Unless you have been stationed under a rock for the past month, you’ll be well aware that Lewis Hamilton has a new teammate in the form of Valtteri Bottas for 2017. Their new partnership at Mercedes has – and will continue to induce – plenty of pre-season chatter, as armchair pundits consider whether Bottas has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Hamilton.
Anthony Hamilton has now muscled his way into the conversation, as Sky Sports have reported an interview in which Hamilton Snr highlights that his son’s speed has the potential to “end careers.”
I’m just left baffled.
“Anybody who goes up against Lewis needs to have planned their career correctly because it could be a career-ending move when you go up against Lewis,” Anthony Hamilton stated while making an appearance at last week’s Zoom Auction.
“I personally think, while he’s getting older and more mature, he’s still actually heading towards the prime of his career. So Lewis is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”
I have several issues with his bold statement.
First of all, I fail to see a great deal of evidence that proves his theory that Hamilton is particularly good at finishing his teammate’s careers. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button seemed to come out of the hotseat in fine condition. Heck, Nico Rosberg has emerged with a championship title to show for the battle.
Admittedly, of course, Heikki Kovalainen did struggle against Hamilton during their two season’s at McLaren. However, the Finn was brought in as a clear number two following the team’s tumultuous 2007 season. They could not afford to risk losing another championship as a result of in-fighting.
Hence, Anthony Hamilton’s only piece of ‘evidence’ is rather weak in the final assessment.
My second issue is that this comes from a man who supposedly brought up Lewis to “do all his talking on the track.” Much was made of the psychological battle during the Hamilton-Rosberg era at Mercedes, yet most of their comments were far less obvious in their intent than this bombshell. Why make this statement if not to knock Bottas off balance ahead of the biggest year of his career?
I’d be fascinated to see what Lewis makes of his father’s comments. For a family whose competitive philosophy is so widely published and imitated by the next generation, this seems counter-intuitive.
Perhaps I’m overblowing what is intended as a throw-away comment. However, when you make a statement about damaging drivers’ reputations beyond repair, it’s bound to send out a powerful message. Hamilton Snr may have scored an own goal here.