/ FORMULA 1/ HAMILTON’S CHOICE
Hamilton has taken the fight to Vettel and Red Bull on a
number of occasions this year (MAIN), but the fact that
he and teammate Button regularly have to beat the odds
to win (BELOW) seems increasingly frustrating to him.
when people start
good you are.”
are five drivers on the grid with titles. A di;erent guy is winning
it every year. So it holds less value for me, because other people
have won. But having two or three, that’s a nice thing. That
would say something.” Preening arrogance or the unworldly,
simplistic viewpoint of a kid? He’s a fascinating mix of both.
He is not a driver – like some – for whom the external
validations are irrelevant. He desperately needs to prove what
he knows to be true.
“It’s demoralizing when people start questioning how good
you are,” he said back in ’09, “and the media starts talking and
speculating, ‘Oh, this person must be better because he’s
winning,’ and you can’t fix that – you can’t react by going
faster, because you don’t have the car.”
He’s into his fifth season, he’s 26 years old. Put plainly, if
he’s to mark himself out as more than just “one of” the top
drivers of this era, he needs to hurry. With that reality in the
back of his mind, he is trying to decide where he needs to be
– and isn’t coming up with any easy answers.
Hamilton is the fastest driver in F1. That much is widely
acknowledged within the paddock, and is a total conviction in
his own mind. Pretty much everything
else in that mind seems to be in a whirl
as he tries to find the best way of
aligning that belief with the hard reality
of race wins and championships he feels
are his due. He is as mercurial out of the
car as in it and will often contradict
himself within the same sentence. Such
as when asked if he would derive any
satisfaction from winning simply by
being in the best car:
“Doesn’t make any di;erence,” he
reacts. “I want to win the World
Championship and I don’t care if it’s as
the underdog, but I don’t like it to be
easy. I never want to win it easy – it
would feel worthless.” So which is it?
He is currently raging against what
has always been motor racing’s hardest
reality: the car defines your potential.
On track and o;, he’s at that crossroads,
trying to decide which road to take,
and it’s horribly complicated for
one of his simplistic viewpoint.
All sorts of side issues are
fogging the view – the number
of media/sponsor days, his
personal life, etc. What’s
more, he seems to be lacking
guidance in making
Dispensing with the
services of his father
perspective of someone needing, however
belatedly, to cut the apron strings. But
he has not appeared to replace the racing
savvy of Anthony, only the commercial.
The ineptness of his Montreal approach
to Red Bull boss Christian Horner was
just a little symptom of that.