Latest posts by Charlie Widdicombe (see all)
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BBC Sport recently posted an article in which retired F1 world champion Jenson Button said that he found Lewis Hamilton “a bit weird” as a team mate, and that “The rivalry was real… but there wasn’t a great deal of banter.” However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hamilton is not in the business to make friends-he’s worked tirelessly since the age of 8 to get into F1, and to be the best.
Look at some of the most successful drivers in history- not necessarily the ones with the most world championships, as that doesn’t always tell the full story, but the ones that are truly remembered as “greats” tend to have an incredibly ruthless, win-at-all-costs nature that can easily boil over into a feud. Prost and Senna, two of the greatest drivers in history, infamously came to blows in consecutive years, taking each other out at Suzuka in 1989 and 1990 which sealed the title for Prost and Senna respectively. Alonso, a two-time champion that has been incredibly unlucky not to have more, purposely stalled in the pits to prevent then team-mate Hamilton from setting a lap for pole in Hungary 2007. Hamilton himself lied to the stewards in Australia 2009 in order to hold on to a podium position. Four-time champion Vettel turned into Hamilton at Baku this year in a wild moment of fury. And the most famous and successful of them all, Schumacher: taking out Hill and Villeneuve in 1994 and 1997, the latter unsuccessful and resulting in disqualification from that world championship. Not to mention his deliberate blocking attempt on Alonso at Monaco qualifying, 2006.
It’s no coincidence Hamilton has fallen out with teammates Alonso and Rosberg over world championships before: if the McLaren had been such a dominant car (like Mercedes) when Button and Hamilton were there, maybe a similar situation would have occurred. The only time there’s been a seemingly harmonious relationship between Lewis and his team-mate is when they haven’t posed a threat to a world chamionship, either through the car being too slow to challenge, or his team mate not being near the same level as him (Kovalainen and arguably Bottas). Jenson Button has been considered F1’s ‘Mr Nice Guy’, one who’s never appeared to have problems with team mates in his extensive career- which says plenty about Hamilton. In fairness, Button also said that Hamilton has “matured, become a bit of a statesman and a great representative of the sport”, but it was only a year ago that his public spat with Nico Rosberg was ongoing.
Hamilton is a natural winner, sitting pretty on the brink of a fourth world championship- it’s hardly likely that he’ll be bothered about what past team mates think about him, in the slightest. Sometimes the desire to win is so ingrained in drivers like Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton that everything else is no longer a priority-and often in these moments when drivers come to blows when Formula 1 is at its most exciting.