15th June 2011
He does make it difficult, doesn’t he?
Talent – in a race car – to burn, as quick as the quick and a marketing man’s manna from heaven. So what’s gone wrong for Lewis Hamilton?
Formula 1 is pretty simple, really. Get noticed, do a good job, keep doing it and never upset the wrong people. Master these four simple tenets and a long and lucrative career is assured. It’s the same up and down the pit lane, from tyre fitter to team boss: all should be mindful of keeping everyone sweet.
The guys at the sharp end who pedal the cars are no different. Sure, they get all the glamour and the glory, but put a wheel out of line a few too many times and a whole world of pain awaits.
Lewis Hamilton appears to be square in the storm’s path right now and it’s baffling to behold. In a team that likes to love him, and with a world championship in his pocket, a race-winning car to drive and all the trappings of an F1 driver’s life, Lewis ought to be finding everything sweet. So where’s it all going wrong?
Perhaps he’s frustrated by the torrent of success a certain young(er) German is enjoying right now? Maybe his ever-so-popular team-mate, the loved-by-everyone, easy-to-manage, happy-with-life guy that is Jenson Button, is winning the intra-team mind games? Has his head been turned by XIX Entertainment’s stellar world of ‘talent’ and the attention of rappers, basketball players, girl band singers and sundry wannabes?
Whatever is troubling Stevenage’s finest, nothing is helped by covert paddock rendezvous with rival team principals.
More than one fly-on-the-wall describes a slightly comical Saturday afternoon scene in the Montreal paddock, following a disappointing qualifying session for McLaren: Lewis arrives unannounced at the Red Bull suite and requests a chat with Christian Horner. “Lewis who? What the hell does he want?” Horner jokingly inquires of the marketing girl. “A job, maybe?” is her sarcastic reply.
Whether Hamilton meant the 15-minute chat to make waves or not, it was an ill-advised stunt that could only do him harm.
Come Sunday afternoon, while Lewis hung with the mop-haired Rihanna after taking himself out of the race, his team-mate set about chasing and taking a stunning win.
When all the unnecessary glitter is stripped away, Lewis Hamilton is a real racer’s racer. To see him attack the treacherous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last Friday afternoon was utterly fantastic to witness: the McLaren MP4-26 darting at breakneck speed from apex to apex, constantly on the ragged edge of adhesion and sometimes past it.
A little more of that and a lot less of the other might serve him well.
It can’t be that difficult, can it?
Please now take a few minutes to enjoy my pictures form the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix by clicking here.
Receive Darren Heath's latest race blog as it happens by subscribing to the RSS feed.
© Copyright Darren Heath 2011. All images on this site are protected under international copyright laws. Images may not be used without the written consent of Darren Heath. All rights reserved.