Monday, October 8, 2012

Lewis Hamilton’s Debut Album

As a tifosa, I should be freaking out right now. Sebastian Vettel has reduced Fernando Alonso’s healthy lead in the World Driver’s Championship to a mere four points in one race and the Red Bull RB8 looked almost unbeatable in Japan. Strangely enough, however, after spending the majority of Sunday evening shaking my head in disbelief and muttering bitterly to myself, I seem to have switched my focus onto Lewis Hamilton and his increasingly ridiculous behaviour.

Those of you who know me well will already be aware that Lewis is often the butt of my jokes. From his tacky earrings to his pretentious TAG Heuer commercial (“let me tell you a fascinating story.” LOL!) not a week seems to go by without me wondering how the humble and intelligent boy who once told Ron Dennis that he would like to drive for McLaren became the author of twitter tweets such as “Wassup everyone! Hope your kool.” and “Chillin wit my homie.”

Now, I’m not saying that Lewis isn’t talented. As much as he annoys me, I will admit that he is certainly one of the most naturally gifted drivers on the grid. The fact that he manages to retain a drive despite putting his foot in his mouth on a regular basis is surely indicative of how large that talent truly is. One does however wonder how much of Hamilton’s shock decision to switch teams to Mercedes next year was Lewis wanting to leave and how much of it was McLaren simply not wanting him to stay.

There has been a lot of friction between Hamilton and McLaren recently, with Lewis often appearing to be a spoiled brat throwing his toys out of the gold encrusted pram that Ron Dennis built for him. From public criticisms of his team to random twitter outbursts and even the leakage of his and team-mate, Jenson Button’s telemetry data on social media, it has been shocking to watch Lewis Hamilton take an image that was already somewhat tainted in the wake of 2011 and run it further into the ground. Sometimes I find myself questioning if even Lewis’s own fans aren’t just a bit turned off.

To be fair to Lewis, I don’t know him, nor do I know the inner workings of the McLaren team, in fact I have to admit that I too once judged Fernando Alonso for his behaviour and branded him a prima donna prior to his Ferrari years. Maybe in five years time, once the dust from Hamilton’s move has settled, I will see things in a new light. For now, however, I have to wonder if Ross Brawn might already be regretting his decision to sign McLaren’s former golden boy. In the past several days alone, Hamilton has admitted in an interview with The Mail on Sunday that he probably won’t be winning next year’s championship or even a race in the 2013 Mercedes. “I am just well aware we don’t have the best car and it will take a lot of work to improve it.” He puzzlingly stated about a car which has yet to be built. I’m sure that neither sentiment will be met with open arms by Brawn, who is accustomed to winning and surely hopes to be on the top step of the podium multiple times next year.

Many of the sport’s most respected commentators have supported Lewis’s move to Mercedes. Former McLaren driver, David Coulthard likened the Briton’s switch to a young man moving out of his parent’s home and Damon Hill even went so far as to compare Hamilton to a caged bird at McLaren. It seems that despite Lewis’s questionable behaviour, he still has people in his corner and they will no doubt be keen to see him return to the promising form that he displayed at the beginning of his Formula 1 career.

For my part, although I dislike the man, I will say that a move like this takes guts. If the Mercedes is the class of the field in 2014 when the sport’s technical regulations change then Hamilton will look like a genius. If, however, Lewis ends up languishing in the midfield or even lower, his career may go the way that Jacques Villeneuve’s went in 1999 when he joined British American Racing.

If that does end up the case, maybe Hamilton will follow the French Canadian into the music industry, he has a girlfriend who already knows the business and seems to be quite handy on the guitar. Perhaps he could go by the name L-Ham or Lew-Diddy.

Whatever the outcome next season, whether Lewis flies or lands flat on his face, it’s going to be an interesting ride for sure and I am salivating at the prospect of watching the drama unfold.

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