Under-fire McLaren-Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton has found another ally in the defence of his uncompromising driving style in F1 2011 – with his father Anthony arguing that 'he's always driven like that, and he became F1 World Champion with it' and that he doesn't see 'anything wrong with it at all'.
Hamilton has come in for a barrage of criticism in the wake of collisions with no fewer than four of his rivals in the last two grands prix – Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado in Monaco, and Mark Webber and his own McLaren team-mate Jenson Button in Canada – as well as a series of run-ins with FIA stewards over his on-track conduct, for which he has remained largely unrepentant and insistent he was not at fault.
Former triple F1 World Champion Niki Lauda has warned that the British ace is 'completely mad' and that his on-track aggression 'will result in someone getting killed' [see separate story – click here
], but the man himself is adamant that 'I will never stop racing the way I do' [see separate story – click here
]. He has found support in the shape of BBC F1
commentator David Coulthard and the sport's influential commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone – and now, also, his own father.
“The FIA didn't agree with [Lauda's view], and really it's a shame that somebody as experienced as Niki didn't take time to actually wait for the FIA to make their judgement,” stressed Anthony, urging the 2008 F1 World Champion not to abandon the driving style that has brought him so much success throughout his career to-date. “At the end of the day, it's motor racing and you've only got split-seconds to make decisions. For right or wrong, you make a decision and go with it.
“If we could all foresee the future, you'd do things differently, but personally I think Lewis needs to remain the person that he is, drive as he's driving and it will all come good. It's important everybody remains who they are. There is no point in trying to be someone you are not. He's always driven like that, and he became F1 World Champion with it. He will be like that for the rest of his career. I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all.”
Hamilton has fallen from second to fourth in the title standings following his bruising encounters in Monte Carlo and Montreal, now lying a gaping 76 points adrift of runaway F1 2011 World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel – or to put it another way, more than three race victories. With twelve grands prix left to run, however – beginning in Valencia this weekend – Anthony is confident his son can bounce back to once more do battle for glory.
“If I were you, I would go and put a bet on Lewis winning the world championship this year,” he asserted. “You'll get some great odds, and you might win a load of money!”
To watch the video of Anthony Hamilton's interview, click here