Is Hamilton up to the task?

by Ed Foster on 21st April 2008

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Many people have recently been doing the time-honoured British press ritual of slamming one of our sporting heroes when he puts a foot wrong. Lewis Hamilton had an absolute shocker in Bahrain; there is no arguing that, but does he really deserve the press he’s been getting?.

The fact that he had a bad race doesn’t mean that he is on the brink of a mental collapse. Yes, Kovalainen is going about his business and perhaps Hamilton didn’t think he would be quite so consistent, quite so quickly. Yes, the McLaren is suddenly not such a force to be reckoned with. But are we not forgetting that these drivers have spent the whole of their lives dealing with such situations?

As Massa showed in Bahrain, however much pressure is put onto their shoulders; most Formula 1 drivers have the mental and physical ability to block out all the nonsense and get on and do what they do best – driving fast.

Hamilton was never going to walk the 2008 Championship. That much was clear near the end of last year when the Ferraris got quicker and quicker. And indeed when the BMWs revealed their true pace in Australia. So why are we all so worried that Hamilton is 5 points behind at the moment? Taken out of context, for a man in his second Formula 1 season, that’s not bad.

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I can’t talk too much as I did also ask a few weeks ago whether Massa was up to the job. Of course, he went on to win the next race. But that has at least made me think – these guys spend their whole life training for this type of pressure. OK, Hamilton has a tendency to make bad situations worse when things start to go wrong but I definitely wouldn’t count him out yet.

I wouldn’t have thought that anyone at McLaren would be happy being shown up by both Ferrari and BMW and they’ll be doing everything in their power to gain an extra edge. As will Hamilton. Is Hamilton up to the task? I certainly think so. The season is just beginning.

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