I can’t help but get that creepy feeling whenever Lewis Hamilton dog-whistles that there is some sort of issue going on other than he and his team experiencing mechanical failures this year. Sure, he has borne the brunt of the issues at Mercedes in 2016 but so has Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at McLaren and many others on the grid as well as throughout history in Formula 1. Even Nico Rosberg has had his share of technical issues in the last 3-4 years as had Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen.
It can ebb and flow but it seems when Lewis has repeated failures, there is a throng of fans willing to take the bait and claim a grand conspiracy by the team to thwart his efforts. Besides being completely baseless beside Lewis having more trouble than Nico this year—which we’ve addressed above—it is without any evidence or proof of tampering and like Christian Horner once said when the same accusation was leveled at the team as Mark Webber was having more failures than Vettel—with a team of well over a thousand employees, there is no possible way you could do that and it not leak out immediately or over time. He’s right.
As many employees who have left Red Bull or even Ferrari under not-the-best terms, no one has ever brought forth proof that the team was purposely tanking a driver’s races in favor of another one. If someone from Mercedes brought a memo, data or other document that showed they were over-tightening a bolt on Lewis’s car, then I would have much more time for the conspiracies but I’ve seen nothing other than armchair conspiracies bordering on 9/11 truther proportions.
The fact is, Lewis is having the issues and he also has new kit which was upgraded and while he speaks of eight Mercedes engines, not all of them are receiving the latest advancements at the same time as he is etc. That didn’t keep him from saying:
“I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars [on the grid] and only my engines have been the ones that have been going this year,” Hamilton reporters.
“Something just doesn’t feel right but there’s nothing I can do about it.
“It’s just odd. There’s been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone.”
“something or someone doesn’t want me to win this year”
Niki Lauda wasn’t too keen on Lewis accusations and said:
“I know Lewis very well, and he will not accuse the team,” Lauda told reporters in the Sepang paddock.
“This interpretation I cannot accept. What do you guys think, suddenly we start to sabotage?
“Why? It’s completely ridiculous and stupid.
“We work for both cars in the same way. All these questions are ridiculous.”
“He can mean anybody. This is a wide interpretation,” he said.
“If I am unlucky and I can’t find an explanation I say if there is a God then I have done something wrong or he doesn’t like me.
“If a driver is upset – I have been upset a couple of times in my racing career and I said some rubbish.
“I don’t want to say Lewis said rubbish, but these things can happen.
“It’s emotion, which is fully acceptable and there is nothing wrong.”
I understand the frustration, I really do. I just don’t understand manipulating your fans into a social media narrative you would like them to proffer to put heat on the team. Why do that? To be honest, it’s a bit patronizing and belittling of your fans to get out of the car, dog-whistle conspiracy and then set back and watch the mobocracy take pot shots at Mercedes. It puts the team on the defensive and if I were a mechanic or engineer on his side of the garage, I wouldn’t care much about his title defense if I’m honest.
It’s almost like every bad race where a mechanical issue crops up, he’s in bridge burning mode. Heck, even James Allison parted ways with Ferrari and you don’t see him wandering around in the swirling embers of a burnt Italian bridge do you?
His yo-yo act with his #TeamLH mobocracy is really starting to become threadbare and I watch, as an outsider, and find it patronizing and exploitive of what otherwise is a terrific fan base. An entire throng of Hamilton fans who love his skills, his titles, his jet set lifestyle and panache as well as sublime race craft. Then the toys come out of the pram and he engages #TeamLH to start hurling eggs at Mercedes when an engine blows again.
Here’s an idea, maybe Lewis himself could crawl under the car and make a better, more reliable engine to ensure he never has a failure again? It takes a team my friend, good or bad, and a person isn’t usually defined by how well they live on success but how well they react in failure. If the world thought Vettel was a petulant young man when he was at Red Bull, what must they think of the endless hints and innuendos regarding the character and integrity of over 1,000 people at Mercedes? Think big picture Lewis, it’s not ALL about you ALL of the time.
To answer Niki’s question, maybe that “Someone” is karma.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT