Anybody who has followed F1 the last few years has come to understand that Lewis Hamilton sometimes has a way of making some pretty far out there statements. This is the man who “blew away” two time champion Fernando Alonso while both drivers were at McLaren together. However, Lewis has had a slightly different tone when discussing his on track action with Michael Schumacher.
Autosport has recently ran a story where Hamilton describes his on track action at last weeks Barcelona test with the seven time champion as well as the Fernando saga. If we are being completely honest here, I was flat impressed by the 2008 champion’s responses and hope to hear more chat like this during the season. The season does however have a way of changing a driver’s philosophy and PR statements. Lets hope that having a new manager that isn’t daddy makes a difference.
When asked about the 2007 championship, Hamilton said that he “misunderstood” the situation within the team but was quick to insist there was no favoritism (yeah right). We all remember the epic collapse of the mighty McLaren in 07 which resulted in the team being tossed from the championship and Fernando returning to Renault for the next year’s championship. Hamilton would continue in the interview to the BBC and explain the dynamics of McLaren and their “individual package” concept. While I feel that this statement is complete rubbish, I am happy about the tone and the words used. This is the guy who came out and said he blew the doors off the two time champion. So we will take baby steps on this one.
The statement that really had step back and take note was the one about driving alongside Michael. The young Brit has already stated that racing against the seven time champion will be very different, yet very special at the same time. The two were running against each other in Barcelona but on separate strategies. The German was early in a run with heavy fuel, while Lewis was lighter and quicker in his new McLaren. The Autosport interview had Lewis saying:
“Rather than backing off, I thought, ‘let’s have some fun and see if we can get close to him!’ It was really, really hard work and good to experience what the new car is like when behind people. So I was challenging, I was learning new things and thinking I need to get past him really quick.”
Further into the discussion Lewis even refers to Michael as a legend! These comments are foreign to Lewis as he previously has had no problem talking down to the Formula 1 elders. This type of chatter is what I expect from a world champion and is showing that despite our original beliefs, Lewis can and will eventually grow into a respectable racing driver. I think no longer having Ant Ham at the management position will only further the respect I have for him.