Formula 1 World Champion-elect Lewis Hamilton has finally responded to some of the attacks launched on him by his rivals in-between the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix, describing former team-mate Fernando Alonso as 'a double world champion who got beaten by a rookie' and insisting he doesn't have time to play poker with other drivers because he is at the circuit 'to race'.
The McLaren-Mercedes star found himself the subject of a whole barrage of criticism in the wake of his 'aggressive' driving as he fought his way up through the order in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and his calamitous first corner error at Fuji, but he responded in magnificent fashion by consummately defeating both Ferraris to triumph in the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend – in so doing marking himself out as the overwhelming favourite to prevail in the F1 World Championship at Interlagos in a fortnight's time.
Having done his talking on the track in Shanghai, Hamilton has now fought back away from the circuit too, beginning with Alonso, who only last week vowed to 'help' Felipe Massa to beat the Briton to the drivers' laurels should the opportunity present itself [see separate story – click here
“He was a double world champion who came to the team and got beaten by a rookie,” the 23-year-old is quoted by F1SA
as having fired back. “That says it all.
“When someone has been winning, then another driver comes in and takes over, they are not going to be happy about it.”
Hamilton also sought to underline that he does not allow himself to get drawn into mind games and suggested his unpopularity amongst his competitors is due to his success, whilst claiming that he does not join such as Alonso and BMW-Sauber ace Robert Kubica in playing poker at grand prix weekends because he has more serious matters on his mind.
“I don't play poker,” he asserted. “Some drivers get together; I'm here to race.
“It (his unpopularity amongst other drivers) is because I'm winning. When you are a winner, when you are doing well, that is the game. I don't believe in (mind games). There is no need to, because we can do the job.”