Apparently Lewis Hamilton was taken aback at the driver’s meeting prior to last week’s Chinese Grand Prix - some of the other drivers had the audacity to make negative comments about the McLaren driver and his behaviour on the track.

Do these drivers have a genuine grievance or were they simply spitting the dummy because they are jealous of what he has achieved so far in his very short F1 career?

Well let’s have a think about what they may be jealous of…

1. Hamilton has had money lavished on him from a very early age - Lewis was lucky enough (or cocky enough) to have caught Ron Dennis’s attention at a very early age and to a certain extent McLaren have bankrolled his motorsport career ever since. That’s not to say that his family, and father in particular, didn’t have sacrifices to make in order to get Lewis to where he is today, I think that goes without question, but he has been in a pretty unique position, in that a top F1 team has made a huge investment from very early in his career.

Other drivers may have been party to the Red Bull driver programme for example but I doubt they received the opportunites, money or attention which has been lavished in Lewis Hamilton so far. Those who haven’t been lucky enough to receive even this backing have instead had to find sponsors themselves or relied on huge financial sacrificies from their parents or other family members.

Watching someone seemingly breeze into a sport you have fought to be part of, and in the best car no less, must stick on the throats of some drivers surely and who could blame them.

2. Apparent favouritism from the FIA - this is a much more subjective issue. That McLaren have spent vast sums on Lewis isn’[t a matter of opinion, that’s a fact. But to say that the sport’s governing body, the FIA, are actively playing a part in Hamilton winning the championship is a very big accusation. There have been times when it has been relatively easy to think it’s the case though - Hamilton’s crashed car being recovered to the circuit by a crane in Germany being the obvious example. The fact that neither he nor his teammate Fernando Alonso were excluded from the world championship even though their team were also caused more than a few raised eyebrows.

Personally, I think that the FIA acknowledge that Lewis Hamilton is good for the sport but I don’t think they would do anything untoward in helping him realise his dream and win the title. Although the crane incident did make me wonder!

3. If Hamilton hadn’t driven for McLaren would their drivers still be in the Championship? - following on from the last point, at the disciplinary hearing, had Hamilton been on the other side of the fence, a Ferrari driver, would the decision to allow McLaren’s drivers to continue in the championship being different? I’ve a feeling that it might have been - if this had happened a couple of years ago and it had been Raikkonen and Montoya sitting in front of the World Motorsport Council that day, I think they would have been excluded.

Whether the fact that the reigning World Champion, Fernando Alonso, also drives a McLaren may also have come into the equation, nobody knows. Certainly the fact that they were the top two drivers in the title race is the main reason why they were allowed to keep fighting for the title. Either way, the other drivers have seen that Hamilton has seemingly gained an advantage from the FIA here.

4. Been lucky to enter the sport in a period of relative stability - in recent seasons McLaren’s cars have been very fast, but also very fragile. This year however the engine regulations have been altered which has allowed the Mercedes unit in the back of their cars (along with most other engines as well) to last the race distance without disintegrating into a pile of bent metal. This coupled with the fact the McLaren has been extremely well designed and built, has enabled Lewis Hamilton to get off to a good start in his career - finishing races and finishing them well. This will have allowed his nerves to abait a little, and has got the media off his back. Imagine the headlines if China had been his first race!

The combination of timing, having arguably the best car and a little bit of luck will no doubt have ensured some of the other drivers view Lewis with not just a hint of jealousy in that regard. Claims that he is the best rookie ever are backed up by the record books but people have to remember that not everyone enters the sport on a level playing field - they don’t all get to drive reliable McLarens!

5. He has sponsors queuing up to give him money - although he has started on a modest salary (still way more than most people will earn in ten years…), the rumours are that McLaren will be reviewing this after the season has ended. They will be determined to keep hold of their star driver at all costs, so a vast hike in wages lies ahead.

Although most grand prix drivers will be earning vast sums of money, I would imagine the fact that this young upstart is about to be earning more than most will really annoy them!

6. Favouritism from within his own team - his boss, Ron Dennis, is adament that he treats both of his drivers equally, but past drivers Montoya, Coulthard and now Alonso will no doubt argue different! Even if it is true as far as the ontrack action is concerned, there are other examples of favouritism which are happening offtrack.

Firstly, it is a clause in every McLaren driver’s contract that any silverware they win whilst driving for the team, belongs to the team and not the driver. This has been true for everyone from Senna and Prost, to Coulthard and Raikkonen. If anyone sees trophies which belong to the drivers in places such as David Coulthard’s Museum (which is well worth a visit by the way), then those on display there are copies which have been bought by the drivers themselves - the originals are all kept at McLaren HQ.

This may seem a strange clause to have in a contract, but if the driver has signed it then it should be assumed he is happy with it and therefore he should stick with it. Not Hamilton though, he has said publically that he intends to retain the trophy for his first ever grand prix win in Canada this year, along with his first World Championship trophy (whenever he gets one of them) which obviously goes against the terms of his contract.

Ron Dennis hasn’t said whether he will be bending the rules and allowing Hamilton possession of these trophies, but he has already indicated that he is willing to give up another piece of McLaren heritage. Most famous for their efforts on the track, the company have also ventured into the world of road cars and currently produce the SLR for Mercedes. Their first effort was the McLaren F1, and a strictly limited edition (of an already limited car) called the McLaren F1 LM resides at McLaren HQ - apparently only 6 of these were built so this is practically priceless.

Young Lewis has had his eye on this car since his first visit to McLaren at the age of 13 and has now asked Uncle Ron if he can take ownership of the car which has an estimated value of £3million! Imagine if Kimi or DC had asked Ron for that - I think we can guess what the reply would have been!

Of course, it’s Lewis Hamilton who has asked and apparently Ron has told him that he can take the keys if he wins two out of the next three driver’s championships. While it’s perhaps not unusual to offer a bonus for things like that, I would imagine to actually give away a part of the company’s history and heritage is unprecedented, and it would be understandable should the other drivers feel a little undervalued in light of this request.

Whether any of these factors are actually causing unrest amongst the other drivers, only those 21 men can say but on this evidence I could understand if it were.