Lewis Hamilton finished second in the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend; no doubt a commendable sporting achievement. Yet what really sparked the weekend's excitement was his rivalry with Mercedes teammate, and eventual winner, Nico Rosberg. On the podium, Lewis stood next to Nico, albeit on a lower platform, with a face as glum as an actor's: having been pipped to an academy award in favour of Charlie sheen. Lewis then went on to spray champagne over his engineering support team with all the excitement of an anemic sloth. He then slunk into the background and out of sight.
Sky Sports pundits reveled in how the narrative unfolded on the Cote D'Azur. They immediately started to position the Hamilton-Rosberg relationship among adversarial greats, like Senna-Prost. Not being a Formula 1 aficionado, I feel ill equipped to comment on that. However, as a human being of the universe, I am capable of calling Lewis Hamilton up on charges of being a petulant and sour, spoilt sportsman.
We are talking about a man who signed the largest sporting package ever afforded to anyone in his profession; £60 million pounds over the coming years. It is worth noting too, that Mr. Hamilton actually lives in Monaco, a renowned tax haven and is therefore unlikely to contribute any of his earnings to native Britain. It is also worth noting he has Nicole Scherzinger, one of the world's most aesthetically pleasing creations, doting on his every move.
We aren't asking the world of athletes. In actual fact, the bar for them is set significantly lower than that of regular society. We accept how their brash ruthlessness often manifests in behaviour teetering on bad taste, especially in individual sports.
Inevitably they let themselves down, through cheating on their wives, rushes of blood to the head in their respected sporting arenas or downright childishness as in the case of Lewis Hamilton. I am reminded of Ashley Cole's acrimonious departure from Arsenal football club, the reason being his outrage at only being offered £50,000 per week. How do we know this? Because Cole committed the ultimate act of treacherous deceit; he wrote about these private dealings in his autobiography.
Perhaps F1 drivers don't quite have the exposure of elite footballers, though that should never detract from their duty to set an example.
Millions of kids look up to these adrenalin fueled risk takers, careering cars around tarmac laid tracks. But this is a rich man's sport; a highly pressurized environment, where standing second on the podium means years later evaporating through the pages of a motor sport almanac. Nobody remembers a loser in this sport, which is precisely what drives Lewis Hamilton to achieve. And therein lies his greatest strength; a blinkered push to be the best, ever. Unfortunately it's the very same quality that makes him a bad loser. To truly become the best ever, Lewis Hamilton must accept defeat with more grace.