Lewis Hamilton: F1’s flawed champion

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

By , Jawad Yaqub is a Roar Guru

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    (Image supplied by AMG Petronas Motorsport).

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    He may be one of the most polarising figures in modern Formula One, but there is no denying that Lewis Hamilton has deservingly won the 2017 world championship.

    The 32-year-old joins an elite company of drivers to have won four or more titles, including such legendary figures like Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

    The tale of why the Briton was deserving in 2017 will be widely picked apart and scrutinised. From taming the ‘diva’ of the W08 EQ Power+ Mercedes AMG he was supplied with, to capitalising on his rival’s self-implosion in the second half of the season, Hamilton is a different entity to 2016.

    As much as moments such as his emphatic victory at the British Grand Prix, following dire results in Azerbaijan and Austria, or standing tall upon the red rubble of Ferrari in Singapore, Hamilton has controversially continued to undermine the events of last year.

    Well accounted for is the breakdown in relations between Hamilton and his former teammate and friend Nico Rosberg, as together their psychological war between 2014 and 2016 polluted the once-fresh environment at Mercedes AMG.

    Rosberg, through his consistency, resilience and determination to never give up, in 2016 eventually triumphed over Hamilton, whose campaign was riddled with uncharacteristic mistakes.

    Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg (GEPA Pictures/Red Bull Content Pool)

    The more deserving driver won in 2016 and then the entire landscape changed when the German announced he was retiring from the sport, citing that his lifelong dream had been accomplished.

    Perhaps Hamilton couldn’t grasp that he was beaten by a rival he had dominated for many years. David had toppled Goliath in that instance, but the Briton’s presence meant that Rosberg’s victory would continually be overshadowed – which should be a stain on Hamilton’s own legacy.

    Hamilton’s comments following the Mexican Grand Prix, where he sewed up his fourth title, again threw malice towards his former teammate: “I could do the easy thing, which is to stop and retreat like Nico.”

    This, despite Rosberg sending his own congratulations across various social media platforms, expressing his delight at seeing his old friend make history.

    This is where it is difficult not to feel polarised by Hamilton. While his skills on track in 2017 were better than that of his fellow four-time champion and season-long rival in Vettel, his bitterness towards a season where perhaps he cannot admit to his own mistakes becomes a broken record.

    That, however, is the enigma that many of his fans adore. The rockstar persona contrasted against the intellectual bodies of a Rosberg or Vettel will always triumph in a world where celebrity rules.

    Playing on the heartstrings of the masses, with his story of hardship from the depths of Stevenage where he was born to reaching the pinnacle of Formula One, viewers are drawn into that narrative.

    It could be surmised then, that these imperfections are why Hamilton is such a unique entity. There’s no denying he’s now in the sport’s upper echelons, with four titles to his name and the records of the mighty Ayrton Senna and Schumacher falling before his feet.

    Hence, Hamilton is a champion who may not be admired by all, but one who embodies the good, the bad and the ugly of sport.