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Hamilton: I don't owe F1 anything

NEWS STORY
19/04/2016

Bernie Ecclestone has made no secret of the fact that in his opinion Lewis Hamilton is its best asset.

Though the F1 supremo insists that no driver, or team, is bigger than the sport, he acknowledges that the Briton's rock 'n' roll lifestyle attracts interest from way beyond its normal reaches as Hamilton jets around the world rubbing shoulders with stars of screen, recording studio, catwalk and politics.

Whilst some claim his celebratory lifestyle is impacting his racing, and that some of his antics result in negative publicity, Ecclestone, despite believing that drivers should keep their mouths shut and get on with the job, remains a fan.

Speaking to CNN, Hamilton insists that he doesn't owe the sport anything, that he's put in as much as he's taken out, put in far more than any other driver.

"I've been here for 10 years... given my blood, sweat and tears for the sport," he said. "So, I don't feel like I owe it anything.

"I actually probably promote the sport more than any other driver ever has," he continued. "I'm at more events talking about Formula One more than any driver ever has... probably all the other drivers put together and more.

"I don't feel like I have any more of a responsibility. I've got some incredible fans and I give as much time as I can to motivate them and energize those who do follow me. So I don't know what else I have to give."

At a time the Grand Prix Drivers' Association is pushing for more say in the sport, Hamilton, who is not a member, doesn't share its view, feeling it won't be listened to anyway.

"Ultimately sport, business... it's money and power. We (the drivers) will say stuff but ultimately it's those people who are sitting in their chair, striking a pen, paying checks, making money, that will be the ones that (have the final say)," he said. "I'm not saying it's wrong. It's just like a corporate business... money is the power, money is the ruler. The people who own the sport make the decisions."

Asked if he would like more of a say, he replies: "Not really. It doesn't make any difference."

And of his relatively poor start to the 2016 season, and his teammate's gathering momentum...

"As long as I know I've given absolutely everything that's in my physical power and mental ability, as long as I've given everything, I can never be upset. Hopefully I've still showed that fighting spirit that I've always had since I was a kid.

"So another 18 races to go. Still got a great car. Still got a great team. It's important that none of us change anything.

"He's done a great job," he said of his teammate. "I've not been there to really be in the fight with him, he's had pretty much a breeze for the last three races. Good for him.

"But he should enjoy it whilst it lasts, because you never know how long it's going to last."

Hmm.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by F One, 23/04/2016 16:26

"That's right Hamilton, you don't F1 anything, you owe it everything you conceited prat."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/04/2016 17:02

"@scf1fan You seem to have been offended. That wasn't my intention, I too was simply expressing an opinion; surely the sine qua non of these forums?

"

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3. Posted by Jonno, 21/04/2016 12:59

"Lewis Hamilton is right. Only he has the power to get hundreds of weirdos to follow his every word, so they can immediately rush to twitter, facebook and the forums to have a go at him. There are 20 other drivers in F1 and none of them are as capable of motivating followers in the same way. In fact, I doubt if many of them ever say or do anything of great interest.
I watched an interview with a great cyclist a few days ago. He said that if he did well in a race, he would be criticised as much as if he did badly. It was completely impossible to make some people happy, so he now ignores the lot. Which is exactly what Lewis does. It's all water off a ducks back, words on a screen that won't last beyond the next week.
"

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4. Posted by Spy, 21/04/2016 11:15

"Lewis Hamilton is clearly a top driver, and will never be everybody's cup of tea. Maybe it's his "Huggy Bear" impersonations (nice one - I like it), or his comments about competitors, his celebrity lifestyle, or who knows what else. Personally I feel that like everybody else, he can do with his money and fame whatever he feels like. Ultimately only he will pay the price or reap the rewards.

However, to compare him to Jackie Stewart is simply outrages. Don't get me wrong I'm not anti or pro Hamilton. If it must be known, I happened to be a Senna fan, an admiration LH happens to share.

However when it comes down to what you have returned, no one else in the history of the sport (not even Senna) has done as much for the sport as Sir Jackie. Much of not all of his work has filtered down to all levels in the sport. This is one knighthood that is well deserved. BTW I'm not British and could never understand the fuss, but I'll make an exception for Sir Jackie.

Safety Standards were practically non-existent when he came into the sport, and when he retired several years later it was a much better place, even if his work didn't end then. Invariably every driver will be able to tell you about his one big shunt his had. I know there is all this bravado about the sport being emasculated, but you know what? I quite like the idea that I will again be able to watch and hope Fernando will do something special - here's to hoping,especially with that McLaren.

Almost without exception each and every driver can tell you about his big one. Today we are privy to this perspective because of the drive and efforts of one man, 4 decades and more ago. Honourable mentions to Ken Tyrrell (obvious connection), Niki Lauda, and the much maligned Max Mosley."

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5. Posted by TokyoAussie, 21/04/2016 4:34

"Lewis is free to do whatever he likes, including Huggy Bear (from Starsky & Hutch) impersonations with his wardrobe."

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6. Posted by scf1fan, 21/04/2016 0:58

"@Spin . . . You seem to be pretty dismissive of people's opinion you disagree with; "Red herrings" and "Canards" and such, so I'll try to keep my comments short(er).

My Jackie Steward "herring" was in response to Greenflag's comment that since LH has won 3 WDC, he gets to say and do as he want's. To me, what Greenflag describes is just being a Diva and doesn't fly very well. So, as my counter example I used JS, and I don't have to qualify that choice with anything to anyone. To me, the more you win, the more you should (at least think about) giving back to the sport. Without the rest of the drivers to compete against, who would know who LH is? You speak of "in and out of the cockpit;" there again, JS is the standard I measure ALL race car drivers against.

I made no comment about LH driving skills, he is very good, but on average, I'd say he has had better than the typical driver's cars to drive. To your point, MS didn't have WDC winning cars to begin with, but he won races with them anyway. He went to Ferrari, which was also not a winning car, (at all!) but he, and his "team" built it into a winning car/team. LH starting with McLaren? Good for him!

You also seem to be pretty liberal with your exceptions, can't count what LH says on "Team radio" or "unlimited testing" would have made it different . . . no, those are just excuses. Even LH doesn't claim those.

So, let me make my point very clear, in example, perhaps MS had such a great team (in whatever combination you want to dismiss it) because he helped to engender that teamwork; and LH does not seem to do that."

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7. Posted by mickl, 21/04/2016 0:00

"@Spindoctor, agree about radio comments as this has only been broadcast it the last few years. Who knows what has been said previously. Wouldn't it be great if there were recordings of this. I would like to hear Kimi's from his Mclaren days!

"

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8. Posted by Spindoctor, 20/04/2016 17:07

"@ScF1fan - I don't wholly disagree, but please note I qualified it as "... his generation". Arguably his generation has passed, and some of the younger drivers are possibly a bit faster, and often a lot bolder....

The Jackie Stewart thing is a total red herring, I don't recall that Hamilton claimed to have done more than anyone in history, I understood him to be talking about what's happening today.

Finally the old "..VERY good car canard." Your man Schumacher won precisely 0 WDCs driving an inferior car, and nobody in the modern era has either, nor is likely to do so.
Schumacher's big advantage, which he exploited brilliantly, was unlimited in-season testing.

I can't recall Hamilton making more than the occasional critical remark bout Mercedes, and usually with some justification (comments on the Team Radio don't count).
However, I wholeheartedly endorse your remarks about Byrne, Schumacher, Brawn et al being a "team", (but see my comments about unlimited testing above).
It does wonders for esprit de corps when everyone works together for weeks on end...."

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9. Posted by scf1fan, 20/04/2016 12:00

"LOL Must be a peeved LH fan or two out there. :-)

@Spin, LH WAS exceptional, 10 years on he is merely a very good driver in a VERY good car; I don't consider his margins over Nico "blinding" by any means. Add to that, I feel that his history with the teams he has driven for indicates that he is more than just a bit of a Diva. (And, unlike most, he can back it up - in no way am I saying he is a poor driver; but a Diva, is still a Diva.) Now I am a M.Schumacher fan, no doubt, and a bit of a historian to the sport. MS could be a very (dare I say) a "cut-throat" driver on the track, but you never heard him moaning or deriding his team. Perhaps that's the difference these days; Todt, Byrne, Schumacher, Brawn were a team, and they acted like a team. I don't get that "vibe" from LH.

And whomever thinks that F1 doesn't owe Jackie Stewart magnitudes more credit than it does LH, they need to understand the sport! (And I've given Mosley and Ecclstone similar credit for their earlier involvement with the F1. (But of course, that doesn't make them right all the time either.) ;-)
"

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10. Posted by Spindoctor, 20/04/2016 10:41

"Lewis is exceptional amongst his generation of drivers: both in the cockpit and out of it. In the car he can be blindingly fast and a very brave effective overtaker. You know that if he has any chance at all he'll constantly try to move forward. He is also strikingly honest, straightforward & forthright when interviewed.
Unfortunately, I think this means he tends to say things that sound at times overly boastful , and often arrogant. Personally I find his openness refreshing compared to the bland "Driver-speak" favoured by most of his colleagues.

Much of what he says about his role in promoting F1 is arguably true. Similarly he's right to acknowledge that F1is nowadays predominantly a Business. Drivers are simply employees, whose views (like those of fans) are inconsequential in the eyes of those who own and run the Business. This may not be a very palatable fact, but fact it undeniably is. "

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11. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 20/04/2016 10:04

"Really rate Lewis, but since he started wearing that huge gold chain, not sure if he has gone slightly astray, "look at how rich I am and how poor you are" not sure it fits well in F1? if things do not go well for him this season, no doubt the questions will start to be asked. "

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12. Posted by Edge, 20/04/2016 9:35

"He's the biggest name in F1 he puts bums on seats and is the one that gets every F1 fan talking be it negative or otherwise. He's a box office draw and one of the main reasons I bother to go to races. F1 will be a much duller place without him. "

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13. Posted by nonickname, 20/04/2016 7:32

"Ron must really regret his vast input."

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14. Posted by mickl, 20/04/2016 1:23

"So what is Hamilton if he isn't driving a car? A Kardashian reject?"

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15. Posted by gturner38, 20/04/2016 0:19

"If he doesn't want drivers to have a say in the sport, that's fine, but don't come out and say you'll refuse to drive a car with a halo on it. He wants to have a say when it's convenient without having the responsibility to actually come up with an answer for anything."

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