Today’s Monaco Grand Prix was probably the most enjoyable race from Monte Carlo since Senna and Mansell fought their way to the finish there in ‘92. Usually Monaco is a glamorous setting but a dull race but the 2011 race was a real classic. Perhaps the only disappointment from today was Lewis Hamilton.
I’ve been a fan of Lewis since he joined the F1 circus in 2007. I liked the way he took his McLaren by the scruff of the neck and hustled it around the race track whether it wanted to or not. In the first season of his career he did things in an F1 car that no other driver did. He pulled off some fantastic passes like the one at Monza above.
Today however I thought he let himself down. Not by the after race comments that will grab the headlines, I can understand the frustration leading to his unwise words. More I thought his driving was reckless and destroyed the races of others who did little deserve being hit by his McLaren.
I wonder whether when he looks back at the videos he’ll regret his comments blaming the other drivers. He was never going to get past Massa in the inside of the hairpin, and his attempt on poor Maldonado was ambitious at best. I do hope that Lewis comes to realise that those incidents had more to do with his own driving that theirs.
Following his championship win Lewis seemed to be maturing as a driver. He toned down his do-or-die style and whilst he wasn’t perhaps as exciting to watch, it did make him a more consistent driver. Since the middle of last season though he seems to have taken a step backwards. The composure that kept is aggressive driving in check isn’t always present leading to silly mistakes like those today (or Monza and Singapore last year).
Lewis is clearly a world class driver, he’s shown a natural talent for racing that lets him haul even a slow car to a competitive position. I don’t think its his driving per se that’s at fault. Attitude and mental state play an equal part in success and I suspect that this is the problem. Looking back at some of the performances below I hope Lewis gets the support he needs to regain his composure as the sport will be all the better with an on form Lewis Hamilton.
Silverstone 2006 (GP2)
Lewis and Kimi in the rain at Spa in 2008
Oh… and just because I can, the Senna and Mansell footage from Monaco. Sorry about the Japanese commentary!