I've been reading a lot of stuff the past few days about how maybe we have it all wrong here in the UK. Lewis Hamilton is maybe not the young gifted driver we all believed him to be and Fernando Alonso has been wronged by his team and relegated to second position by the new British upstart.
There are opinion pieces stating this point of view in reputable publications as well as the old favourite, an online petition.
Maybe they have a point, after all as Brits we are likely to be biased in favour of Hamilton, just like we are in Jenson Button's case. Errr... it kind of falls down just a little there. Lets be honest, the British love bashing their heroes. As a nation its one of the things we excel at. You can't be successful in this country and expect to have everyone love you, it just isn't going to happen. Lewis is, in this respect at least, very much the exception to the rule. Of course that doesn't really count as evidence against the conspiracy theories, so lets try looking at a fairly basic fact.
Ron Dennis hired Fernando Alonso. There it is, a fact. Ron is paying Fernando Alonso a (probably) staggering amount of money to be part of his team and help him win the Drivers and Constructors World Championships. Now I am not an F1 team boss but, it seems to me that if you want a stooge to not contend with your new boy wonder, you could get one a lot cheaper than Alonso. How about Trulli, Ralph Shcumacher, Takuma Sato, lets face it, there are plenty of choices if you want someone to play second fiddle. But Ron went and hired the reigning World Champion.
Of course its not that unusual for Ron to want two top drivers in his team. Remember when Ayrton Senna was team mates with Alain Prost? I wouldn't have been sure before their partnership began, but after it they were arch-rivals. Jaun Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikonnen? Remember when Jaun was meant to be the next big thing and Kimi had already started being it? Ron has put himself in this position before and dealt with it impeccably. It seems odd that after all these years he should make such an enormous mess of it.
Of course some of the suggestions in the petition do make me laugh and for that I am grateful. My personal favourite...
G.P. of Canada (10-06-07) Strange behavior of F. Alonso’s car. Once more, the number one car was not in the same mechanical conditions than L. Hamilton’s car.
If I remember correctly, the strange behaviour involved the car unexpectedly driving on the grass and being quite slow compared to the one Lewis Hamilton was driving.
I like watching a lot of racing series and last year I managed to catch highlights of almost all the GP2 races. After the Turkish race I was in no doubt whatever that I was watching a future British World Champion. Lewis spun on the first lap and regained the track in 21st or 22nd position. He then proceeded to make everyone look as though they had something stuck under the throttle and brake pedals of their cars. He was overtaking people in places where it shouldn't have been possible an ended up in second at the final lap. One more lap would have seen him challenging the leader. It was a drive the like of which has not been seen since Ayrton Senna went from fifth to first in one lap at Donington Park in 1993.
Again good luck to Lewis for the next race, and lets hope that the politics don't get in the way of the wheel to wheel action we all want to see.