Former world champion Lewis Hamilton needs to rein in his 'aggressive driving' and 'calm down a bit' if he is to successfully challenge for a second title at the highest level this year – that is the opinion of Joan Villadelprat, whose Epsilon Euskadi operation is bidding for an F1 entry in 2011.
The McLaren-Mercedes star has wowed his fans and infuriated his rivals in equal measure thus far in F1 2010, coming close to banging wheels with Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel on several occasions in the Chinese Grand Prix, and causing Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello to remark that had he been in the place of Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov in Malaysia – where Hamilton was vilified for weaving across the track in an effort to keep the feisty young Russian behind him – he would have given the Briton 'some bollocking' [see separate story – click here
Then, on the penultimate lap of last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, the 25-year-old lost second place to a wheel rim failure and consequent puncture and tyre blow-out – and the man himself has previously acknowledged that he has suffered more tyre failures since making his debut in F1in 2007 'than most people have in their whole lifetime'. Villadelprat suggests it might not be entirely coincidental.
“Lewis Hamilton needs to calm down a bit to get the most out of his potential,” the erstwhile Benetton, Ferrari, McLaren, Tyrrell and Prost man wrote in his regular column for Spanish newspaper El Pais
. “For me, he is one of the top three drivers in Formula 1, on the level of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
“I'm not saying what was the cause of his problem on Sunday, but his history has shown that as a result of aggressive driving, he is one of the drivers who most consumes his tyres – and now that the tyres must withstand runs in excess of 50 laps, that can cause many problems.”
Whilst Hamilton has yet to triumph in 2010 and sits sixth in the drivers' standings heading to Monaco this weekend, his team-mate, compatriot and title-winning successor Jenson Button has twice mounted the top step of the rostrum – in Australia and China – and heads the pack arriving in the Principality courtesy of what has arguably been a more measured and analytical approach.