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Time for the media to lay off Hamilton

NEWS STORY
31/10/2011

As teammate Jenson Button consolidates runner-up spot in the championship, Lewis Hamilton remains at the mercy of the media.

Following the sullen look in Singapore - despite taking the first Red Bull pole position of the season - it was a slightly more cheerful Hamilton who arrived in India.

In the build up to the Buddh weekend the Englishman finally went public, admitting that he'd broken up with his girlfriend Nicole Schzeringer in order that both could concentrate on their careers.

However, for a driver who has already admitted paranoia in terms of the amount of attention he's getting from the stewards, the 2008 world champion's weekend got off to the worst possible start when he received a three-place grid penalty for ignoring waved yellow flags at the end of Friday's opening practice session. The scene was set.

With motorsport mindful of the horrific accidents that robbed it of two great talents, Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, accidents which have had a profound effect on all the F1 stars, particularly those who knew or raced against them, perhaps Hamilton's minders might have done a better job in shielding the guy from some of the less sensitive media types and their questions.

However, how the Englishman's admission to the Daily Telegraph that essentially he would rather die in a racing car than of old age, cancer or sitting in front of the TV eating a 15" pizza can result in a headline - courtesy of the Daily Express - which proclaimed 'Lewis Hamilton's Car Death Smash Wish' defies belief.

The subsequent incident in the race, the McLaren driver somehow yet again ending up on the same piece of tarmac as Felipe Massa resulted in the inevitable collision only this time it was the Brazilian who walked the plank. Nonetheless, there was no mistaking Hamilton's mood after the race.

While the endless soul searching and amateur psychology at least speared us further hyperbole in terms of how wonderful it was to be in India, one has to wonder how much more of this the guy can take.

He's a racing driver, in the eyes of many of us a god, one who dares do the things that we would never truly do. However, out of the car, despite the millions, despite the lifestyle and the celebrity friends he's just like the rest of us. He's human, he makes mistakes, he has weaknesses.

It is time for the media, particularly in his country of birth, to start treating the guy not as a celebrity or racing driver but as a human being. Time to stop picking like vultures on even the most personal aspects of his life.

The current media circus is nauseating to behold and one fears where it might end.

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