There is no denying that Lewis Hamilton is one of the most brilliant Formula One drivers and motorsports talents of all time. Hamilton was a child prodigy, signed to a contract with McLaren when he was just 13 years old. He nearly won a world championship in his first season in F1 and beat the sophomore slump to win a championship in his second. But other than those feats, he's one of the most annoying, entitled, and whiny drivers on the grid.
Hamilton had the backing of one of the most prestigious teams in motorsports when you were sucking at the Trombone in your Junior High band. The story goes that at age 10, the ever precocious Hamilton walked up to McLaren boss Ron Dennis after a big karting win and told him he wanted to race for his team someday. In three years, Hamilton was signed to McLaren. Hamilton was incredibly talented before he took his gifts to McLaren, but having a huge organization behind you at the karting level is just annoying.
Like any motorsport, money is a big part of karting. As someone who raced karts for years when I was younger, I can tell you that being able to afford multiple motors, clutches, and new tires every week makes a massive difference in speed. I can only imagine the difference having one of the greatest F1 teams of all time behind you makes.
Nothing is his fault, ever. As far as I can tell, Hamilton has barely done anything wrong. In motorsports, you win and lose as a team. In Hamilton's view, it seems he is clear of any fault when he loses.
Here are just a few examples:
I didn’t contest it, I think you always have to have a balanced view with the engineers, but I didn’t take into account – and I know the engineers didn’t – that in Monaco you can’t take risks and leave it right to the end, you have to get out and get a banker [lap] in, like everyone else did.
It was while we were waiting for the stewards that I was misled and was instructed by my team manager to withhold information. That's what I did. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, and I think the stewards could see that.
Then the wrong tyres were put on. I had the option instead of the prime. For the last stint I had an old prime which didn't last and I had to pit. It was very poor strategy but there's nothing I can do.
We need to look into this very seriously. There has to be an investigation because we gave away a lot of points again today, that's how championships are lost. We have to try and make sure we pick up on the next race because we can't afford to lose points like we did today.
Occasionally, the team is to blame for a poor strategy. But the way Hamilton plays it, it's as if he doesn't have free will to question the strategy. His idea of a "balanced view" is complaining when he listens to the engineers. Speak up!
He showed absolutely zero loyalty to the team that supported him for 15 years. This is what really irks me about Lewis. McLaren supported him since he was 13 and have worked their asses off for him. He tested a car at the same time as Alex Lloyd, but it was a forgone conclusion that Hamilton would have the ride. He didn't get along with Fernando Alonso in 2007. McLaren ended Alonso's contract early and chose Hamilton to unequivocally lead the team. They gave him the teammate he wanted. McLaren basically became Hamilton's team.
What did he do? Whined. Instead of trying to improve the team, he complained and blamed them (see above) whenever something went wrong.
His contract was up this year, and instead of sticking with the team that has been like a racing father to him, the team that gave him everything he wanted, he went to Mercedes. And in his recent interview on Top Gear, Hamilton heavily implied that less pr appearances was a motivating factor.
Hamilton: A lot yes, yeah. (This was mixed in with a lot of nervous laughter, like Clarkson actually hit on something.)
You left the team that nurtured your career and paid your way for 15 years because the sponsors wanted you to go say "I like Vodafone" a few times a year? Wow. Instead he went to a team that has done basically nothing since Mercedes took it over.
He says it's because he wants to do what Michael Schumacher did with Ferrari from 1997 through 2006, mold a team in his image. Well, Lewis, if you couldn't accomplish anything like that in six seasons at McLaren, where they catered to your every whim, good luck with that at a new team.
Lewis fired his own father from being his manager. I'm actually on the fence here. Hamilton's dad was his manager ever since he started karting. Lewis says the split was amicable:
Yet Anthony Hamilton paints a very different story:
Lewis makes a valid point, it is hard to separate family and business when you work together every single day. And Anthony was always around on the F1 grid with his son. But the parting sounds like it was less than amicable.
His girlfriend is a Pussy Cat Doll, and he hates it. Hamilton has been dating Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger on and off since 2007. They've also broken up about 47 times. Lewis' attitude towards Nicole seems incredibly blase. She's older than Lewis and wants to marry him. They broke up once in 2010 and he dumped her in 2011 because she wanted kids and he didn't.
Lewis tweets about "his girl" incessantly, but I get the vibe that he's just tweets because he feels like he has to. I imagine him putting smiley faces in there but not actually meaning it. Yes, I think Hamilton is trying to lie to us through emoji.
Scherzinger continues to stick around for some reason. There were rumors that the two were engaged, but that's just what they were. Rumors.
He distanced himself from Adrian Sutil when he was in trouble. Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton have been pretty good friends through the years. So what happened when Hamilton was asked to testify for Sutil in his recent court case for an assault? An assault where he was in the same nightclub at the same time?
"I'm not in contact with him any more so we have no relationship at the moment," Sutil said." I've not seen him, I've not spoken to him. For sure I will meet up with him, but I don't know what will happen."
Hamilton has said that he reached out to Sutil once he heard he was getting a ride back, but he wasn't there to testify for his friend in his time of need. Reports say that Hamilton had a commitment to McLaren (maybe that's why he hates PR) and submitted a written note saying he didn't witness the incident. Sutil called him a "coward" and the two are yet to speak, although it does sound like Sutil wants to repair the rift.
He repeatedly and unabashedly compares himself to Ayrton Senna. Yes, that Ayrton Senna. Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest drivers of all time. Guess what? Hamilton wants people to think of him that way too.
When I speak about greatness, I just know Ayrton Senna, the stories about the way he would walk into a room, the aura he had, the way people would perceive him, the way he carried himself, the way he drove and inspired people, inspired a nation – that is greatness. And that is a dream for any driver to achieve.
Lewis is exciting to watch race and does have incredible car control and skill, but his results don't back up his claims. In 111 starts, Hamilton has 21 wins and 26 poles. He accomplished this from one of the most coveted seats in all of Grand Prix racing.
Senna spent his first four seasons in inferior equipment from Toleman and Lotus. He was able to take the Lotus to wins that it shouldn't have accomplished. Senna had an uncanny ability to grab a bad car and make it great. I don't really see that in Hamilton.
What I do see is a similar helmet.
He wants to open his own museum dedicated to himself. Seriously. He wants to.
I have been thinking to build a museum. It was my dad's idea. It would be cool to have somewhere – in Stevenage or London, I don't know – where we could have one of the cars from every year that I have driven and have the trophies up so that people can see them. There's no point in having them all in your house where no one can see them.
His dog is adorable. He has a bulldog named Roscoe. It's so cute. I can't get over it.
Just look at those tattoos. Lewis frequently asks us, the followers of Lewis, if we'd like to see some pictures of his tattoos.
This 'tat' was done in his motorhome during practice for the 2013 F1 season. You'd think he might be, y'know, talking to engineers so he doesn't complain about strategy.
He has a Pagani Zonda 760LH. He has a specially built Zonda with a manual gearbox because he didn't want paddles. Ok, that is just cool. Props to Lewis here.