For better or worse, the talk on Monday has been centered on the dust-up between Ferrari's Felipe Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. To be honest, I think it's been way overplayed. Perhaps that has more to do with the actual race being rather pedestrian in nature and the talking point being the mean stares and words of two frustrated drivers. Surely the news of Paul Di Resta's best outing this year or the impeccable drive of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is more interesting? Unfortunately I guess it's not.
The short of it is this. Hamilton ran into the back of Massa and it was a mistake. Hamilton is frustrated, was frustrated and now even more frustrated after the race. It was a mistake and while John Watson pointed out that a champion like Schumacher should have anticipated the situation better with Perez, I'd argue the same for Hamilton as well.
Guess what? Neither driver anticipated it very well and caused incidents. That happens in racing. They are called racing incidents. Even McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh acknowledges that via Reuters:
"The truth is there are plenty of people who have spoken to me already who have a different view," Whitmarsh said of the manoeuvre.
"I think you have to take some risk in overtaking. And he (Hamilton) is a driver who wants to overtake in a hurry. Now, after the event he'll regret that and wish he'd backed out of it and waited for another three corners or whatever.
"The fact is, it happened. It was right or wrong. After that he drove an immaculate race and he shouldn't have had to have the penalty or his front wing knocked off.
"He shouldn't have lost places at the start. In sport and life things go well and go badly for you, I think it went badly."
So let's move on. The unfortunate issue for me is the result-based penalties. Although there were more drive-through penalties in Singapore for altercations than normally seen at other circuits, I think basing them on the outcome is a reality that we're going to have to live with going forward.
It all comes down to consistency in the end and that's the one thing we haven't seen in F1 in this context for some time if ever. While I think Lewis Hamilton's incident is being blown way out of proportion, I also know that the notion of the FIA having it out for Lewis and the stewards always picking on him (black or not) is also a construct as well.
Has he been called to the office more than other drivers? Of course he has...he's been in more altercations this year so it's logical. It's the same logic that would see Hamilton involved in more steward meetings because he hit more people because of the simple fact that he's making more passing maneuvers on track than other drivers too.
Simple math would say your chance of hitting someone else increases when the amount of overtaking increases. A driver who never tries to pass versus a driver who always tries to pass will have a different attendance record at the FIA office of shame.
So let's stop with the allegations of the racist motivations of the FIA, the "Hamilton sucks and is hitting everyone" comments and the otherwise armchair psychological examination of a young man who has had a challenging entrance into the world's most political and expensive form of motor sport.
I've seen this coming from the day he entered in F1 and to be honest, his father and McLaren mismanaged the career in my opinion. I am not suggesting that the outcome would have been any different if they would have followed my advice because fate has a way of unraveling itself with or without your assistance.
What I am saying is that if Lewis wants to be serious about his career, he needs to dump the trappings of fame and get back to the core of who he is as a man. He slid into manhood behind the wheel of a car and a desire to please his father. He was awarded with money, fame and a curvaceous girlfriend from Hollywood. He's being told he's the best that has ever been and ever will be and he believes(ed) it and I have news for him...at this point he couldn't' carry the helmet bag of the best F1 has ever seen.
Lewis has one title and several wins. You know how many F1 drivers can say the same? A man most fans don't mention anymore has 20 wins and two world titles--Mikka Hakkinen can boast far more F1 success than Hamilton and while time is on Hamilton's side, it won't be unless he de-colonizes his head and starts to look at life in its available light.
What do they mean when they say they wouldn't want Lewis to change? He's an aggressive driver and we want him to stay that way? What they mean is they like the way he drives and his approach to racing. I do too! Unfortunately F1 has lost its ability to see drivers like Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna and other aggressive drivers as a positive impact on the sport. You can't argue safety because that's the grand equalizer of counter-arguments.
What was the talking point in Monza? Schumacher versus Hamilton and I loved every minute of it. Two aggressive drivers fighting for position. It was hailed as the height of stupidity and danger and many called for some sanction against Schumacher. It depends on which camp you fit I suppose.
No one wants anyone to be hurt due to careless or too-aggressive driving but most fans love a scrap and there is a fine line at 200mph. Lewis is in trouble more because he takes more chances. Schumacher did the same. Senna did the same. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber can be that way from time to time. I just depends on what you like in F1.
As for Hamilton? Let's get off the guy's back. He made a mistake, like every other champion and current driver, and he shouldn't have been penalized for it. It happens in racing. Yes I understand that he's been hitting everyone this year but he's been trying to pass everyone too so that increased percentage is only logical. Yeah Todd, but "he needs to make a more calculated chance instead of diving into every corner and expecting people to give him room"! Yes, that would help and he's been too eager at several points in the year but this is a man who has only known one thing in his career--being at the front and when he's not, he's struggling to make that happen with some brilliant and not-so-brilliant moves.
That's just one opinion and others will say; "hey screwball! This isn't NASCAR so quit telling me to get off of Hamilton's case...he needs to chill the *#%@ out". Fair enough...I guess we'll just agree to disagree. In the meantime, just know that both sides of the Hamilton argument are wrong...he's a little more complicated than to be reduced by fanboi angst or detractor invective. He's a human, just like all of you...a human who can drive the heck out of a car and likes to be at the front. Sometimes his desire to be there clouds his judgment on getting there (if I had a dime every time I did that I'd be running a F1 blog...oh, wait).