When a Formula 1 championship is as tightly contested as 2014, everything you do as a driver will have an impact on the result. This can be a variety of things from choosing the wrong set-up or opting for a different strategy to your team-mate.
Taking into account that Lewis Hamilton has suffered misfortunate mechanical failures in the past few rounds, it’s not the sole reason he’s 29-points adrift his German team-mate Nico Rosberg.
I’m expecting quite a few fans of Hamilton to protest what I’m about to write, but I know there are some who will agree with my observations. It takes a strong personality to be a lead driver and to fight for a World Championship; confident, ruthless, aggressive – characteristics held by both Hamilton and Rosberg – but attitude is a whole other subject.
Every driver takes a different approach with their attitude to their preparations for a race weekend, as well as every driver will generally stick to the same persona whilst giving interviews to media. Kimi Räikkönen will comically give short and sometimes facetious answers, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button will make light of any subject by jesting at the interviewers questions or comments.
However, when it comes to Hamilton, the majority of his media comments are bleak and negative. That’s not to say he’s always like this: he’s given some fantastic interviews in the past, but when things aren’t going his way, he comes across as defeated.
Many of his fans took to social media labelling his latest comments as “sulky”. The Briton is renowned for wearing his heart on his sleeve, and every sport needs a character to tell it like it is.
However, there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed and commenting on closed-doors team briefings is one of them.
Everyone who watched the Belgian Grand Prix has an opinion on the second lap incident between the two Mercedes drivers. The incident escalated colossally when Hamilton poured fuel onto the already raging fire, claiming that Rosberg admitted the crash was deliberate. This resulted in Executive Director Toto Wolff rejecting Hamilton’s comments by clarifying what Rosberg had said in their briefing.
“So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst ourselves, but it wasn’t deliberately crashing. That is nonsense. It was deliberately taking into account that if Lewis moves or would open then it could end up in a crash. It doesn’t change the scenario at all because the incident, as I see it, is not acceptable for us,” Wolff told media.
There are a few key points to take from Wolff’s comments.
Firstly, he dismissed Hamilton’s claims of Rosberg deliberately crashing. Secondly Wolff mentioned that the discussion was “amongst ourselves”. Anyone in the sporting business should know that what’s said behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. Just like what happens on the court stays on court.
It’s not the first time Hamilton should have kept his thoughts to himself. Post Monaco qualifying – where Rosberg made an error which prevented Hamilton from getting pole position – he made similar comments directly blaming his team-mate for intentionally sabotaging his chances at pole.
“I wish you could have seen the data, I’m sure you did see on TV,” he said. But when asked exactly what was on the data that fans and media were missing, he eluded the question.
“I’m not going to tell you, I just wish you could see it. And you could see for yourself”.
Surely if there was sufficient evidence for an investigation the Stewards would have done so, right? He then made the comment that he and Rosberg were “no longer friends”.
Those comments can be categorised under the “wearing your heart on your sleeve” folder, because it attracted attention to the sport. However his most recent remarks that were aimed at the Mercedes directors went too far.
“It reminds me of being at school … teachers will talk but they don’t do nothing, you just get a detention. They won’t even do that. There’s nothing you can do,” he told the Guardian on the subject of Rosberg escaping sanction by the Mercedes team.
He made a mockery of Mercedes and his bosses, undermining their authority. Hamilton’s negative tendencies make him seem unstable at times and can have a negative effect on his driving and the championship.
Images via XPB Images