Several high-profile IndyCar drivers have fired back against F1’s Lewis Hamilton and his deriding comments toward the sport.
Lewis Hamilton has always been a splitting influence. His fans swear by his name, but others aren’t too keen with the decorated F1 driver’s celebrity-like attitude which he oozes both on the track and off. There’s no doubt that Hamilton is a highly skilled driver, but whether or not he’s always on the right side of his comments – that’s a bit tougher to discern.
In what will surely give both fans and haters much to chew over the next couple of days, Hamilton’s recent quip regarding Fernando Alonso’s performance in the Indy 500 has the wires buzzing. Hamilton shared his two cents on the nature of Alonso’s performance, while also taking a moment to offer his unique perspective on the sport as a whole. See if you can’t spot where things get dicey:
“I looked at the times and, frankly, for his first ever qualifying, for Fernando to be fifth – what does that say about Indy?
A great driver, if he cannot win in Formula 1, will look for other races to win. But to see him fifth against drivers who are [in the series] all year is… interesting.”
– Lewis Hamilton
Yes, it’s true that Hamilton stopped himself short of blatantly slandering the IndyCar name, but his “…interesting” comments don’t paint him in the most favorable light. It gives off the impression of a driver who’s enjoyed the “premier class” of automobile driving for so long that it’s seemingly gone to his head.
It’s no secret that Formula One has gone to great lengths to portray itself as the Michelin-Star restaurant equivalent of Motorsport entertainment, but its image may be on the turn-around to bite it back. Several high-profile IndyCar drivers have already issued responses to Hamilton’s statements: the likes of Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe:
“When I saw Lewis Hamilton’s comment… it took me everything I had in my body not to say something. Legitimately, in Formula 1, over his entire career, it’s been a two-car race, four max.
Here you have, like, Hinch(cliffe) who spins on Lap 1 [today]. You’re going, ‘He’s done.’ No, he had the pace, he had a great strategy, he made some moves. I think he went for a three-stopper, ran blacks, ran hard, had the speed to get through. Next thing you know he’s in third.”
– Graham Rahal
James Hinchliffe was quick to follow-up Rahal’s statements, hammering the point home that Hamilton has never had to race against more than a max of three cars out during his Grand Prixs:
“It’s funny hearing criticism about the depth of our field from someone who has to race three other cars, when we have seven winners in the first seven races. It shows how competitive this series is, the parity between the manufacturers, between teams, just how difficult it is to win one of these races.”
– James Hinchcliffe
While both drivers were eager to offer back punches of their own, they do strike true: Formula One has a massive power and performance discrepancy. So much so that it makes for a very fragmented form of race-viewing. When you’ve got the top of the pack, the midfield, and the backmarkers all fighting their independent battles with opponents of similar caliber, it doesn’t take long to feel as if one is watching three separate races.
Although Hamilton has yet to respond the IndyCar drivers and their statements, he would be wise to simply hold his tongue and move forward with his season versus Ferrari.