Lewis Hamilton Shows True Markings of a Champion

by Marc Cannella

When Lewis Hamilton stormed onto the Formula One scene in 2007, his natural talent alone almost guaranteed him a world championship, and he duly delivered in only his second season. But despite the undoubted highs, the Englishman has also experienced the lows of the sport. He lost the championship by one point in his first season, and the McLaren-Mercedes is currently as slow as a horse-drawn cart.

But the mark of a true champion is the way he carries himself, and Hamilton has proven to be outstanding in this regard. Nurtured and supported by the McLaren team since the age of eight, he is well aware of his role outside the car as a role model for the new generation of eight-year-olds. He also knows he is being constantly scrutinised by the scavenging British media (which is why he moved to Switzerland to escape spotlight). But Hamilton accepts the baggage that comes with being a global ‘superstar’.

Having been around the McLaren family for as long as he has, Hamilton is well-versed in PR practice and ‘image optimisation’. McLaren, after all, are the most corporate-conscious of all F1 teams. So when Hamilton was excluded from the Melbourne race results for withholding information from the stewards regarding whether he had let the Toyota of Jarno Trulli pass him under the Safety Car, questions arose after the race about what really had happened.

It turned out that Hamilton had been ‘misled’ by McLaren’s Sporting Director, Dave Ryan, on the pit-to-car radio. Ryan, who has been with the team for over 30 years, was suspended by the team but will return.

Hamilton was genuinely sorry for his part, and apologised for causing embarrassment to himself and his family. He admitted he had let down his fans. Perhaps Australia’s wrongdoing sportspeople can learn something from his dignified manner?

Formula One drivers may have one of the most enviable jobs in the world, but they are also disciplined and well aware that if they make a mistake, on track or off, there are 700 other employees also being let down.

On another (non-rambling) note, there is a saying is motor racing circles that you are only as good as your last race. That makes Jenson Button a winner. The ‘other’ Brit languished at the rear of the grid in a Honda last year while Lewis Hamilton basked in the spoils of victory. Button was yesterday’s ‘next big thing’, with only one victory in nine seasons. Right now, though, the Brawn-Mercedes (the team’s new name after Honda pulled out of F1) is a winning machine, and Button’s loyalty is being repaid.


  1. This seems rather a “straight” post. I had been inclined to see Hamilton as a prima donna and a whinger who lost the championship in 07 through his own errors. He certainly had a dream run into the sport with McLaren but he has also proved that he is a huge talent. The real saying should be that you are only as good as your car! Button is showing that in a good car he can be a winner. But for me the story of 09 is Sebastian Vettel. Sadly he is putting our Mark Webber in the shade but definitely an exciting new talent with a similar pedigree to Schumacher. Still hope Webber can win a race!

    I haven’t looked at the rule changes for 09 but they have certainly shuffled the pack! Have to think McLaren and Ferrari will come storming back soon.

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