You didn’t have to listen to closely to hear the frustration in Lewis Hamilton’s voice during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. The young brit certainly let his team have it during a radio conversation that instructed Hamilton to adjust his brake bias rearwards and mind his brakes. The answer from Hamilton?
“What the hell? Do you want me to race these guys or look after the car?”
The sentiment was met with some disdain in the American broadcast on speed TV with good reason but I feel the incident only highlights a level of frustration Hamilton is experiencing with McLaren’s lack of pace against the Red Bull’s of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
The http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/may/17/lewis-hamilton-mclaren-red-bull-monaco had a story today that I think does a good job of portraying the frustration and sentiment of a fiercely competitive Hamilton and his concern over the lack of pace and the amount of time he figures it will take to catch up.
“Those Red Bull guys are so fast. It’s too easy for them at the moment. They weren’t even pushing in the race. They weren’t pushing at all. They were just cruising. It’s not scary, it just takes the mickey a little bit. They’re a long way ahead. It has not been a good first six races for us, at least on my side of the garage. We’ve underperformed.”
Clearly he is not happy with the performance of the McLaren and certainly gets a dig in on his team as Jenson Button’s fortune has been better as he led the world championship up until this weekend’s Red Bull 1,2 victory.
Hamilton is not beyond optimism, however, and he is trying to put a decent spin on the situation. I think part of his development as a driver is to face adversity such as this as well as what he faced in 2007. Always winning is something not even the greatest in the sports history have always done.
Understanding that certain days, weeks or even years can be bad is something almost all drivers have had to face and to be fair, Hamilton has had to face it as well. Sometimes he’s faced the situation with calm repose and other times he has lashed out at the difficulty and even blamed others. It’s all part of the lessons of F1 and the lessons of life.
Hamilton is not alone in his critique of McLaren’s performance. His teammate Jenson Button has also suggested that the car is not fast enough and that the team is lacking in pace to the Red Bull’s. But like Button, Hamilton knows that everyone is lacking pace to the Red Bulls.
I think this is a sign of a fierce competitor and a young man that wants to win. He is driven by victory and even has blinders on when it comes to that ultimate goal. Adversity has a way of removing those blinders and better to see victory with your periphery in tact than to only see checkered flags or red mist.
Hamilton is not all depression, misery and doom. He has optimism for the future and looks for a resurgent McLaren but he also suggests that this could be a long ways off. I wouldn’t put anything beyond McLaren after last years development performance but Hamilton would know better than I.
“I doubt whether we can catch up with Red Bull by the next race,” Hamilton conceded today. “It’s not impossible but not likely. But I’m hoping by Silverstone [on 11 July] that we will be able to challenge them. After Monaco the next best place to win is Silverstone. Just imagine me and Jenson with a one-two at Silverstone. It would be the best thing to happen for a long time. We’re fired up, don’t worry about that.”
In the end, McLaren have a big task ahead of them and if any team has the right tools and talent to take the fight to Red Bull, it may just be the team from Woking. That is if they can keep that red team from Italy behind them.