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Lewis Hamilton: from a boy hero to a great role model

Luka Jurić

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One long fall evening, I was attending the birthday of my elementary school friend. I was ten years old then and instead of dancing and fooling around with most of my friends, I decided to sit in front of the TV with a few more kids and watch a Formula 1 race. HRT broadcast the 2006 GP Grand Prix and there looked at part of some race. In case you forgot, in that race, Schumacher's engine dramatically failed in the 37th lap of the race, giving Fernando Alonso virtually securing his second world title. Now you’re probably already wondering what this anecdote has to do with Lewis Hamilton, but please satisfy me. Everything should be clearer soon.

Given that everyone who watched the race with me cheered for either Alonso or Schumacher, I certainly had to be different. I opted for McLaren-Mercedes because they were dear to me even when I would occasionally watch another race. After the race, which, as you can see, left a big impression on me, I decided to follow Formula 1 more actively from the following 2007. After choosing that McLaren-Mercedes is "my" team, I decided that I must have my favorite driver. Since I was a new Formula 1 fan, I decided on a new driver on the grid, who also drove for "my" team along the way. Of course, it was Lewis Hamilton.

At the age of eleven, you are not at all aware of things like team budgeting, how important it is to get a place in a good team, the importance of team bosses and pitwalla. The only thing that matters then is that those 20 and a fraction of the drivers push those cars to absolute limits, but also that the driver and the team you support win. And after the first few races, I was very pleased with my choice. McLaren was very competitive with Alonso and Hamilton, and my favorite driver achieved nine podiums in the first nine races, including two wins in Canada and the US. Hamilton so quickly became my boy hero - a rookie and one of the youngest drivers in Formula 1 defeats the current two-time world champion and his teammate Fernando Alonso, then already legendary Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, another very good driver!

However, the idea that Hamilton could become a world champion in his first season in Formula 1 soon fell into the water. After a poor strategic decision, McLaren left Hamilton on the track too long at the Chinese Grand Prix. As a result, Hamilton made the mistake of entering the pits on, so to speak, "bald" tires and ended up in the sand. Problems continued in the next race, where Lewis, after a nervous start, had a problem on the car that threw him to the back of the standings and ruined the dream of a world title in his first season.

I was devastated, but Lewis soon convinced me: he and McLaren would return next season even better, even more consistent and even faster, despite this loss and off-track problems (Spygate scandal and Fernando Alonso’s departure due to intra-team intolerances). That really happened when Lewis won the 2008 World Cup title in an even more dramatic way than he had lost the title a year earlier - overtaking Tim Glock in the last turn of the final lap of the last race of the season in the 2008 rainy season.

It was a triumph not only for McLaren and Hamilton, but also my triumph as his fan from day one. The number of victories, the number of podiums or drivers who have more world titles than him did not matter. He won that title and as he himself said: "I'm not sure if it will be possible to win seven titles like Michael Schumacher, but I would be happy with just one." So I was happy with that one title too, but I was hoping for another one soon.

Despite my wishes, the next four seasons were full of ups and downs: a bad package the first half of the 2009 season; poorly done box passes 2010-2012. both for Hamilton and for his new teammate Jenson Button; fast but very unreliable car 2012; private problems regarding Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the pop group Pussycat Dolls, which are often taken as the cause of the weak 2011 season; and so on. Contrary to these bad moments, it should be mentioned that Lewis has achieved at least one victory in each of these seasons, a tradition he has maintained throughout his entire, fourteen-year-long, career; how he fought for the title until the last race with Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in 2010 and how his chances that year would have been much more realistic had he not accidentally burst a tire at the Spanish GP; to 2012 also be a real contender for the title had he not given up the race three times that season due to mechanical failures while in the lead.

However, the biggest "rise" in that period did not seem like a climb at first, but a sabotage of his own career - Hamilton announces his transition from McLaren to Mercedes AMG Petronas, a team from the middle of the standings. Many said he was wrong, but Lewis was very persistent in making the right decision, looking at his options and deciding that Mercedes was the best. Regardless of his transfer to Mercedes, another big change could be noticed at Lewis that year - unlike in 2011 when he was prone to mistakes, Lewis learned from his mistakes and drove much more maturely, but still kept his speed .

Along with him, I also grew up and in that period Lewis stopped being my boy hero, purely because I was no longer an eleven-year-old boy who knew nothing about Formula 1 except the names of a few drivers and a couple of teams. Then I started looking at old Formula Clips 1, both from Lewis ’career and from Formula 1 history in general. I’ve read a lot about Formula One along the way. All of this helped me develop critical thinking about the world of Formula 1, which I then used on Lewis Hamilton’s career as well. Consequently, it was not possible for me to continue to consider Hamilton some sort of personal hero because I was aware of his mistakes in earlier seasons.

Despite that, I was still a fan of his and considered him one of the fastest drivers on the grid. He partially showed that the next year, in 2013, when he drove another quality season. He achieved one victory, in Hungary, and was close to another at the British Grand Prix. Hamilton was in the lead of the race when his tire burst, throwing him to the back of the standings. Lewis then drove a great race and from the back of the standings by the end of the race he broke through to a great fourth place. He finished the season in fourth place that year, behind the dominant Red Bull duo and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

The following year, the so-called a hybrid era and then it showed how much Hamilton’s risk of switching to Mercedes actually paid off. Mercedes AMG Petronas dominantly reached the double crown that 2014, with Lewis as world champion. After a relatively tense battle with teammate Nico Rosberg and the first season in the hybrid era, Hamilton came to another crown a little easier in 2015 and it seemed like Rosberg would never be able to beat him. However, Rosberg did absolutely his best in 2016 and took the title of world champion in front of Lewis - he beat him by only five points. While many attribute this to luck, referring to the failure of Lewis ’engine in Malaysia, it is important to mention that Lewis had a few very poor starts at the opening of the season which Rosberg made very good use of and then consistently maintained his lead overall.

How did Lewis respond to that? He learned from that loss, continued to improve, and simply left nothing to chance. He strived for perfection in absolutely every aspect - his physical fitness, diet, changed the way he trained, continued to learn the technological side of the sport that develops from year to year, tried to develop the car to perfection together with the team. Of course, there were also Hamilton's off-track activities - mostly music and clothing design with Tommy Hilfiger - which, according to Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss, are very important in Lewis' success.

A lot of things can be enumerated here, but the key was that Lewis learned from his mistakes and constantly developed his driving skills. The result is two great seasons in 2017 and 2018 when Lewis wins the world title after a very tense fight with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Moreover, in my opinion, 2018 is Lewis ’best season because he drove fast, mature, smart and because he showed how to deal with the pressure of fighting for the world title all season long.

In 2019, I started writing for Pulse and we were all expecting another tense title fight, but it soon fell apart. Hamilton and Mercedes did not relax even after five years of dominance in the hybrid era. They continued to develop the car, just as Lewis continued to learn and improve his ride. The consistency of Mercedes and Lewis and the pursuit of perfection have thus come to the fore even more last year, and especially this year. Although in 2019 they did not have serious competition throughout the season, but only in certain races, they developed an even better car for 2020 and continued their dominance. Moreover, this year’s dominance is at the level of that of the beginning of the hybrid era.

With such a mentality that they are constantly learning, striving for perfection and leaving nothing to chance, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton broke almost every possible record in the history of Formula 1. Hamilton thus surpassed one of the biggest records at the recent Portuguese Grand Prix: Schumacher's 91 victory. For me personally, his records have never been overly important because I have long been aware of his speed and quality and his importance in the wider history of Formula 1. If not before, then he definitely showed it to me during the aforementioned 2018. But I am glad that it is precisely these records that awaken new respect and awareness of Hamilton’s quality, not that everything is attributed to the dominant car in an attempt to diminish its successes.

Today, at 24, I can’t describe Lewis as some kind of personal hero because as children we elevate our heroes to heaven, unaware of their flaws and mistakes, and I am very well aware that Lewis has flaws and sins, like the rest of us. However, I can admit that I consider him a great role model. No, I don’t consider him a role model because of his vegan diet, luxury living and the fact that he is very often surrounded by famous stars. I consider him a role model because he always stays true to himself, which he showed the most when many doubted his move from McLaren to Mercedes, then a very inconsistent team. I consider him a role model because of his consistency and work ethic. And finally, I consider him a role model because so far he has not allowed mistakes and losses to defeat him, but he has learned from his mistakes and continuously worked on himself - both on and off the track. This actually allowed him to stay on top of the sport for years and break this legendary Schumacher record.

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Luka Jurić
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163 članaka Više o autoru

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Comment

31 comments

  1. Ayrton Senna LR7 Show

    Ok article that I'm afraid is not for this portal due to severe animosity towards Luka your boyhood idol. A small addition for 2007.LH burned for the title in the last race in Brazil because his McLaren mysteriously canceled for about 20 seconds and then worked and then Kimi was already grabbed towards the bucket… The very next time karma returned positively on the never more dramatic finish for the title on the penultimate turn of the last lap when it overtook Toyota and won the 1st title. Thanks for the text! The rest is literally history;)



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    • David Croft Frantic Donator Show

      Why wouldn't an article like this be for this portal?
      Very nicely written article, totally positive, for the person Luka started cheering for as a boy, with a certain dose of emotion, with mentioning and "comparing" with other drivers, just as much as needed for the context of the story.
      Of course, there may be a bit of "exaggeration" of some details, but that's quite ok.
      There are also some things that I agree a bit with the author, but as I wrote a few days ago, I can't take that as a criticism.
      Nice text



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    • Sebastian Vettel 5 Crash Donator Show

      Out of pure peace

      Ok article that I'm afraid is not for this portal due to severe animosity

      It is not good when a "hater" article is published because it is clicks and comments, and then it is not good when something like this comes ..
      I did not get the impression that the portal was about censorship.



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  2. James Hunt Vryky Show

    There will always be a memory of Merc..one of the world champions whose name automatically reminds of the constructor..there were before such champions, there will be in the future ..



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  3. Ferrari Boris_CRO Show

    I’ve been that way since 1997 for a red team and a gladiator with a weird German last name.



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  4. Fernando Alonso Lux Show

    Great article! : thumbs:
    I think all the younger fans in this community have gone through a similar process (me with Alonso, for example). :)
    You highlighted Hamilton’s progress as a driver well. 2011 was anything but inconsistent, and for the last couple of years it has been at the very top in that regard.
    I hope that we will see him once again by the end of his career in a direct clash (without anyone's dominance) with other drivers of his caliber who are on the grid (or who will return next year;)).



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  5. Aston Martin JB005 Show

    Well done for the article. It was also a shame for me to watch Hamilton drop the 2007 title, but on the other hand I was glad that Kimi took the title which is more than deserving of such a legend from the drivers.
    Unlike the MS Hamilton struggled a lot more for these titles which he won only because he did not claim to be the 1st driver. Of course on the other hand he had a dominant car which made it easier for him that way, but always in a fight with colleagues who were more than just good drivers.



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    • Nigel Mansell drv Show

      All five, just to say that Hamilton struggled a lot more than Schumacher is not very realistic, even for a fan.
      Ok, Rosberg was a bit better, but these fights with Bottas are somehow not too tense for me, although he is not officially the No. 2 driver but "just" a wingman.

      Besides, if MS didn't fight so much with a colleague from his own team, it doesn't mean that Hill, Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinnen and Kimi just watched from the sidelines. Some of them were in stronger cars, so the races were much more tense and harder for Schumacher. Some would even say that they worked hard for their titles…

      I agree that the article is good. I'm not a Hamilton fan, but I still enjoy reading an article like this….



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    • Alain Prost Alain Prost Show

      These are stories for small children that LH tells, and you smoke those jokes, the reality is different and so it should be, only one can and must be number 1, you were either not born in the age of MS or someone told you wrong so you are all misunderstood.



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  6. Maxtv cucla100 Show

    now I'm going to give up the minuses, but the hamilton / bono combination is like Schumacher / Brawn used to be.
    When he says something, he drives away and when you think he will stay second, third, there is a strategy and through the boxes first.
    I want a little more competitiveness to see him breathe under pressure because he hasn’t had it in a long time.
    looking forward to the next seasons with the driving seedling
    ricci - mclaren
    leclerk- ferrari
    vettel- rp / am
    alonso - renault
    max- rb
    i live for everyone to get closer to merca and for it to be the show we deserve



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    • Lewis Hamilton 44 NRteamLH44 Show

      Haven't you watched the 2017,2018 and the start of the 2019 season? Wasn't that breathing with pressure?

      2017 Vettel leads in the championship, starting 1 in Singapore and Hamilton 5th. Rain. Vettel makes a mess on the track, Hamilton wins.

      2018 again Vettel led in the championship and when there was no more ideal opportunity to increase the advantage, because his main competitor starts 14th. He crashes into a wall, and Hamilton on the track with the changing weather conditions wins from 14th place.

      2019 Ferrari at the start of the season obviously a fast car. Because of their incompetence, they lose every race, until Hamilton makes a mistake in an inferior position but drives and takes points. .

      For 3 years in a row, Ferrari had a very competitive car, but they lost all 3 times to a better team and a better driver. Now there is some fuss about the dominance of Mercedes, some irregularities, adjustments in their favor. And in essence, only Ferrari is incompetent, which even the biggest hardcore fans admitted and cried on the site, slandering Binotta.



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  7. Sebastian Vettel 5 Crash Donator Show

    After choosing McLaren-Mercedes as "my" team, I decided that I must have my favorite driver. Since I was a new Formula 1 fan, I decided on a new driver on the grid, who also drove for "my" team. Of course, it's about Lewis Hamilton

    This can't sit well with me ..

    For me, Hamilton is also a big plus for his progress and later for keeping on top by constantly improving these details, so today we have a driver who is a bullet in one lap and perhaps the best on the grid in tire management.



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  8. Robert Kubica Stipe Show

    A small digression to the author of the text,
    The GP of Japan was always run in the morning, so wasn't there another race when you watched it on "autumn evenings"?



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    • Luka Jurić journalist Show

      Hmm, possible. Now I’m not sure anymore because the GP of Japan fits the timing given my friend’s date of birth, as well as the fact that that Schumacher engine failure stayed in my memory. But it is possible that it is either a recording of the race or that I replaced the Grand Prix of Japan and the Grand Prix of China because it is the only other race that would correspond to that memory according to the calendar.



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  9. Nigel Mansell _bataziv_0809 Show

    All the best colleagues !!



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  10. Blue Flag dFixxx3r Show

    Great article, good to read something from lewis fans! Refreshing
    What I don’t see is that tremendous work on myself. if you are involved in design, music, marketing, then how can you work on yourself as a driver? it all takes time. In addition, (b) lewis is not very well known for working with mechanics, working on a car, he is the type who comes and takes selfies, sits and drives. So I don’t see what that extra effort of his is that other drivers didn’t put in so they didn’t get to his level.
    In my opinion, with (1) great driving talent, (2) what I admire the most - mental strength, he made (3) a move of life by switching to Mercedes. In my opinion, everything else is a day-to-day success and maximizing the situation in which he finds himself - which he really uses well and does great!



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