Hamilton to face scrutiny over driving

Lewis Hamilton will face fresh scrutiny from his rivals in Friday's drivers' briefing in China about his on-track behaviour, although fellow racers deny they are ganging up on the world championship leader

Hamilton to face scrutiny over driving

Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) director Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli have both said they will raise Hamilton's conduct with F1 race director Charlie Whiting when they gather for their meeting on Friday evening.

But amid an increased focus on Hamilton's driving etiquette following a controversial Japanese Grand Prix, both deny there is any specific campaign against the Briton.

Trulli is upset about the way Hamilton behaved when the Italian tried to lap him during the Fuji race - claiming he lost valuable seconds that cost him the chance of beating Nelson Piquet's Renault for fourth place.

"I am definitely unhappy," Trulli told autosport.com about his views on Hamilton's driving in Japan. "I was leading the race, he was lapped and for two laps he held me up. This cost me 1.5 seconds, which if we are going to put it back on my second pitstop could have given me the chance to stay ahead of Renault after the stop.

"I am not saying I would have finished in front, but sometimes thing like this can change a lot. Lewis did not even watch the mirrors because he came back on the track right in front of me and he held me up for two laps. And probably he should have paid more attention because he was more or less out of the race. He was dead last and I don't understand why."

Webber has said he wants to raise with Whiting the way that Hamilton approached the first corner in Fuji - even though the Briton was already handed a drive-through penalty for forcing Kimi Raikkonen off the track.

"The braking areas is an issue because you cannot move around in the braking areas like that," said Webber. "We lost a marshal at Monza (in 2000) when there were guys moving around in the braking areas and it is very hard to change your line if you don't know what is going to come. That is the only thing that we need to look at."

Despite their feelings about aspects of Hamilton's driving, both drivers denied that rivals were picking on the Briton amid his challenge for the world championship.

Trulli said: "I don't comment on Lewis' driving because honestly I can comment only on what happened to me. In the end I don't want to get involved in any speculation or discussions. He has done some good things and some bad things, as has every driver. It is difficult to judge.

"I would feel it is unfair to talk about him. It is better to discuss it with him and tell him, as I will do tomorrow.

"I will go in the drivers' briefing and I will say to Charlie, this is what happened and I believe Lewis could have handled it in a different way because it was not fair. But I am not going against anyone.

"I am not the kind of person who, if I don't get on with them, I make it a war of words. I just want an easy life without fighting; I just want to make the sport fair for everyone. I don't care if you are driving a top team car or the last car, I expect everyone to be treated the same."

Webber conceded that there were times when Hamilton's driving had caused him concern but said that such a situation was no different from how he felt about other drivers.

"He is a phenomenal talent," explained Webber. "Everyone has got strengths and weaknesses, and I haven't seen what he did with Jarno in terms of backmarkers.

"Monza was a tough race for him in terms of what he did to me, what he did to (Timo) Glock at the Curva Grande, what he did to Fernando, so in his eyes it is fine.

"And he didn't get a penalty in Monza, so he didn't do anything wrong in Monza in anyone's eyes, so that was fine. But his respected colleagues are sometimes saying, 'mate it doesn't need to be like that all the time'."

Webber added: "The first corner in Fuji was pretty wild. He was having a crack but if someone was sitting on his right rear when he pulled out there then that was a crash.

"There was also no way he was going to make the first corner. But that is not illegal to outbrake yourself. We want to have a bit of a chat about moving around in the braking areas. I am not smashing Hamilton but it is about how you move on. Tiger Woods learns. Roger Federer learns. And Lewis is going through that."

When asked by autosport.com if there were similarities between how rivals viewed Hamilton and how they often focused on Michael Schumacher's driving tactics, Webber said: "Yeah, could be.

"I think he is always going to be under the spotlight, that is the problem with Lewis. He is always under this light, which he would not necessarily want - he just wants to win his first world title. Being under this spotlight for various other reasons - whether they are the politics of the sport, his skin, or whatever it is I don't know.

"I think there have been a few occasions where he has learned. Michael was doing this stuff when he had all this experience under his belt, Lewis is still in only his second year of F1. You go back to Fuji last year in terms of how he handled the safety car, it was ridiculous."

Jenson Button also denied that drivers were specifically targeting Hamilton - and reckoned Fernando Alonso's claims he wants to see Felipe Massa win the title were just a bit of fun.

"If somebody has a problem with someone then they voice their opinion, but no one has targeted another driver," said Button. "There's never any arguments between drivers. There's never really any bad banter.

"Alonso is only saying what he has said because he just wants a reaction from everyone. He is not in the championship, so he just wants a bit of action. It's quite comical really."

shares
comments
Grapevine: Straw Poll: Thursday at Shanghai

Previous article

Grapevine: Straw Poll: Thursday at Shanghai

Next article

Hamilton leads first session in China

Hamilton leads first session in China
Load comments
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021