2 June 2011
Coulthard: Don't knock Hamilton for being honest
“As for whether F1 has any institutionalised racism, let's not even go there. Teams and drivers come from every walk of life. The FIA is a world governing body, not a bunch of rich, white men. The stewards change race-by-race and come from all sorts of countries and backgrounds.
“What Lewis said about his fellow drivers was less forgivable. By criticising them so openly, his popularity among his peers will inevitably decline – but again, he was angry and frustrated and he gave an honest answer. I said in my race commentary that McLaren should be applauded for allowing their drivers that privilege.
“Whether I feel he was at fault for the two incidents for which he was punished during the race – and I do – is neither here nor there. The drivers have repeatedly, consistently, asked for such race incidents to be punished, and the stewards must be allowed to apply the law as they see fit. If it looks like that might curb the drivers' enthusiasm to race wheel-to-wheel, then that is something they and the governing body need to look at together.
“Lewis may be hauled over the coals for giving his opinion, but at least he was honest. When he gave that interview, he had seen the race only through the prism of his race helmet. He had not seen replays, like the stewards or the fans at home had. Maybe having seen replays, he will change his mind and apologise to Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado.
“I know Martin Brundle said afterwards that Lewis tends to blame others for his mistakes, and I would agree with that. It is a part of his make-up that he could address, but I don't want to lecture him – he will learn in time. It is a cliché, but Lewis has grown up in a goldfish bowl.
“Remember when Jenson Button bought a yacht before he had won a race, and everyone called him a Big-Time Charlie? Now, having been through the low – and even lower – of his early career, he has bounced back superbly as a modern-day racing hero and all-round good guy.
“In any case, Lewis is not there to win any popularity contests. He is there to win races and, let's face it, he is a brilliant, attacking, aggressive driver – the kind of driver who gets bums out of seats, the kind of driver that we, as fans and media, are crying out for – so let's not be too hard on him when he makes an honest mistake.”
Monaco Grand Prix
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