Saturday 24 June 2017

'Rage to win' causing huge problems for frustrated Hamilton

MOTORSPORT

David Tremayne

As fresh evidence emerged that Lewis Hamilton may be moving closer to a drive alongside Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull when his contract with McLaren expires at the end of this season, the 2008 world champion found himself not only on the receiving end of a race-ruining nudge from team-mate Jenson Button but vituperative criticism of his own driving.

This followed his frustrating previous Grand Prix -- in Monte Carlo -- when he and McLaren unfathomably decided not to go for a banker lap and to do just one run, which was subsequently ruined by Sergio Perez's accident. Then in the race he received a drive-through penalty after a brush with Felipe Massa and a 20-second penalty to his race time for another with Pastor Maldonado. He was unable to contain himself afterwards and launched his ill-judged racist accusation at the stewards.

In Canada, then, a low profile might have been in order, but his driving was typically aggressive and crashing out hurt. Hamilton's current "problem"is simple; like the late Gilles Villeneuve he is fired by a "rage to win".

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And for the third year running, McLaren have started a season with a car that cannot yet match the Red Bull. Hamilton, the best driver out there, is becoming increasingly frustrated watching the prime years of his career slipping away, especially after the last two races, for which he started favourite, yielded just one sixth-place finish.

Hamilton is a racer, just like Fernando Alonso, and they are the only two men able to get anywhere near Vettel's Red Bull. That's why he is occasionally overdriving, and why he spent time talking in the Montreal paddock with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. He needs to win, and that means investigating every opportunity.

Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi, former world champions both, weighed into the debate. After Hamilton spun Mark Webber on the opening lap, Lauda said that he should be punished by the FIA and Fittipaldi agreed that Hamilton was too aggressive.

Button was more laid-back about his own coming together with Hamilton. "I've spoken to Lewis and we both agree it was just one of those things," he said. "I was able to take the win. An amazing win, and possibly my best." (© Independent News Service)

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