TREMAYNE: Why was Hamilton’s tough P4 in Baku a timely response to his critics?


Lewis Hamilton is the F1 version of the great British interwar speed king, George Eyston, known as the record holder. Hamilton has too many records to list here, but suffice it to say that he holds the record for seven F1 World Championships along with Michael Schumacher, as well as race wins and pole positions (coincidentally 103 each).

But even his most ardent fans are beginning to wonder if he will break more records this season. And there’s one of his very special ones that he must be looking forward to keeping.

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Since the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship was inaugurated in 1950 there have been 34 champions: Giuseppe Farina; Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari; mike espino; Jack Brabham; Phil Hill; Graham Hill; JimClark; John Surtees; Denny Hulme; jackie stewart; Jochen Rindt; Emerson Fittipaldi; Nikki Lauda; James Hunt; Mario Andretti; Jody Scheckter; Alan Jones; Nelson Pique; Keke Rossberg; Alain Prost; Ayrton senna; Nigel Mansell; Michael Schumacher; Damon’s Hill; Jacques Villeneuve; Mika Hakkinen; Fernando Alonso; Kimi raikkonen; LewisHamilton; Jenson Button; Sebastian Vettel; Nico Rossberg and Max Verstappen.

But right now, Lewis has done something none of them have: he has won at least one Grand Prix every year he has competed in F1. Even in the years when he had bad cars, especially in 2009 and 2013, he drove two and one respectively.

Hamilton holds the record for being the only driver to win a Grand Prix in every season he has competed, but can he extend that record this year?

Like all topliners, there have been times when his presence in the cockpit has given some less-than-great machines prestige that a lesser driver might not have been able to bestow. Couldn’t some of the McLarens Ayrton drove, or Michael’s Benettons, have looked less stellar without their hands on the wheel?

Once again, making the most of the best machinery is every driver’s goal, and are we criticizing Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc for the excellent job they are currently doing for Red Bull or Ferrari?

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I mentioned here before that one of my favorite quotes was from boxer Jack Dempsey, who once defined a champion as “someone who gets up when he can’t.” I’m sure Tyson Fury could explain exactly what that means.

And this season, we’re seeing Lewis having to do just that, with a car that is difficult and uncomfortable to drive. I’m not surprised there are some within the F1 paddock who believe he was ‘acting’ on Sunday night as he struggled out of his Mercedes after a strong run to fourth place.

We are all cynical to a greater or lesser degree, and you tend to pick those whose words you tend to believe and those you view with, shall we say, a greater degree of caution. There have been champions in the past who liked to exaggerate and emphasize how difficult everything had been, but I have never seen Lewis as one of them, nor as someone who might act in a certain way for political gain.


George Russell has achieved top-five finishes in every race this season with another podium finish in Baku

My old boss, Wesley Tee, owner motoring newscould be…difficult, shall we say, on certain topics, and whenever there was disagreement over page numbers or content, he often resorted to a bit of bullshit that went something like, “Two men looked through the prison bars, one saw darkness, one saw stars.

And so one can look two ways at the fact that George Russell has often had the upper hand over his legendary team-mate, with generally better qualifying, twice as many podium finishes and 99 points to Lewis’ 62. By any standard that’s great going from George, but in my book that doesn’t mean the end of the road for Lewis nor, as some of the crueler scribes chose to suggest this week, that he’s “getting over it.”

Pedaling to metal, and the car at every conceivable angle, and a heart that never gave up? Isn’t that the kind of magic that captivates us all?

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Toto Wolff was as candid as ever over the weekend, noting that Lewis has happily taken on the role of testing different components and different setups, and while they are sometimes beneficial, Mercedes is currently in the situation where they are trying to make your car behave with the planted grace of a Red Bull or a Ferrari, and too often the experiments have led to dead ends or given only qualified results.

That’s racing. It looks like Lewis’s car underperformed George’s last weekend, but you can’t contradict the commitment and determination of either man.


Nigel Mansell at the wheel of the recalcitrant Lotus 93T in 1983

Their struggles have reminded me of Nigel Mansell’s battle with the first turbo-engined Lotus, the 93T, in the Race of Champions in 1983. That was one of the most horrible-handling F1 cars I’ve ever witnessed, and the progress of Nige with him. down the pit lane and into Paddock Bend was the automotive equivalent of alligator wrestling.

But like George and Lewis on Sunday afternoon, he never gave up. It’s that champion thing, and it always bothers me when people look down on those who have it.

It is in the midst of such challenges that you see the true colors of a runner. Remember how Gilles Villeneuve used to squeeze speed out of the turbocharged Ferrari 126C2 in 1981. Pedaling to the floor, and the car at every conceivable angle, and a heart that never gave up? Isn’t that the kind of magic that captivates us all?

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Gilles Villeneuve at the wheel of the Ferrari 126 in 1981: a show of heart and determination

I remember years ago one of Jackie Stewart’s Paul Stewart Racing F3000 drivers dropped out of a race at Spa because the car was unwieldy. Jackie doesn’t often resort to harsh language, but I can still hear his exasperated response loud and clear: “***** ******! I had to drive the BRM H16!”

I’d say Lewis’ third fastest lap on Sunday (1m47.044s, Sergio Perez’s 1m46.046s and Max Verstappen’s 1m46.050s, and George’s 1m47.177s) is a strong enough indication that Lewis hasn’t given up or he has lost his ability to drive fast, and his overtaking en route to fourth was his usual patient and clinically well executed job. What had not been seen until now was the great determination that kept him going until the bitter end.

I would call that the drive of a champion.