How 2 former F1 champions see Lewis Hamilton in 2008

Lewis Hamilton and dadIt is funny how different views can 2 former Formula 1 champions have. This is what today’s news brought.

Sir Jackie Stewart for The Herald

“It’s not unusual for a new driver like Lewis to struggle a bit in the second season. He is no longer an unknown quantity. He is in the position where people are expecting him to win every race he starts.

It’s a curious thing: Lewis will think he can nail this year’s championship, because he came so close last time around, but that can make you push too hard, and, before you know it, little things can start going wrong which make the difference.

A lot of factors have changed this season and Kovalainen’s arrival at McLaren could mean that the shoe is on the other foot. Suddenly, here is another bright-eyed, bushy-tailed contender and, if Heikki makes a good start in the first few races, the publicity and press attention might revolve round him.”

He is not exactly writing Hamilton off, but it looks like Stewart has his doubts about Hamilton’s mental strength. The way Hamilton let the 2007 title slip away after mistakes in Shanghai and Brazil may suggest Stewart may have a case.

Now Alain Prost for Autosprint:

“This year electronic aids will disappear so life will get harder for the drivers. But I’m convinced of one thing: contrary to what could be thought, Hamilton will draw an advantage from this change, and you know why? Because he’s phenomenal. Last year he did something exceptional, but not so much for his performances, which were fantastic anyway. He was twice exceptional at a psychological level: first in the way he put up with the pressure of his debut, and then for the way he put up with the ever-increasing pressure for a season that went on until the last GP and with all the mess that had happened.

Can you imagine? A rookie that resisted until the last race before giving up. And after all, let me tell you one thing: before starting winning championships, I lost some too, if you can remember that. But then, when I started…

Hamilton must not be complacent, as Kovalainen will certainly be a very tough cookie. With regards to the championship, the Finn looks definitely dangerous.”

Quite a different opinion …

One thing however both these guys have in common. They both regard Heikki Kovalainen as a serious contender. Not bad for a guy who was allegedly only McLaren’s 3rd choice after Rosberg and Vettel …

9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. F1 BettingNo Gravatar says:

    I can’t agree with Stewart that one of Hamilton’s weaknesses is his mental strength. From what I’ve seen and heard of him in interviews, his mental toughness is one of his biggest strengths and marks him alongside the likes of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer as a top performer in his field because of it. I know he let a lead slip at the end of last season but I don’t think that was down to a lack of mental toughness, just a touch of inexperience.

  2. StewNo Gravatar says:

    I think they both have good points. Jackie Stewart talks about mistakes, but those can happen to anyone. He does say that he was an unknown quantity and just like any other good rookie, the field needs to get to know his ins and outs. After last season, data on Lewis has piled up and drivers are now very familiar with him.

    On the other hand, phenoms do come along now and then and if he is to be one, we will know this year and then he will always be tough. Jury is still out on that though.

    Prost says he is phenomenal. Lewis had a great year in a great car and had a phenomenal year, but I don’t think he has been around long enough to be called phenomenal yet.

    I really can’t say how he will do with out driving aids. So far in testing it hasn’t seemed to bother him all that much.

    It is interesting to read comments like these from former great racers.

  3. RichNo Gravatar says:

    i thik im with jackie 100%

  4. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    I think it depends how you classify Hamilton’s mistakes in China and Brazil. Did he crack under the pressure or was he way too confident ?

    In China it was quite obvious he was overconfident. He was driving to win the race and perhaps underestimating the threat coming from the slippery conditions. He lost big chunk of his points lead and that might have lead to the mistake or call it way to eager race start in Brazil …

  5. BenNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting points both. I agree that Hamiltons main weakness is due to inexperience and overconfidence and not cracking under pressure. I think Hamilton can handle the pressure, but I think there there might be a point in that Hamilton does not have the mental maturity yet as he has not experienced enough adversity yet.

    Kovaleinen is a very tough racer as well, and I think equally talented with Hamilton, if he gets as much backing as Hamilton I think he could beat him and challenge for the title. I think Hamilton will win the battle though

  6. Dr. DNo Gravatar says:

    Jackie Stewart had a single victory in his rookie season, finished 3rd overall 21 points behind Jim Clark and 7 points behind Graham Hill. Since Lewis Hamilton didn’t have electronic aids in the previous series he graduated from ASM Formula 3 winning 15 of 20 races in 2005 and in 2006 he won the GP2 championship in his rookie season. There were two crucial mechnical failures that caused him to come in second in the 2007 F1 championship, 1st the worn tires in China that put him in the gravel (his crew should have called him in several laps earlier) and 2nd the supposed electrical failure that put him back to 18th place in Brazil. Had there been another 15 minutes of racing he would have passed into 6th position and took the championship by one point instead of placing second. Also, dealing with his so-called team mates attempts to crash him out of several races including Brazil didn’t help. Heikki Kovalainen will hopefully be a better teammate than HERnando Alonso. In the years to come all doubts and speculation will be laid to rest when Lewis Hamilton’s championships continue to unfold even surpassing Michael Schumachers 7 championships, so Jackie Stewart’s record or opinion won’t matter much.

  7. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    @Dr D
    The team has its part in the blame for the tyre failure in Shanghai. But it was the agressive going after the win race style that “helped” the tyre to deteriorate. He did not have to race that hard, he did not need the race win to bag the title. Some people love him for this racing attitude, some people feel it was a rookie mistake to race that way

    In Brazil it was some kind failure that dropped him deep back down the grid, but rewind a bit further, after the race start, where he decided to fight it with Alonso. Both McLaren cars could have gone out of race …

  8. RichNo Gravatar says:

    in the end of the day it is lewis’ fault for not winning the championship. Dr.D sais lewis had 2 mechanical faliures, yet his car didnt break once. just his driving screwed him. now kimi on the other hand has 2 mechanical faliures. 1 was hydraulics and the other was just the engine i believe. the only time kimi made a mistake this year was in monaco quali when he cliped the wall and broke he suspension

  9. megadudeNo Gravatar says:

    he’s the 2008 f1 champion…..PERIOD!!!!

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