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'Hamilton seems to have lost sight of reality'

'Hamilton seems to have lost sight of reality'

8 May - 12:13
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GPblog.com

It was a surreal image. While Lewis Hamilton whizzed through the pitlane on his scooter two years ago in Imola, his personal assistant Angela Cullen sprinted after him with his helmet in hand. The humble assistant who almost slavishly follows her boss, who at such a moment doesn't give her a glance or at least tells her that she doesn't have to hurry at all.

Equality

It's an image that has been haunting me for weeks now. Sure, Hamilton is one of the best F1 drivers ever. According to some, the very best. His achievements are truly beyond question. Yet it is easy to see why so many people also thoroughly dislike him. Having his assistant run after him in Imola is an example of this. For someone who prides himself on equality for all, he shows here in a few seconds of television footage that he himself doesn't take it so seriously. Rightly or wrongly, in today's world perception determines an image.

The discussion surrounding his piercings is the next controversy with Hamilton. Instead of sulking for a while and then simply following the FIA rules, he turns it into a whole circus with pithy statements. Why does he do that? Why should the rules apply to everyone and not Lewis? Hamilton is making a fuss about a piercing. That is the crux of the matter here. Again, it creates an image that makes or breaks.


Drifting away from his origins

More and more Hamilton seems to be drifting away from what he is in origin: a super-fast racing driver. Look at the younger generation of Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and George Russell. Guys who are busy day and night doing what they love most: racing. On the track or else virtually. At those same moments, Hamilton appears on a catwalk or at an expensive party. Fine if he then performs during a Grand Prix weekend. He did, again and again. Not for nothing is Hamilton a seven-time world champion.

This season his performance has been disappointing to say the least. Of course, the current Mercedes is not as strong as the Ferrari and Red Bull. It's an excuse. A small one at that. For several times already Hamilton has been driven around his ears by one Russell, who drove a modest Williams for the past few seasons.

Negative twist

While his young teammate tries to make the best of it, Hamilton never misses a moment to complain about how bad the Mercedes is. Even when Mercedes shows remarkable speed during the Friday practice in Miami, Hamilton manages to give it a negative twist: "I don't know why it is so bad.

Again, the image here is all-important. Here we seem to see a Hamilton who has no faith in his team, walks around with the plague in his body and would rather bivouac in Hollywood. Perception yes, again created by himself. Hamilton seems to have gradually lost sight of reality. Yes, he is (was?) an absolute top driver. But by his behaviour lately he is playing into the hands of all his critics. It's such a shame, because at the end of the day, everyone wants to remember Hamilton as that great driver on the track. Not as a whiner or someone who doesn't understand the perception of the average F1 fan.

This article was originally written by Ludo for the Dutch edition of GPblog 

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