as the 'number 1' in the team then he is going the wrong way about it. He has been the master of his own 'downfall' in his behaviour both on and off the track. A TV and newspaper reporters dream and something he should by now have realised. I, for one, certainly believe that McLaren should focus on and build around Jenson at least until - or if - Lewis regains his own focus and decides he wants to be a race driver again and not the temperamental kid he seems to have become.

    If he doesn't then McLaren should seriously think about ditching him in favour of another young driver. To have a new, up-coming star working in the team alongside Jenson as 'tutor' would be a great way to start building the next generation of Team McLaren.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think Lewis has recognised he just has to get his head down and go back to racing at his best for the rest of the season. No reason to celebrate, as the championship is over and there is still a race to finish. When Hamilton crosses that white line at the finish first that is when he might feel he has a reason to smile.

  • Comment number 48.

    to 32. Sarah Holt

    I suggest most some people, including many Hamilton fans would have missed that, because everything it seems is one great conspiracy against him, to many of them at least.

    If Hamilton wins tomorrow it'll be 100% down to him, if not it'll be 100% McLaren's or one of the other drivers faults, that is just the way things appear to be to a large proportion of those people.

    Many who have criticised the standard & ability of his rivals, will also forget that this reduces any plaudits he should receive because, after all, if the rest of them aren't up to it he should be winning every race, shouldn't he?

    As for Hamilton, today I found both his qualifying & his reaction to pole very impressive. He wasn't over exuberant after achieving pole because he knows his performance over the whole race weekend is what's most important, why get too carried away.

    Good luck to him tomorrow. I hope he can either win it or at least put in a good performance, perhaps then putting a smile back on his face.

    A McLaren one-two would be good.

  • Comment number 49.

    Lewis,

    Never forget, We love you man!!
    Good times and bad times, they come and go for EVERYONE, you've had the bad now comes the good.

    No matter what you thinking right now, PLEASE be sure of this. We the true F1 fans, love Lewis Hamilton. We're here to support you and love the real Lewis.

    Today was a glimpse of the real Lewis again, man we love that :-) You Rock Lewis!! Keep the faith and hold your head high, please be assured that there's a whole lot of people out here who know you, support you and just LOVE the real Lewis,

    So how about it man, you've done nothing wrong, believe me. If you're guilty of anything, you're guilty of loving the sport and REALLY trying, you just want to give the F1 fans something to get excited about and we KNOW you love racing and over taking so much.... ain't no one coming by me man, I'm taking everyone.

    YOU ROCK MAN!!
    So c'mon, make the west Staines massive proud of you again bro ;-)
    We love you

  • Comment number 50.

    I warned the BBC about the constant bad press that Lewis was getting from the beeb, and what his likely reaction will be to them in future.
    Was i surprised to hear silence from Lewis getting a Pole today? No i wasn't the beeb has made another SAF ala transfergate scenario and hedged its bet with Jenson for coverage.
    Lewis is more likely to give interviews to the darkside. So from now on i am expecting more one liners and silence from Lewis in future. As everything he says is twisted by the BBC to make Lewis seem like a mental case.

    Keep the silence Lewis the BBC deserve it with there Lewis bashing both verbal and with carful edits ala Lewis season so far i thought that was over the top. Can you imagine they did the same thing to England football team and only focused on one player whilst in a competition. I find that extremley unfair reporting and bordering bullying.

  • Comment number 51.

    "For the first time today, I didn't get a buzz from watching the F1. Frankly I felt bored and wanted it to end. The atmosphere and lack of fans at the Korean GP just makes the atmosphere there utter sh*te and that extends to me - the viewer. Still, at least we've got classic GPs like France to look forward too, oh wait, I just forgot, Bernie prefers these tracks to those where people actually come and watch.

    What does he expect, though? Hiring the same designer who's only good track was Turkey (was is the keyword there) giving it to the same type of country with 0 interest in F1 with a boring and dull track apart from 1 or 2 corners, a million mile long straight and sticking it in the middle of nowhere, all the while asserting that it is "good for F1" to go to these new, crap tracks where no-one is watching and take it away from places like France where the track was about the same, but people turned up and watched and where all the teams and drivers are based.

    Remember that at one point, it could have been this over Silverstone, and may still be favoured over tracks like Spa."

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

    Right with you there. It's not that the track itself is bad (although the layout strikes me as similar but inferior to Malaysia). But when Bernie is making comments about "not needing Australia", a circuit with tradition and great atmosphere which has hosted some fantastic races, I get scared and confused.

    I thought it was obvious from his body language that Lewis was extremely emotional but also so tense at the time that he couldn't show any joy. Fantastic pole lap, great bravery to keep the DRS open so long through those middle sector corners, and great to see something other than a Red Bull on pole!

  • Comment number 52.

    Well done Lewis, I am not one of your fans but you did well today, now how about trying hard again tomorrow? Only 1 post on here caught my eye, saying that Schumi has had years of bad press, and criticism, and it doesnt seem to have affected him, but may be whats wrong with Lewis. Well lets look at the 2 guys, Schumi like me is an old fart, we couldnt care less who tries to upset us, he doesnt have anything to prove to anyone, he has been there, done it and has several T shirts, if he has a bad day at work, he has his wife and children to support him, he has his football and horse riding to keep him calm. Lewis has? who? what? Also Lewis is still a young fella, he got years left in him to win more races etc. So my opinion is everyone should leave the guy alone, give him some peace. Name me one GP driver who hasnt had a bad year or two. It happens to everyone. Good luck to ALL 24 drivers tomorrow.

  • Comment number 53.

    For heavens sake, give the bloke a break. The Lewis negativity oozing from auntie beeb is ridiculous. Fastest in Q1, fastest in Q2 & fastest in Q3 and you blog under a a headline like that.
    If I was Lewis I'd have nothing to do ith the BBC

  • Comment number 54.

    What's there to smile about? The WDC is gone, and Lewis probably knows that Red Bull have already shifted their focus. The best McLaren and Lewis can do is push the car as hard as possible to help develop a new one for next season, and not get carried away with the rest of this season's results.

  • Comment number 55.

    To 32 Ms Holt have you read all these comments........no doubt you have and all you can do is reply to the question regarding Lewis race in Japan my god girl you for sure are no journalist .Silence to all questions that go against the bbc agenda is just typical should be ashamed of yourself along with Jake the "SNAKE" and Eddie "the alter ego" Jordon.I did enjoy the team at the start of the season but you have all dragged yourself down race by race..........why are all bbc reporters so negative?????

  • Comment number 56.

    I'll make it clear now I am a Lewis fan and I am the first to agree agree that he has made his mistakes and will learn from them. I think the "media" have done to him what the media typically do best. They bash and bash and bash.......until there's nothing left.......give the man a break.

    The media might claim that this is to be expected because it is "Lewis Hamilton" but a sense of balance is what "I" expect, let's hope Jenson or even Seb have a bad year....would we see some balance.?

    I know Lewis will rise above this because he is carrying the torch for a lot of young people and he is very aware of this.

    Keep your head up Lewis and focus on what you do best in that McLaren....even if it is not as quick as the RB7.......yet.!

  • Comment number 57.

    Head up high Lewis, look back at your 2008 season for inspiration, and be that guy.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well done Lewis on your pole, don’t listen to the criticism just stay focused and re- group and prove them all wrong.
    Come on Lewis you can win the rest of the races and wipe that smile off Buttons face.

    Good luck tomorrow we are still your N01 fan

  • Comment number 59.

    Wow, there's a lot of blinkered nonsense being written here. I love Lewis and his driving style as much as anyone, but by responding to today's pole position the way he does, he was absolutely making a statement to everyone around him, not just the press. Coupled with that he is absolutely aware that he's doing this.

    Stop for a moment and think how the team feel with that kind of unsmiling, to be honest, ungrateful response. There are hundreds of people who have worked their behinds off sitting back in Woking who will be delighted with that result today. To be stonewalled by the person who is ultimately the "front man" of the team, and you wonder why they're beginning to shift their affections to Jenson ?

    As an artist manager myself, hiring 19 Management was an appalling idea. He's hired a celebrity management firm rather than a racing manager. Let them look after your image rights Lewis, sure, but he DESPERATELY needs a personal manager with him. He said the other week "there are a lot of people I can talk to if I want to" but he's missing the point. A manager is as much there to talk to you and guide you with some truths, they're not just a face you can talk to if you feel a bit down.

    McLaren must take some flak for not guiding him more forcefully with that management decision, but either way, I'm sure it'll get sorted out eventually. Today's reaction, as an employee paid a salary of well over £10m a year was unacceptable. Take the bias away guys n' gals.

  • Comment number 60.

    omg the bbc do my head in so much! ur little sly comment, "nearly taking his teammate out in canada" are u serious holt? we all know jenson moved across as he was looking in his mirrors! this ass licking towards jenson is ridiculous, the fact that you feel the need to big jenson up all the time is really quite humiliating on jensons part because he is good driver and would probably fair better without it. however against hamilton hes average so u big him up so he looks half decent, fair enough. but dont put hamilton down with with all this critcism. it just shows how you know hes the best and your friend jenson half the driver. u know hes the best so except it and let jenson try againt him fairly without all this one sided nonsence

  • Comment number 61.

    @56 I,ll make it clear Im a Button fan ,but am pleased to see Lewis back on it . The media and sun reading type F1 fans see only in headlines. Lewis has grown up racing wise in a spotlight at Mc Laren everything is analysed to the n,th degree. Everyone has bad seasons ,Button alluded to those Earth Honda seasons where he battled Rubens for last place every race.the car was a dog but Button said you still look hard at yourself .Was Lewis in a Sauber tucked in the midfield the glare would not be so harsh and perhaps not heaped all this unecessary pressure on him . Mc Laren need him back up to speed ,Button needs him ,to keep him on it ,you,ve only to look across to Ferrari,a passive partner brings nothing to the table,and leaves Alonso in an unhelpful comfort zone. And finally we need him back,F1 fans need every driver who can take it to Vettel ,at the races. Next season I hope Mc Laren win alternate races ,not bothered about the others since I wont see them
    No to Sky

  • Comment number 62.

    Like others, I am SO relieved at the majority of sensible comments on here supporting Lewis Hamilton. For me, _MikKar_ summed it up really well. I groaned when the Beeb started analysing the way Lewis got out of the car. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

    Lewis wants to win World Titles, he will NEVER be content with a few Poles and a few wins. EVER. This is the result of his extraordinary intensity, which - funnily enough - means he will not gurn for the cameras to give them what they want.

    After such rancid reporting this season - all the things already listed here plus I also saw the incident with Lewis and the Aussie police dragged up again during Practice sessions this weekend - plus the fact that the title has already gone, why on earth would Lewis be jumping about like a stupid kid in a sweet shop?

    He is a winner and he is only interested in championships - so, he won't 'get over it' and we should not wish him to. I want to see him in a competitive car from the start of the season (note, not the best car - just a competitive one!) and then we'll see. I really like Jenson, but for years his nickname was 'lazy playboy' and people forget his mistakes and mediocre performances year on year. He has grown, matured and changed. But I still think that Lewis has the same focus, intensity and supreme hunger that only Alonso and Vettel have. Vettel's bottom lip stuck out whenever he wasn't on the top step or at the front of the grid this season. It's what sets the best apart, a total unwillingness to clap their hands and smile at a result that is meaningless.

    Better broadcasting and reporting please, BBC.

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh and a response to #61 timepasser - what makes you think that Lewis responded like that face-to-face with his team? Were you there? His first comments were for the team and what an amazing job they have done - he said he was delighted to hear the whooping and clapping by the engineers and mechanics.

  • Comment number 64.

    74Promotions, you're hammering him for going all showbiz with his choice of managerial organisation and then hammering him for being overly subdued. You can't have it both ways.
    Personally I feel Lewis was in 'head down, getting the job done' mode and to be fair he probably needs to do this given recent form. Indeed how would Woking feel if Lewis was giving it all the big time, whilst delivering a series of results that be his standards aren't that good?
    This blog doesn't question the Hamilton/McLaren relationship however, it's just another lazy journo piece churning out an easy smear on the best driver in F1

  • Comment number 65.

    Oh and I agree he needs a manager that understands F1

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    I don't blame lewis for not smiling. He hasn't won the championship, he had a stinker of a car again for most of the year and nearly everyone's on his back all the time......what's to smile about? korea's points don't carry over to next year sarah.

  • Comment number 68.

    Give the man a break. We now want to show him how to celebrate? I hope he wins tomorrow just to get all the BBC busibodies off his back - he has had enough slating from them this season. And Martin Brundle still managed to make it seem as if Jenson Button deserved pole more than Lewis ("I cant believe how long is has been since Jenson was on pole..."). Get off it, BBC. Leave Lewis alone.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good to see Lewis back! :D He clearly still has some issues with whatever's happening off track but he has pole! 2nd in the championship would still be better than he's done sice winning the title for '08 so go for it mate! :)

  • Comment number 70.

    Very disappointed in the way Lewis has conducted himself. He is still quite immature in the way he reacts to the ups and downs. You can see from the way Jenson conducts himself that he doesn't react to a mishap by sticking his bottom lip out. He picks himself up and tries even harder. Maybe Lewis had too much too quick.

  • Comment number 71.

    I think Lewis has fallen out with both McLaren and Jenson. Whitmarsh didn't specifically congratulate Lewis but said both drivers did a good job. Lewis breaks Red Bull's run of poles and Whitmarsh doesn't make a big thing about?

    I think Lewis also blames Jenson for not getting his second run in qualifying last week by backing him up into the traffic. Jenson is clearly trying to turn the team towards him for next year. No handshakes and barely any eye contact between the drivers after both last and this weeks qualifying.

    The problem for McLaren is Lewis is still their chance of winning the championship next year, not Jenson.

    BBC F1, please ask Lewis about the team relationship but do it after the race in the forum as I'm a big Lewis fan and don't want him upset before the race.

  • Comment number 72.

    Sarah, leave the articles to Andrew Benson. He actually knows what he is talking and he actually writes interesting articles. Your articles are boring and you don't seem to know much about Formula one

  • Comment number 73.

    First things first, great pole from Lewis. He has been phoenominal this weekend and he would probably have picked up pole last weekend if he got round to do a second run.

    Its not a surprise he is on pole really. On his day, his the best F1 driver around. His the only driver to beat Seb to pole this season, and don't say Seb wasn't trying because you could clearly see he was, Seb is a racing driver and a champion and as a champion you want to win everything. Fastest laps, poles, victories, etc... I like Lewis Hamilton, his brought something to F1 which is really special. It's really not fair, BBC and all other media critise him for things, why do you think he didn't show emotion. The emotion he showed when he got out his car almost seemed to be like "up yours" to everyone who has critised him. You know the important thing? When people critised him, he delivered in the best possible way, the best athletes do it. Hamilton is a special driver, next year, I'm rooting for you Lewis.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think many are reading Lewis incorrectly. Let's remember he's been pilloried and penalised pretty much constantly all season by stewards, other drivers, the press and fans for being himself - aggressive and daring in style, like Alonso or Senna, and has had to deal with that. Add in that he sets himself the highest standard and is his own worst critic, very hard on himself. When it feels like you're letting everyone you know down, added with what seems like the world being against you at times, which of us wouldn't be a bit underwhelmed at a meaningless pole position when the championship is over with four races left?

  • Comment number 75.

    I think Lewis found out about the BBC/Sky deal earlier this week...

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    @41 You think that people like Holt won't be on the F1 jollies next year! Of course they will, after all there are still ten highlights programmes to do and "report" o(n (and I use the term very, very loosely with regard to the BBC of late). We may not get all the races but that won't stop the BBC spending thousands on getting their staff out there.

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    Could be that JB is usurping LH position of golden boy in the mclaren camp, and Lewis is unhappy about it.

    Lewis may feel locked in because of his contract and because at this time he has no offers.

    So he feels that there is nothing to race for this year since Vettel has the championship, and can take it easy. he feels rightly that there is no other driver/car combination which can compete with him.

    Also maybe Mclaren have concentrated on this years car for too long. Red Bull have clearly had a winning package from the start so could put effort into next year earlier.

    A few wins is what he needs, and Mclaren should back him to the hilt because he and vettel are the best around at the moment.

  • Comment number 81.

    salute!well done lui for the pole today,best of luck fo tomoro for you and jenson!aving said that,i can see that moost peopl e here are lui fans,i agree with some of the comments and dont with others,i didnt agree with luis reactions today and over the last few mnths his attitude has been the best,the question is why?for me this is got nothing to do with the media or problems on the track,its his personal life thats in ruin,his personal problems are ruining his career,if hes no careful,it will b the end for him!this is the source(personal troubles) of all the clumsness and recklessness we see on him this year!winning in F1 is like puzzle,everything go to b together,but unfortunately for lui hes allowed things to b all over the place!fo me,i may be wrong here,there are two major things he needs to deals with to get back on track,first,dump his plastic girlfriend who he sees once in a blue moon,secondly,change his management and go back to his daddy antony!third look for a new normal gal that will be around all the time,he needs love wen things go wrong on the track,someone to hug and calm him down,he shud never underestimate the power of touch,especially from the people you love!for most of this season,wen he had a bad race,he goes back to swirtzeland and lock himsef in for the next race,and it became a vicious circle,hes got to break that,and the two things i suggested might help him but i might be wrong!!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Could not agree more with 74promotions (#59). Lewis definitely needs someone to manage him as a racing driver to get his head back in gear and not purely as a celebrity. Even "a few wins" (#80) may not do the trick as that will only fuel his celebrity status and not necessarily give him back the focus he needs.

  • Comment number 83.

    Hey, BruceLeeRules:
    If you've nothing to say that actually adds to the general discussion, just don't bother eh?
    ;-)

  • Comment number 84.

    Just another brief point, can we stop the Sarah Holt bashing as well please just because she may have an opinion that differs ? To be honest, seeing as she attends most if not all the GP's across a season and has access in and around the paddock, I rather suspect that she's forgotten a lot more about modern day F1 and how it works than many of us know........

  • Comment number 85.

    I like how Lewis Hamilton admits to his mistakes. Unlike pretention idiots like massa and Alonso and most of the F1 grid.
    Hamilton has had a hard luckless season... and is being beaten by Button. No wonder he looks down.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well, if i could post my jeanlucpicardfacepalm.jpg i would.
    My question is, why would any of the other drivers be smiling? Apart from Vettel and the Red Bull team? Nearly all the teams have had another season of failure. Maybe driving a fast car too pole and chatting with you is not a reason too smile? I can't blame him too be honest.

  • Comment number 87.

    Lewis did a great job today - what is worrying is that he still seems to be depressed - its as if he's taken all the criticism to heart and has lost in his own abilities as a driver. All driver's go through a bad patch at one time or another, I hope Lewis can adjust his mind set and focus on the positives of his performances; without doubt he is one of the most exciting drivers currently on the grid.

  • Comment number 88.

    32 Sarah Holt wrote:
    it turned out the tyres were all fully inflated. Hamilton himself and Martin Whitmarsh have also admitted this in Korea. a sensor indicated a loss of pressure in his rear tyre. as it turned out it was caused by degradation rather than a puncture as had been initially suspected.


    McLaren I believe said that a sensor indicated a loss of pressure in one of Hamilton's rear tyres. it was later put down to degradation, but to say that his tyres were fully inflated seems a bit daft.




    Great quali from Hamilton today, as normal. Shame it looks like - based on what the teams and drivers seem to be saying - the race will again be dominated by tyre management rather than racing speed and skill, but hopefully pirelli can get it sorted for next season.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'll try that one again!



    Sarah Holt wrote:
    "... he noticed a sudden lack of grip and pitted but it turned out the tyres were all fully inflated. Hamilton himself and Martin Whitmarsh have also admitted this in Korea."




    McLaren I believe said that a sensor indicated a loss of pressure in one of Hamilton's rear tyres. it was later put down to degradation, but to say that his tyres were fully inflated seems a bit daft.




    Great quali from Hamilton today, as normal. Shame it looks like - based on what the teams and drivers seem to be saying - the race will again be dominated by tyre management rather than racing speed and skill, but hopefully pirelli can get it sorted for next season.

  • Comment number 90.

    Excellent Beep coverage last week, especially on the forum - unfortunately I overslept this morning! Must try harder tomorrow. Cheer up Lewis - I couldn't even get the xbox hooked up this morning and I'm still smiling. No to Sky!

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm a Lewis fan but I preferred the 2007 Lewis. The polite, well balanced young chap that just seemed to be happy to be in F1. Nowadays, whether he's just got pole like today, or crashed out of a race, he always seems to hit the wrong note. None of us knows what's wrong, and maybe he doesn't himself, but maybe he needs to look back and analyse whether there was anything right in his life in 2007 that's wrong now.

    No post is complete without mentioning 'The deal'. Whether it makes any difference or not tell the BBC what you think here in their online consultation :

    http://consultations.external.bbc.co.uk/bbc/dqf/

  • Comment number 92.

    46 Paul1257

    to be honest someone should replace all the tittle-tattle, all the BS and all the hype and garbage we've seen about Hamilton this season, and instead, every time they want to wheel old the hackneyed Hamilton narrative, they should just C&P your post


    if you ever decide to interview for the job of sad media echo chamber/gossip columnist you'll fly it, pal

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    You have to question if the love affair with Mclaren has ended for Lewis?
    He has made no secret of his interest in Red Bull in Canada, with one insider noting Lewis would leave the team immediately if he could.
    Martin Whitmarsh seems more interested in the racing exploits of Button and didn't even refer to Lewis by name after his great pole today.
    How much do Mclaren really want Lewis?????

  • Comment number 95.

    @94 I think it would be good to see Lewis race for another team actually.

  • Comment number 96.

    Lewis Hamilton's problem is simple - He has to deal with a long distance relationship with a girl who hardly ever comes to his races. How would you feel if your girlfreind lived and worked in another country far away. It is bound to have a negative effect on him

  • Comment number 97.

    Great Quali Lewis! Hope to see the same pace in tomorrow's race.

    Yes to fta and no to the BBC big giveaway to SKY tv

  • Comment number 98.

    dont know if this was significant, but i didnt notice any pr with lewis (there was with jenson) can you shine any light on this as i dont know if i missed it ?

  • Comment number 99.

    There's a real problem when even the comments about bias show a great deal of prejudice and a blinkered outlook. The comments seem to be based on whether or not the writer likes Hamilton.

    With that in mind, I shall make my biases clear: I'm a Hamilton fan - he's demonstrated exceptional skill on track and made F1 exciting again, for me at least, after a 5 year break from the borefest of the "Schumacher years". For the same reasons, I loved Kobayashi's efforts last year: they can both *overtake*. Clearly, though, Hamilton has had a bad, bad season.

    The coverage of late has been generally positive about Button while generally focussing on Hamilton's travails. This is to be expected, however, as Hamilton has had, by his standards, an appalling season. He shouldn't expect the media to support him when he's faring poorly. By the same token, he shouldn't expect the media to do anything for him at all. Perhaps this explains his hiring of an entertainment management firm over an F1 driver manager - maybe he actually knows what generates the most personally pressing problems for him and has reacted accordingly.

    I do feel that the post-qualifying coverage of Hamilton in Korea has been a little unfair, but I think this is to be expected after his more, shall we say, exuberant comments to the media this season.

    With regards to the comments about the BBC's coverage, as someone who has lived abroad for an extended period, I can quite comfortably say that the BBC coverage is actually excellent (No to Sky, btw) in comparison to other nations' efforts. However, the coverage has been a little too focussed on the human aspects of the stories published, and have on occasion failed to follow basic principles of journalism - such as giving appropriate context in the form of internal and external linking to sources as in the case of the Hamilton-Button incident in Canada. Nevertheless, I think the biggest problem of the BBC's blog coverage of F1 is the quality of the comments, which are often little more than tub-thumping more appropriate to the Daily Sport than the BBC.

    In short, give Hamilton a break. He's a far better driver than anyone commenting on this thread will ever be, and in light of his recent performances, I believe it's understandable that he wasn't all smiles and chest-bumps when he qualified on pole - he's learned who his friends are (both in and out the team), he's made some very poor choices in the last few months (both on and off the track) and he feels he's let himself, his team and the fans down.

    Let him do his talking on the track tomorrow.

  • Comment number 100.

    Well i'm no hamilton mclaren fan ( you might have guessed by my id lol ) but at least that has ended red bulls pole run.. quali has been seriously boring this year next year wont be as boring though as we wont be able to see half of next years quali or races well unless you are prepared to pay rip off sky £470 to see the ten races the BBC wont be showing live and who is either A/ stupid enough or B/ rich enough to do that NO TO SKY

 

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