Lewis Hamilton has taken a beating in the press this past week for his Japanese gaff and this has left him with an additive to his steep learning curve of F1; sometimes knowing when not to talk is more important that talking at all.It is a lesson, for better or worse, all drivers learn. Schumacher learned that closing the door to his more personal side was the only way to survive. The British Press had hammered him on comments of a more casual nature and when he made the decision to reduce his words, accessibility and comments the press again hammered him but it was for not being available to them. That criticism wears off after a while and while it can be hurtful in the first few months, it is far better than having your casual comments and psyche exploited by the press.
The adulation must be intoxicating for a young driver no doubt but Lewis is starting to see that he can’t possibly keep his positive PR machine running nonstop to control the image that is portrayed. The lesson here just may be that removing yourself, guarding your comments and keeping the topical and short without emotional elaboration is the very thing that will give him peace with the media. Jenson learned that as well. As reported at the Times:
“I’m only human, and every now and then people make mistakes. Communication is so important in life and some of the things I’ve said were not meant to harm anyone. I don’t feel like I’ve hurt anyone, and my family makes sure that doesn’t happen.”
Such a comment recently attributed to Hamilton quoted him as saying he felt he was a better driver than his hero, Ayrton Senna. “I never said that,” Hamilton said. “I definitely wouldn’t say it about Ayrton because he’s my favourite driver.
Hamilton has moved from Britain to Geneva but wishes on occasion he could return to living a normal life. “I don’t see myself as a celebrity,” he said. “I feel I’m the same guy I was before I got to F1, just more measured, maybe.
“You get people watching you all the time so you have to be careful about what you say or what you do. It’s not easy to live like I used to, but I can still do it sometimes. You just do it with people you trust and be smart about it.”
Keeping in mind that it is sad that the media have placed Lewis in a position of effectively clamming up and saying very little because his fans really do enjoy hearing from Lewis the young man and not a canned PR speech like Michael was reduced to in each interview. You can’t blame Schumi or Lewis for that; you have only the Press to blame for its insidious methodology and tabloid nature. We here at F1B tried to warn against making too much of Lewis last year and even this year. We knew that piling on praise and expectations, comparisons and accolades was only going to tear Lewis down. Here’s hoping Lewis can find a new solution the the issue that doesn’t see him remove himself so far from his fans that they lose interest.