Hamilton blames media for ‘angry’ F1 fans

Sun, 29 June 2008, 04:35

Lewis Hamilton admits he is worried about the negative media reports that are being written about him.

The McLaren driver has made a couple of on-track mistakes of late, but he has taken issue with the way journalists – who generally praised him so highly a year ago – have reported his less impressive second season on the F1 grid.

“Whatever has been said in the papers — I just hope that they aren’t throwing vegetables at me because of what’s happened in the last few races,” he said in Britain’s Sunday Times, whilst contemplating a sell-out crowd for his home British grand prix at Silverstone next week.

“For sure they’re going to be disappointed about the last couple of races, just as the team are, but there’s no need to be angry — and I’m sure some of the things that are said in the papers do make them angry,” Hamilton, 23 added.

“I’m on form, I’m not driving into walls. The reason I’m so quick is because I’m pushing my car, and the car is great, the team’s doing a good job, and I think I’m extracting a lot from it. That’s all I can do,” he said.

Hamilton was penalised twice for driving infractions by FIA stewards at the last two grands prix, in which he failed to score any championship points.

Martin Brundle, the astute British F1 pundit who formerly raced for McLaren amongst other teams, wrote in his newspaper column on Sunday that Hamilton is “misguided” in “waging a war with the media”.

“That’s a battle he will lose horribly,” the 49-year-old predicts.

“(The press) will work with you, but it’s reciprocal, and they are better friends than enemies. An angry driver will always drive like Lewis did in Magny-Cours; overaggressively bouncing off the kerbs and sliding around grabbing half-chances to overtake,” Brundle said.

Veteran F1 racer David Coulthard, to the Daily Telegraph, said: “Lewis has got to be careful because it’s never going to be plain sailing.”

It could also be argued that Hamilton has invited criticism by his recent off-track exploits; like nervously introducing an act at the huge Nelson Mandela concert on Friday.

The press also poked fun this weekend when he was involved in yet “another crash” during a celebrity appearance on a racing yacht, and on Tuesday in Amsterdam he will be unveiled as the new multi-millionaire ‘face’ of the sports brand Reebok.

The notorious British garbage tabloid News of the World, meanwhile, on Sunday quoted Miss World contestant Vivian Burkhardt as slamming Hamilton for dumping her — the direct result of his publicly dating her at the Cannes Film Festival before publicly switching to his current Pussycat Dolls pop-singing girlfriend at Monaco mere days later.

“Mega-stardom needs to be put on hold for now, with total focus on this critical and busy mid-season phase,” Brundle advises.

Coulthard insists he doesn’t dislike Hamilton, as has been suggested in some reports, but he does think his countryman’s press coverage at present is the product of his current lifestyle.

“If you put yourself out there, there are going to be observations of where you’re going, what you’re doing,” the 37-year-old Scot told the Daily Telegraph.

Coulthard said: “If you look at a Mika or Kimi, they get very private and didn’t or don’t do a good deal. They are low-profile guys. Kimi is not off doing book signings or celebrity parties.”

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