Stewart defends Lewis Hamilton

Lewis HamiltonThe British press have turned on Lewis Hamilton with the British driver receiving criticism from most of the major newspapers in the country.

The increasing criticism has come as the McLaren driver has failed to score a point for two races in succession Hamilton smacked into the back of Kimi Raikkonen in the pit-lane at the Canadian Grand Prix forcing both drivers to retire, and Hamilton failed to score at the French Grand Prix thanks to a ten-place grid slot penalty for his mistake in Canada, and a further drive-through penalty during the race itself for cutting the chicane. The mistakes themselves may have been forgivable had it not been for some of his recent remarks which many have interpreted as being impetuous and indicate Hamilton lost his cool composure over the weekend.

“There s a lot of crap coming out,” Hamilton remarked. “That s what they do build you up and then break you down. But they can t break me. Regardless of what s written in the papers, I will go back to the workshop, push with the team, focus on the next race and hit them hard.”

In another interview Hamilton commented, “There is nothing you can do that can distract me. You can keep on giving me penalties and whatever you want to do, and I ll keep battling and try and come back with a result.”

The Daily Mail branded Lewis Hamilton “Le Sulk” as he initially refused to talk the media after the race. The Times said that the Brit s race was his “lowest of low points” and that his pass on Vettel which saw him cut the chicane was an “overaggressive moment of adrenaline-fuelled impetuosity.” The Daily Express ran a picture of Hamilton with the caption, “Off in a huff.”

Despite the criticism, there is one person who is sticking up for the beleaguered Hamilton former world champion Jackie Stewart.

“Lewis Hamilton is already world-famous, thanks to the amazing opportunity he was given last year, and the incredible skill with which he took advantage of it,” Stewart explained in his column on the Formula 1 website.

“He’s now experiencing both the privilege and the penalty of celebrity. He’s excited the media so much, and now some people are starting to feel let down. But we should remember that Lewis has only been in F1 for fifteen months. He’s not the finished article yet and it’s wrong to think that he should be.

“He might not like to hear this, but he has a fundamental lack of experience at the top of the sport. If he asked for my advice, I’d say, ‘Take your time, and don’t expect too much of yourself’.

“I know because I’ve been there myself. I had a big accident in my second year, which I was lucky to survive. Over the next few years I changed: I gained experience, which gave me knowledge, which in turn enabled me to deliver.

“We’ve seen a rash of penalties handed out by the FIA recently both in the form of grid penalties and in fines. There rarely seems to be any compassion or any real attempt to see the driver’s side.

“The drivers are also complaining at a ten-fold increase in the cost of the super-licences which allow them to race. No one can see what they’re getting in return for the extra charge, which makes it look like just another way for the FIA to raise money. I don’t know of any other sport where the competitors have to pay for a licence to take part.

“You can also ask questions about the consistency with which penalties are applied. A lot of people and not McLaren personnel are saying that the FIA are more interested in finding faults at McLaren than at other teams.

“For example, in the French race, Kimi Raikkonen’s exhaust system broke and part of it was visibly hanging off the car. Why wasn’t he called into the pits to have the loose piece removed? That could have been the ‘Make it happen’ moment of the race.

“Eventually the loose bodywork flew off the car, which could easily have been dangerous to the public or to another driver. Some people will say that if it had happened with a McLaren, the team would have been fined.”