Lewis Hamilton - McLaren’s rookie racerHaving been an avid follower of Formula One as I grew up, I’ve seen my fair share of drivers come and go.  The one which stuck around the longest, and has been the sport’s highest performing driver to date is of course Michael Schumacher.

As he was around for so long, and won so much there are several negative points which blighted his career - he was often portrayed as having a “win at all costs” mentality, and there were several incidents throughout his career to back this up.

The other charge levied against him was that he was arrogant.  There is no doubting that he was a supremely talented driver and at times he let people know that he knew himself just how good he was.  Whether this was arrogance or him simply stating a fact is of some debate, but to me it didn’t affect my enjoyment of watching him race - he was the best driver at the time and therefore if he won I normally felt he had deserved it.  If he won due to another car’s unreliability or other factor such as that then I would normally wonder how he managed to always be on the receiving end of such good luck.

Like almost every other driver, Michael Schumacher was loathe to say he had done anything wrong and while he was far from humble I rarely thought of him as arrogant despite how the media portrayed him.  His biggest crime was in simply dealing with the facts and saying what he thought.

The reason this came to my mind is that on Sunday watching the pre-race Lewis Hamilton show in ITV, they showed an interview with Lewis where I think his attitude would have been construed as being arrogant had he been of any other nationality.

I don’t necessarily think he was being arrogant, but I would put his remarks on a par with something Michael Schumacher would have said in reply to the same questions - so if one is to be regarded as arrogant, then I think it has to apply to both.

Asked by ITV’s Ted Kravitz why he went so close to the wall at Indy when the other drivers played it a little safer by staying away, Lewis answered by asking why he would want to be the same as the other drivers - a bit of a throwaway statement but can you imagine Schumacher saying something like that?  Of course you can, and he would have been picked up on it.

So far, the overall conclusion is that Hamilton is confident but not arrogant - and as long as he keeps winning and driving well, then this perception won’t change (at least in the British media) though it is something I think he has to be wary of.