Op Ed: McLaren humbly talking smack

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While McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has been waxing poetic about the team being able to win at all the remaining races, his driver is displaying a slightly more reserved outlook for the rest of the 2010 year. Lewis Hamilton told AUTOSPORT that the field is very competitive and McLaren must stay sharp in order to hold the current lead in both championships.

“It’s great to be leading the world championship, but, I have to be honest, Formula 1 is so tough and so competitive at the moment that you can’t take anything for granted – and, while I might be on top right now, I know that I’ll need to fight for every lap of the next 11 races to remain up there,” he said.

“And, I think I’m like the fifth leader of the championship so far this year, so it’s pretty clear that it’s not so easy staying on top.”

Like any sport, F1 is also driven by smack talk and head games and there is certainly a time for those kinds of tactics as demonstrated here and here

Having recognized that simple fact, I do like Hamilton’s approach to the outlook for 2010. He’s cautious, gives props to the other teams who are nipping at his heels and is remaining focused to push every lap. For a driver like Hamilton, I think his own mental preparation is crucial. He really does seem the type of guy who needs to get his focus, motivation and patience in sync for a weekend and I suspect he is one of many on the current F1 grid who need that.

Part of the magnanimous side of McLaren has always been a respectful approach to competition and while Ronspeak has been gone for some time now, it’s also nice to see Whitmarsh throw down a little smack (ala’ Ferrari) and start playing with the minds of the competitors. It’s the feisty side of McLaren and oddly it isn’t the drivers saying it.

McLaren have every reason to be confident as they, unlike many, have proven they can develop a car as good or better than anyone in the world and with the drivers they have, it’s a formidable team to be sure. I think they are playing the elements perfectly right now and it seems to me that Hamilton’s PR has improved as well and one can only assume, sans father, that Matt Bishop has been working with the young mane in this arena.

Kudos to Macca I say, they are kicking the back side of my team and that has my respect. You can’t, regardless of your allegiance, discount what this team has achieved in the past 24 months and I am confident that this can continue given the leadership and continued gelling of Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button.

Once, former team boss Ron Dennis said that it was not incumbent upon the FIA to hamper Ferrari through regulation but that it was the obligation of the other teams to pick up their game. While I appreciated Dennis’s position on that, as a Ferrari fan, I wonder if McLaren themselves aren’t heading for a domination period where the same could be uttered from Luca di Montezemolo of Macca…I wouldn’t hold your breath for that comment. ;)

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