Surtees and Warwick weigh in on Hamilton debate

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Lewis Hamilton’s behavior and comments across the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend have certainly ruffled a few feathers, with John Surtees and Derek Warwick becoming the latest figures to condemn his actions.

Hamilton was left fuming after losing pole position to teammate Nico Rosberg under controversial circumstances. Whilst on provisional pole, Rosberg made a mistake on his final flying lap, taking to the slip road at Mirabeau after locking up.

However, this brought out the yellow flags, and meant that none of the drivers behind him – including Hamilton – could improve their time.

Rosberg denied doing it deliberately, and despite the stewards agreeing with him after an investigation, Hamilton seemed sure that it was an intentional move to deny him pole position. He went on to finish the race in second place behind Rosberg, but did not congratulate the German on the podium.

Derek Warwick was the lead FIA driver steward in Monaco, and told British newspaper the Daily Mail that Hamilton should “man up” and accept the decision his team made.

“I understand that Lewis was upset,” Warwick said. “Possibly he would have gone faster than Nico on that lap. Arguably the incident cost him the grand prix.

“I don’t want to give him advice really. He has won umpteen races and a world championship, but if I were to say anything, it would be to man up and concentrate on the next race in Canada.

“We had all Mercedes’s data, including Lewis’s data to overlay on Nico’s. We had the FIA data. We had onboard shots, overhead shots, circuit shots. We had throttle traces, braking traces, everything we needed to make, hopefully, the right decision.”

John Surtees concurred with Warwick, saying that Hamilton’s behavior in the wake of the defeat was disappointing.

“I have no doubt about Lewis Hamilton’s driving ability, but I didn’t like what I saw and heard from Monaco,” the 1964 world champion wrote in his column for Motor Sport Magazine. “I can understand the frustration that Lewis must have felt in not having that opportunity on the last lap of qualifying to get pole.

“But I think his reaction to his teammate and team was wrong.”

General consensus in the paddock is that Rosberg’s error was exactly that – an error – and that Hamilton’s frosty reaction was a little uncalled for. However, in the bid to win a second world title, the Briton is clearly pushing as hard as possible.

It will be interesting to see how the intra-team relationship has changed by the time of the next race in Canada, but judging by the fall-out in Monaco, we could be set for a spectacular battle at Mercedes in 2014.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.