‘criticism of Lewis justified’? I’m not so sure

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I was reading an article over a Sky Sports F1 today and it was about the performance of Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion and F1 journalists are no exception and the piece explored a few choice comments from journalists over Hamilton’s dodgy showing Sunday.

I personally felt it was a bad day at the office and that it reminded me a little of his 2011 performances when he seemed to mentally be checked out and forcing errors. Regardless, that’s neither here nor there as he himself said it was the worst race of his career. That may be true, he’d know best but I can think of a couple others that had more to lose than this one did as he walked away with four additional points in his title bid due to an even more perplexing performance from Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes has been accused of getting rattled and not able to race if they are behind. I’m not sure I’m convinced of that either to be honest. They’ve won from behind before but their recent domination has us galvanized on the now, not the then.

The article speaks of a backlash of scathing commentary on Hamilton in the press and social media. I must be really out of the loop because I haven’t seen a tremendous backlash about him to be honest. Sure the occasional “man-child” comment but all in all, I think we can afford a two-time champ a bad day at the office.

What do you think? Do you think he deserves the criticism? The comments that he drove like he’d ignored Bernie Ecclestone’s advice to “think before you drive”? In my mind he tried too hard and took a couple ill-timed chances that didn’t work. Folks Pasto Maldonado does that just about every race and Felipe Massa has been known to throw it in from time to time. Even Daniel Ricciardo did a dive-bomb passing attempt on Rosberg that arguably ended Nico’s race.

Besides, you can’t kick a guy when he just got a righteous lion tattoo—maybe he’ll name it Cecil in honor of the lion that was killed in Africa by a Minnesota dentist. Regardless, I’m often accused of being a Hamilton hater but that’s not true. In fact, I have defended him on many occasions just like I am now. Lighten up Gunga Din, it’s a bad day of forced driving errors that didn’t work.

It’s interesting that the talk is all about Lewis’s befuddling performance and not much is said about Sebastian Vettel’s good performance and record-equaling win. Just goes to show you how quickly Seb fell off everyone’s radar even when he did show us the finger and still no one complained. Well done Seb.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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Junipero Mariano

I agree with you. I haven’t heard much criticism of Lewis for this race, and if there was: Really? Lewis Hamilton (and Mercedes, for that matter) is beginning to get this season’s championship sewn up. At this point last year, Lewis had 5 wins to Nico’s 4, 2 retirements and a third on the way, and still won the championship. This reminds me of the post-Malaysian reporting, where suddenly everyone thought Mercedes had lost it. Did they? No. Will they win Spa? Probably*. And I’m a Ferrari fan. * Well, as long as Toto and Niki can keep Nico’s spurs… Read more »

Dave

I agree completely. I think Lewis was most critical of himself. Other than the 2 incidents he actually drove a great race to recover. His move on Ricardo was very unfortunate but his move was the same as Ricardo’s pass of the race if you think about it only With Ricardo Rosberg backed out for the undercut rather than trying to hold Ricardo off round the outside which is always dangerous in case the car lunging under steers (as both Hamilton and Ricardo did).

James | enterF1.com

There were so many mistakes in that race from so many drivers – Lewis is attracting all the attention because he is by far the best driver there. So making a “mistake” is a far greater fall from the level people are use to him driving at. Where as mistakes up and down the midfield pack are purely “mehhh so what” because there are so many mediocre drivers!

And as for Pastor – don’t get me started. I thought he had a cracking race.

MichaelB

Mercedes certainly has the capability to win even when they’re not leading, however this year in particular they seem to struggle more when they’re in that position. This year more than previous years it seems that Mercedes strategy seems to struggle when there’s a little bit of pressure. As for Lewis – it’s nice to see that he’s human and makes mistakes. The two penalties he’s gotten this year – they’re the first that I’ve seen him earn in a long time… He’s not a repeat offender like Pastor and the two incidents he had this weekend don’t come close… Read more »

Shane Phillips

It was definitely a bad day at the office for Lewis, but everyone including racing drivers do it from time to time. He lives on the edge and you accept that from time to time with him you’re going to get the odd bad race. The way he races delivers more brilliance than it does failure so I think his detractors need to lay off and embrace him, he’s a brilliant driver and one of the few remaining in the sport with genuine personality and presence. The criticism levelled at Mercedes? Not really fair either. It just happens that both… Read more »

Graeme Fuller

Not the best day at the office for LH, though he wasn’t the only one who had issues. LH hasn’t lost his driving mojo last Sunday. In years gone bye that would be a race you would drop. So he will re group, win a few fashion awards and be back. Maybe it just me but I thought the media could have reported what a fabulous race it was and on a track which most expected follow the leader, we had a brilliant race. Maybe another stat or award at the end of the year, who got the most pit… Read more »

Joe Mama

The only real thing going on with Hamilton and Merc are the awful starts. Everything thereafter this weekend resulted from a field of drivers realizing that the podium was open for walk-in business; some wanted a shot, some wanted it back, and many of them put their toes over the edge trying to get there. Despite all the moaning, that’s a pretty decent recipe for interesting racing. So Hamilton had a poor race. So what? Unless you’re trying to somehow extrapolate that into a sign of things to come, which is ludicrous, it’s just a poor result. The whole thing… Read more »

peter riva

I absolutely agree with everything you wrote. Especially the comment about Ricciardo. What I would like to add are two thrings:

1. the gravel pit on pit entry for a really bad day at the office.
and
2. The need for the stewards to black flag bump-and-go driving. (bye bye Maldonado).

runnah

So he’s gone from “driving god” after the British GP to “washed up has-been maldanado-esque” after Hungary?

I believe is was Benjamin Franklin who said “One race does not a season make.”

Paul KieferJr

I certainly didn’t think that Hamilton didn’t phone it in. I just think he panicked, then tried to do too much too fast. When you panic, you make mistakes, and that was the case for Hamilton. If he learns from this, then he’ll probably be better next time. All he needs to do is exactly what the green round guy from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” suggests: “DON’T PANIC!!!”

Shocks&Awe

<—– That's certainly _my_ motto… :-)

Shaolin

I thought LH had an off day, but he was still the fastest car all weekend. He had a bad start, then took some risks to try and force his way back. sure there were a couple of mistakes, bit he did make his way back up to score points.
I thought the most interesting thing was rosbergs inability to take the fight to Ferrari, he was struggling all weekend in comparison to LH.he then threw away his points with a poor error that probably should have got him a penalty

Dustin1985

In my personal opinion, as far as the mercedes drivers race falling apart if they are not leading, is not the case. From what I have seen not all but a lot of the time when mercedes does a bad move that possibly takes them out of the race it is commonly against the other mercedes driver. In lap 1 of the Hungary gp for instance I feel that had it been any other car except Nico, Hamilton would have relaxed and realised that there was a lot of racing left and he had by far the best car on… Read more »

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