Like him or not, think he’s the best driver today or not, Lewis Hamilton seems always to be the news story of the day.
While Force India and Williams have been involved in post-race protests, which ended up with Adrian Sutil now classified in ninth place and Nico Hulkenberg behind him in 10th, it is hard to ignore Martin Whitmarsh’s defense of his driver as the big story in the Singapore aftermath.
Much like at Monza.
Here’s Martin, via Autosport:
“I think Lewis was very unlucky,” Whitmarsh told reporters. “I am sure people may, because it is easy journalism, look at two races in a trot we have an incident but I think if you look at what happened today Lewis did not make a late lunge.
“What happened in Monza was a bit opportunistic but if you look at the position of Lewis in Monza versus the Ferrari then it was almost reverse of what happened today. He got past, he was in the lead and went for the corner and left a bit of space – but Mark was lucky to get away with it.
“We can get heated about blame but I think Mark has got to race as well, but the important thing from my perspective was that from Lewis it was not a desperate overtaking, it was a solid overtaking manoeuvre. When ever you overtake in any form of motor racing there is a degree of risk and he was unlucky that it did not come off this time.”
He added: “I don’t believe Lewis did anything wrong. I am not trying to get into the blame game but I think he made a good overtaking manoeuvre. Whenever you overtake someone, if they are not going to comply or ease then there is a degree of risk, but this was not a late-braking or late-lunge. He got past on the straight, he was ahead going into that corner.
“He reasonably expected to be able to determine his line, he left a bit of space for Mark and I think Mark was committed quite late and not able to go through on the inside. He hit Lewis. Mark was very lucky to get away with it absolutely and Lewis was very unlucky. But there is no blame attached to Lewis for what happened today.”
Whitmarsh did not lay the blame on Webber either, but reckons the Australian was lucky to be able to continue the way he did.
“I am not laying it firmly. I believe that what Lewis did was right. And I am not here to try and blame Webber, I think he was very lucky to get away with it.
“If you look at the car positions going into that corner and contrast them with what happened in Monza you can almost reverse Lewis’s position so we all blamed Lewis last time, we cannot blame him this time. The fact is that they are both motor racing drivers.
“If he had tried to brake late and make a chancey overtaking move then we would rightly be disappointed in him, but the fact is he got past, he was in front when they went into that corner, he had the right to determine that line and the car that is behind normally has to accept that that is happening.
“He had some space but did not take all the space and had an accident, but I don’t think blaming Mark is useful. Did Lewis make a mistake in what he was doing? No, he didn’t in my opinion.”
It feels like every race we are bound to have a debate about Lewis Hamilton’s driving style. It is a testament to Lewis’ driving skills, style, the high-profile team he’s with, his position in the championship — you name it.
So… F1B. What are your thoughts on Lewis’ latest DNF? (And do you think he’s destroying his title chances?)