This week’s ‘Scrutineering Bay’ column is a little different – we’re still asking a question having Badger writers put forward their opinions and arguments, but this week we also have a few guest contributions too – how exciting!
Badger’s own Adam Milleneuve and Craig Normansell are joined by F1 fans, Ed, Stewart, Izzy, Simon, Olly and Alex – see if you agree with their thoughts on this week’s debate where the question in the ‘bay is:
“Does Lewis Hamilton need to calm down?”
First up is F1 fan, Ed Worthington, from Cardiff – a place similar to Spa… in terms of weather at least:
Firstly,so I’m not accused of bias, I’ll hold my hands up and say “I’m a Mclaren fan”. I don’t think Hamilton needs to ‘calm down’, his aggressive driving style is what makes him an extremely fast and talented driver, I think he needs is perhaps some help in order to channel that aggression.
There are a number of factors that have highlighted flaws in his personality that could be seen as strengths were the situation different. Unlike in his title winning year he is not in the fastest car, evidently meaning that he is having to push his abilities more than previously, resulting in more ambitious overtaking attempts that have not come off. This feeling of trying harder than you thought you have to and not succeeding would breed a sense of frustration, with a personality like Lewis’ and lack of his father’s guidance, has made a ‘them vs him’ attitude, at times seeming almost childish.
Then there is comparison within the team. JB’s driving style, is smooth, he’s good on his tyres, and waits before making moves, this has helped make any mistake by Hamilton enhanced ten-fold because of the huge difference in the way they both drive. Just look at the similarities to the Prost/Senna partnership. Not to over-use this, but Hamilton’s driving style is very similar to Senna’s, a driver who is widely believed to be one of the greatest, who’d go all out to win, many a time at the cost of a DNF.
Basically I don’t believe Lewis Hamilton needs to calm down, he is only human after all, what he needs is someone to reel him in when he gets carried away. – Ed Worthington, from Cardiff
Next up is Adam Milleneuve, Badger’s Editor –
A while ago, Badger’s Benson Jammichello wrote about Hamilton possibly being a very (un)British Sportsman – and well in terms of his results this season, I’d say he is much more like a British sportsman this year – i.e. he’s not winning, or not consistently at least – just like Damon Hill back in the 90’s and Tim Henman in tennis, Lewis is fast approaching the place where people don’t expect him to win – he’s made so many errors this season it’s madness and if he’s not careful, or rather luck doesn’t go his way, it could be the case (and thanks to Vettel/Red Bull combo) that 2008 could be his only championship title – who’s have thought that 3 years ago!?
When asked if he needs to calm down or not – I’d be a firm no, his racing is great to watch and on a good day, he’s untouchable – as for his handling of the media, it’s far more pleasing to see a driver be a driver rather than a sponsors puppet. Keep up the good work Lewis, after all he’s one driver (along with Kobayashi, ironically) that you can rely on to make any GP exciting! – you can follow @AdamMilleneuve on Twitter too.
And here’s Stewart Addison – a long time Badger fan (been to all three of our live events no less) and an even longer-term F1 fan –
Calm down? Hell no, but he needs to be more focused. Take Monaco, some moves were very aggressive but frankly you need to expect people you’re passing to have a vague degree of self-awareness. If we have “You’re not fully ahead, so you the leader has the right to take their line and I’ll drive into you” rules then we’re discouraging overtaking and I thought we didn’t want processional races? Sure I’ve seen Lewis make some dumb moves but nothing as deliberately blatant as Senna or Schumacher’s championship deciding moves were.
Anyone who’s a professional driver needs a permanent level of awareness of your surroundings, as well as their vehicle’s capabilities, and not act in a way that would rightfully get you, or I, charged with dangerous driving if you or I did it on the public roads. Having said that, this weekend’s move on Kamui can only be described as ‘temporary insanity’ and a loss of 100% focus behind the wheel, although I have more respect for him than I did previously after he put his hands up on Twitter. Lewis reminds me of what makes the BTCC great, and the off-track banter (honestly, the Ali G comment still makes me smile, since it was clearly in jest) is something that adds more to the sport than it takes away, as anyone who saw the Trulli/Sutil press conference after Brazil 2009 will agree. Keep up the passion Lewis, just keep yourself as focused as Jenson manages at all times. – Stewart Addison, from Southampton aka @sxa555 on Twitter
Now here’s the founder of ‘Scrutineering Bay’ Craig Normansell’s contribution to the debate:
Let’s be honest here – we don’t want Lewis Hamilton to change one little bit. Deep down, if he was foreign then it’d be a bit different story – he’d be used as an example as a “spirited” driver, someone who takes chances while British drivers would be seen as too conservative and not take chances. That’s where the problem lies you see; us Brits aren’t used to this kind of racing driver.
He doesn’t need to calm down at all. If anything, he just needs to refine his speed so it’s more efficient in terms of winning a Grand Prix. Why spend all of Sunday hurtling into gaps that don’t exist? Let the rookies and slower cars do that, that’s what they have to do to get any kind of exposure nowadays to be honest. Just get the car right in qualifying Lewis and you could be doing exactly what Sebastian Vettel does every other weekend – taking the lead and winning convincingly.
If he did calm down, what would be achieved? He wouldn’t take any risks, accept that he was slower than most of the drivers in front of him, and ultimately, just turn into the British Felipe Massa. No thanks.
– you can follow @CraigNormansell on Twitter too
We love Izzy Kennedy’s short and sweet contribution –
Lewis doesn’t need to calm down. He just needs someone to give him a hug! – Izzy Kennedy, lost in Edinburgh – aka @IzzyKennedy on Twitter
Olly reckons Lewis has already calmed down –
Over the last few races a lot of people have been speculating on the actions of Lewis Hamilton. His aggressive, daring driving style coupled with his competitiveness and determination have lead to a number of close-calls and collisions. From diving up the inside of the famously tight corners at Monaco, to ill-thought out jokes and this weekends unfortunate crash he has certainly grabbed his fair share of media attention.
A couple of races ago I would have agreed that he could do with cooling off for a bit, but his most recent crash following a collision with Sauber driver; Kamui Kobayashi convinced me otherwise. His immediate reactions and subsequent apology make me think that if he was getting hot headed before, he’s managed to cool off over the summer break.
Watching the race myself it was easy to see how Kobayashi’s car could be in Hamilton’s blind-spot and given that Kobayashi too is known for daring overtakes (both drivers being personal favourites of mine for this very reason) never for a second did I think it was anything but an accident.
If Lewis needed to calm down at any point I think he has done this. Frankly if no one took chances or drove courageously the sport wouldn’t be worth watching. – Olly Pearse, from somewhere in the UK – aka @Olly31770 on Twitter.
And here’s Simon Melluish of SM Media – who’s rather comfy sitting on the fence and answering ‘yes and no’ to this week’s question:
It’s true Lewis Hamilton has made a number of mistakes during the 2011 season, but the notion by some that the 26-year-old is some sort of madman are absurd.
Criticism has rained in from all angles, including from a number of former World Champions, with Nikki Lauda’s suggestion Lewis’ driving could result in someone getting killed being inflammatory and plain wrong from someone who should know better.
Yes, Hamilton’s scrapes in Monaco and his subsequent choice of words regarding the stewards were both clumsy and poor, and there’re a number of other errors people can point to. Such is his appeal to the media and watching public however, that even if his incidents with Jenson Button in Montreal or Sunday’s clash with Kamui Kobayashi were the other way around, then Lewis would have been blamed by some regardless.
That’s not to say a calmer head wouldn’t be a welcome addition to Hamilton’s undoubted skill set. But in a similar vein to how some pundits suggest Wayne Rooney should calm down on the football field – would we lose his genius qualities in such a transition?
Yes Hamilton’s will to win lands him in trouble far too often and it’s hard to argue that a more measured approach would see him sipping champagne on a more regular basis. So does he need to calm down? Well not for our or his adversaries benefit he doesn’t, but he may need to if he wants to secure another World Championship in this extremely competitive era where mistakes are magnified and punished. – Simon Melluish 0f SM Media – aka @SM_SportsMedia on Twitter and smsportsmedia.com
Finally, here’s Alex Goldschmidt, who’s definitely got an opinion on this…
Well, if Bad Boy Entertainment wanted to sign a racing driver from the elite of Formula One to be their poster boy, it would have to be Lewis. He seems to be even more aggressive lately, both on and off the racetrack these days.
He seems to be more Senna-esque in racing situations, going for every opportunity if he can see a gap. This was mainly shown at three races this year: Monaco, Montreal and Spa. Causing collisions whilst trying to reach your ultimate goal can sometimes do you no favours, as he found at Spa when Maldonado hit his McLaren during qualifying, clearly revenge on Lewis for punting the rookie into Ste Devote. This was even worse when he tried to overtake his fellow team mate – two cars into the same space won’t go.
So please Lewis, enough of the silly talk, especially when taking your ethnic origin into the equation when talking about the FIA stewards, and saying that you’ve got a ‘Platinum Card’. Calm down and show us the measured aggression that enthralled us in your first 2 seasons of F1! – Alex Goldschmidt from Manningtree, Essex – aka @Eyeofalexg1977 on Twitter
If you have something to say on the subject of Lewis’ performance this year – share it in the comments below and if you’d like to get involved in future ‘Scrutineering Bay’ debates – make sure you follow us on Twitter or just drop us a note on firstname.lastname@example.org.