Tue 16 Sep 2008
After the Italian GP at the weekend, I wrote about how I felt Lewis Hamilton took a few unnecessary moves with his style of driving during the race.
Obviously if you want to win then you have to take risks, but these moves don’t really fall into that category - they weren’t daring lunges up the inside to pass people, they were what I would consider fairly simple yet inconsiderate driving incidents.
Given Hamilton’s track record with the stewards, I would have thought it in his best interests to stay well clear of any controversial incidents but that just doesn’t seem to be his way.
Also bearing in mind his desire to win the Championship, trying to minimise any chance of penalties or collisions should be top of his priorities.
If you overtake a driver in a manner which he takes offence at, then surely Hamilton should be able to see that the next time he has to overtake that person then they may make it a bit more difficult for him - something which could ultimately cause harm to his Championship challenge.
During the grand prix, there were 3 such incidents as Hamilton tried to pass Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso, and also when he tried to block an overtaking move from Mark Webber.
While I didn’t see much wrong with his move on Alonso, their past history perhaps made it inevitable that any wrongdoing whatsoever would be amplified by the Spaniard.
There was some unnecessary movements he made and he repeated them with Glock and Webber. It is his way of racing. Fernando Alonso
Speaking of Glock, fairly early on in the race Hamilton managed to pass him however the Toyota driver made an attempt to come back alongside the McLaren only for Hamilton to move over and put him onto the grass. I said at the time that I thought Hamilton simply had no idea that Glock was there - as if once he has passed someone then there should be no way they should be anywhere near him thereafter. It seems Glock supports this view :
I do not know what he was thinking. I was right next to him but he left me no room. Sometimes he drives as though he is completely alone on the track. Timo Glock
While I don’t think this will bother Lewis Hamilton in the slightest, Glock’s next statement should - in my view at least, although given Hamilton’s attitude I really doubt it will have any effect at all.
The next time I am with him (on track), I will behave with him in exactly the same way. Timo Glock
Unless we have another wet race, I suppose it’s unlikely that Hamilton and Glock will be challenging for a place - unless perhaps after one or other has had a pitstop - but it’s almost a certainty that the two will meet on track at some point in the last 4 races. Hamilton really can’t afford to be dropping too many points in those races, and a non-finish would be a disaster - so why risk upsetting other drivers who could only make your life harder and chances of not finishing higher by simply being inconsiderate and seemingly showing them no respect?
Not only that, but he even risked crashing out at Monza by hitting Mark Webber to stop him taking seventh spot off him.
Coming down to the first corner, Hamilton held a tight line to block Webber coming up the inside which forced Webber to attempt a run around the outside. All seems fair enough, but once at the corner Hamilton decided he would prefer to brake on the drier line on the outside so moved over - seemingly either not aware or not caring that Webber was alongside him on that line.
There was only one dry line and I covered the inside, but I didn’t want to stay there on the wet patch because I wouldn’t have made the corner.
I was able to stay on my dry line, and he clipped my front wheel and went straight on. Lewis Hamilton
There are a couple of problems with what he is saying here. Firstly he says there was only one dry line, but he chose to go on the wetter inside line to stop the Red Bull lunging up inside him which is fair enough, but he then decides he doesn’t want to stay on the wet side so moved over to the dry side. Just because he doesn’t want to brake on the wet side, does he have the right to move over when a car is alongside?
Secondly, he then says he stayed on his dry line - despite admitting that it was he who moved across the track. If you move over, you haven’t stayed anywhere!
Throughout all this, Webber’s line has stayed pretty much constant, with the only real movement being away from Hamilton to try and avoid him, yet Hamilton claims that it was Webber who hit him.
The lucky thing is the car didn’t break. Imagine if the car had broken. It would have been disastrous. Lewis Hamilton
At least he does seem to realise that a race-ending coming-together here would have been a bad thing - but what he hasn’t grasped and I really doubt he ever will, is that any accident would have been his fault, not Webber’s.
This year we were meant to be seeing a more mature Hamilton, less of the win-at-all-costs driving and a more conservative style which would ensire he kept himself out of trouble to take any points on offer.
If this is a different driver to last year then I’ve failled to see the difference.
It is important for Hamilton to simply try to finish ahead or just behind Massa, his main (and only) title challenger yet he continues to take risks which are making this harder to achieve. Risking intermediate tyres in qualifying could have put a huge dent in his title hopes, as it is he leaves Monza without having lost too much - partly dowh to his skill, but also down to Ferrari’s difficencies.
I think he should have simply walked away from Monza saying he thought he had done as much as he could, but he couldn’t resist insisting that he should have changed to intermediates earlier in the race which would have brought him the race win. At the time he says he had wished he had changed, the track was still very wet, noone else had switched at that point, yet he claims this wouldn’t have been a problem as he is so awesome in the wet.
It certainly didn’t look that way either in qualifying or the early part of the grand prix but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
If he wants to continue with the bravado and showmanship then he can carry on, but it may be at the expense of the World Championship.