So, I know this is a dodgy topic. Some won't agree with me, and others will. It's just in the nature of what this man has done to the fans recently. Yes, I'm now an ex-Lewis fan, but let's realise one thing: I have always been known to be the unbiased, and most fair, voice around. I will make this blog how I see the scenario, but be fair about it as well.
I first discovered Lewis Hamilton when he was in GP2, as I stumbled across a race a few hours before Felipe Massa would go on to achieve his first ever F1 victory. On lap 2, he spun out whilst at the front and ended up right at the back. What would happen next had me absolutely glued to the TV. Hamilton would then go on to pass everyone, except the race leader who was just that little bit too far out in front. Despite being at the back, Lewis tore through the field with unbelievable and extraordinary overtaking manouvres that made my jaw drop. In one race, I saw a star flying. Stunned at what I witnessed, I went on the internet to try and find some other races he'd done, and it wasn't a one-off. I could see it instantly, this kid was gonna be great when he entered Formula One. He went on to win the GP2 title the same year.
One December morning, my Mum shouted from the bottom of the stairs and said "Have you heard? There's a new British driver at McLaren with Alonso!". I replied "Is he called Lewis Hamilton?", and my Mum said "yes, you know about him?". I told her then and there: "Fantastic, because he's gonna be fighting for the title come the final race".
Final race, and he has a four-point lead over Alonso and seven over Raikkonen. Granted, he didn't take the title, but a nation took notice. The Formula One fanbase grew rapidly. He'd just lost the championship, but Lewis was so grown up when he spoke after the race. Instead of bemoaning the fact he lost the title, he was ecstatic because he'd finished second his his first ever season of F1. That was truly a great moment for me, even though I was feeling down because he'd lost it.
And then everyone started asking those questions to me. "If Lewis can do that in his debut year, why has Button never been that good?". The frustration that grew inside me when I kept getting asked that was unbelievable. Hamilton, once picked up by McLaren, pretty much had everything he needed. All Lewis had to do was keep doing what he did best, and that's exactly what he did. Jenson had to do it by himself, with only his Dad for support.
As 2008 went on, again, I was happy that Lewis was heading to a title win, but more people became ever-more vocal about Button not being on Lewis' level. These are clearly the people that believed F1 started in 2007. Button already finished best of the rest behind the dominant Ferrari's in 2004, and had won a race in 2006 as well. People just didn't believe, as the first two years of Lewis' F1 career Jenson was in a backmarker car. In '08, Lewis did make the odd silly move, but it could still be put down to inexperience slightly - it was only his sophomore season, after all.
2009 rolled along, and Button's team all of a sudden became dominant, whilst McLaren dropped in to the midfield whilst it tried to gain ground again. But guess what? Everyone now claimed Button had lucked in to a winning car, which is why no one could stop him. Erm... didn't Rubens have the exact same car? Anyways, moving on...
2010 was an interesting one. Lewis was in the lead of the championship for 5 races of the season, but when Webber took it back eventually, Lewis ended up retiring from three out of four races. One of those was out of his hands entirely being a mechanical failure, but the other two was one silly move trying to go up a gap which wasn't there against Massa, and the other an unfortunate racing incident with Webber. He then ran wide and crashed out during free practice in Japan, making him involved in a crash in three consecutive weekends. It was signs of frustration, but Lewis calmed it down and got his mindset back.
And now in 2011, that frustration has come back. In a manner totally unlike Lewis, however, he's let it get to him, and I really don't know why. Vettel has won five of the first seven races, yes, and is already 60 points clear in the championship. That would mean Jenson would have to win the next three races with Vettel no-scoring in two of them and only being 4th in the third before Button would take the lead of the title race - and even then, it'd only be by two points. But in recent races, I've become concerned about Lewis.
What was an excellent overtaker, he's become a lot more reckless recently. Yet, he can still have his moments of brilliance, too - his move on Schumacher in Monaco was something else, it truly was. Easily best overtake of the year so far. It seems Lewis' head isn't in the right place currently. His move on Massa? Clumsy. His move on Maldonado? Clumsier. And him blaming those two for the accidents? Silly. Brundle was spot-on, it's always someone else's fault according to Lewis.
And it wasn't just held back to Monaco. Just the week prior, Lewis claimed it was Schumi, then the Toro Rosso's fault that Hamilton couldn't beat Vettel in Spain. Sorry Lewis, you did good, really good, but Vettel just had the defending perfect.
The real low blow, and what made me lose my respect for Hamilton, was his Ali G comment. Whether joking or not, it was totally unacceptable, unnecessary and downright disrespectful. Lewis needs to remember a lot of people, including children, started following F1 when he came along, and he is a role model to these. And to come out with comments like that... just, wow.
Two weeks on, he'd written letters of apology to a few people, apologised on Twitter and spoke to Massa and Maldonado personally to apologise (of course, none of this would've needed to happen if he just kept his mentality in check after the race), and he was at Canada. We know what Lewis does after a bad weekend, he bounces back up and pretty much annihalates everyone. Instead, he pulls a move on Webber that only a rookie could really get away with, and then gets involved in a racing incident with Button which could've been easily avoided had he gone right, instead of left, which is where Jenson went to take the racing line. His mind really isn't in it yet, and if he really wants to challenge Vettel, he needs to get back in to the groove which makes him the real Lewis Hamilton. Because right now, he's not himself.
And through all this time, there's people that still believe Lewis is on another level to Button, even despite the fact Jenson just took not only his best win of his career, but one of the greatest victories in F1 history. One of the best EVER wins. Problem is, you can't compare the two until their time with each other at McLaren. Lewis has always had a race-winning car, and Jenson had to work his way up. Here's the stats of their time at McLaren:
WINS:Hamilton 4, Button 3
PODIUMS:Hamilton 12, Button 11
POINTS: Hamilton 325, Button 315
QUALI: Hamilton 19, Button 7
RETIREMENTS: Hamilton 5, Button 2 (Driver Errors: Hamilton 3, Button 0)
Yes, Lewis is beating Jenson. But only just. One more win, one more podium, and only 10 points more than Jenson. The only stat that goes in his favour well is qualifying - validating the point that Lewis can be the out-and-out faster of the two. But take in to consideration the retirements which I've thrown in there, as well. Only two of the five retirements for Lewis were out of his hands, the other three were his clash with Massa, the 50/50 with Webber, and the incident with Button. Neither of Jenson's retirements have been his fault though - a bung left in the car by a mechanic, and Vettel slamming in to the side of him. It goes to validate Jenson's stronger mentality when in a race compared to Lewis. It's one thing being faster as Lewis is, but look at what Jenson's calm mentality has brought him - only slightly worse stats against his teammate. It kinda proves if Lewis gets his mindset back on track, and calms it on the track, maybe he could actually start leaving Jenson behind as so many people claimed he would do. It's not out the realms of possibility, and if Lewis wants to win this title, he needs to look at where he is, become his true self again, and get back on it.