Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lewis Hamilton: Where is his career heading?

Lewis Hamilton is going through a difficult patch, and here is an analysis of Formula One's troubled star.

An incredibly talented and beautifully gifted individual, Lewis Hamilton possesses a quality and natural speed rarely seen in the world of Formula One. Without a shadow of a doubt, the McLaren driver is one of the best to grace the sport in recent years, as well as easily one of the most exciting.

However, he is having a bad season. With Sebastian Vettel smashing him in, Button and Alonso driving better than him, and a pretty average McLaren car, it could be argued that all of these are factors pointing towards the worrying number of high-profile incidents the 26 year-old has been involved in this season. Hamilton is on the verge of been beaten by his team mate in the championship for the first time ever. After finishing level with Alonso in 2007, he thrashed Heikki Kovalainen the next two, before taking another win last year against Jenson Button.

So what has been the change in him this year? Immaturity? Button beating him? Frustrated by a poor car? Who knows? But there is no way Hamilton has lost any of his talent, because at China this season, he was remarkable, overtaking both his team mate and Sebastian Vettel. Then later in the season at Germany, he drove the best qualifying lap of his life. Then he made a gorgeous start and took a stunning win. So that quashes the theory that he's not a world class driver, or lost talent.

Hamilton's brilliant victory at Germany
 Despite this, he had had an error prone, crash packed season in which he is been outperformed by his team mate and staring at the possibility of finishing fifth in the world championship. If he were to (and I find this unlikely) fail to get a podium in the last five races he would finish with less podiums than 2009, which would be a huge body blow.

So then, what's up with him? I think he is certainly frustrated at the McLaren's lack of speed, or more precisely, the McLaren's lack of speed compared to Red Bull. Also, Hamilton wants to win every race, which is of course a good thing, but he also thinks he can win every race, and I'm sorry, but with Red Bull as far away as they are now, he can't. With his desire to win all the time comes a countless amount of risks taken, which often end in disaster.

I think Hamilton is probably the best overtaker on the grid, but at the moment some of his moves are going wrong. There was Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in Monaco, Jenson Button in Canada, Kamui Kobayashi in Belgium and Felipe Massa again in Singapore. If Hamilton was maybe a bit more patient in these overtaking attempts, they probably wouldn't have ended in disaster for the McLaren driver. So that's one thing he needs to be: patient.

Which may lead me on to my next point, the car. Clearly the McLaren hasn't been good enough to challenge for the championship this year, or for the past three years to be honest. But that doesn't mean he can't drive well, and put in great drives. Look at Fernando Alonso. Personally, I believe Alonso is driving better this season than he did when he won his world championships. He's won a race and regularly been on the podium in what is a very poor Ferrari car. Heikki Kovalainen is proving his credentials by nearly always been the best of the new teams, as well as always beating his team mate. So those two have proven that it is possible to impress in a poor car, and if Hamilton could do that, and just realise that his car isn't great, he would make less mistakes.

Mistake: Hamilton retires from Belgium
 So, his car isn't great. What else? Well, his publicity and support in Britain is immense, and pretty much everyone loves him. This is obviously great for him, but whenever he does something wrong, everyone knows about it, and whenever he does something well, everyone knows about it. So is he over working to impress? Who knows. Also, Hamilton is a pure F1 driver, I don't think he's in it for the money at all, he genuinely loves the sport. So, I don't think that he enjoys all the extra stuff he has to do, like PR and interviews, hence why he left Singapore without saying a word. And I think he is been turned into a celebrity, when he is a sportsman. And after his father and him split as a management team, he is now managed by an entertainment company, which baffles me.

Finally, the team. Are McLaren the right people to be with? I'm not so sure. Hamilton clearly loves the team, and I think they work well together. But if you look at top drivers, like Alonso and Vettel (Hamilton is also) they haven't stayed at one team throughout their career. Also, the McLaren team don't seem particularly consistent, and many mistakes have been made this season. I think it would be a good idea for Hamilton to join Red Bull, because then he could face Sebastian Vettel, and if he were to beat the German, he would have a chance to prove he is better than his rival.

Lewis Hamilton is a driver who possesses a fantastic talent, and if he thinks a bit more, he will certainly be champion again. He's too good not to be.

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