When Will Lewis Hamilton Learn?

Lewis Hamilton has been Johnny on the Spot in Formula One for nearly two years now. The McLaren driver has shown sustained flashes of brilliance that excite the racing world. Alas, he also tends to spit the bit when under pressure to win the most important championship.

The Formula One racing season offers many high points and always a few odd, low ones. Amongst the mish mash, one thing always stands out. Who will win the most important trophy? Yes, the championship for the drivers.

In this regard, a disturbing trend is starting to appear with Hamilton. To put it mildly, he feels the pressure in a big way based solely on what we see on the course. From the 2008 season to this one, we see the same strange errors.

Consider the recent race in Japan. Hamilton had a seven point lead over his nearest rival, Felipe Massa, and grabbed the pole with a great lap. Massa ended up qualifying fifth. The stage was set for a positive day for Hamilton.

The proper course of action for Hamilton was to drive a conservative race. The chances of Massa ever passing him were non-existent as Massa is not half the driver. All other drivers on the course were not relevant.

So, what happens? Hamilton gets a poor start and then tries an extremely bold maneuver to retake the lead from Kimi Raikkonen, a driver who was irrelevant in the points. Hamilton goes wide and the rest is history.

There is no other way to say it than Hamilton spit the bit. He choked. If he had cruised around in second place the entire race, he would have extended his lead in the championship. Instead, he panicked and lost a couple points.

The Japanese Grand Prix was a telling example of how two drivers put under pressure can fall apart. Hamilton was a mess and Massa was no better. His running into both Hamilton and Bourdais was not the stuff of champions!

With Massa, however, you can understand the aggressive moves. He has to catch Hamilton. Hamilton just has to protect his lead. With the odd scoring in Formula One, he practically is assured of the title if he just drives around safely.

Perhaps most aggravating to Hamilton will be the driver who performed the way Hamilton should have. That driver was his number one enemy. Yes, Fernando Alonso. With a lesser car, Alonso drove a solid race. Hamilton should take it as an example.

Hamilton is a great talent. Talent without brains, however, is not enough. Hamilton is smart enough, he just need to get a grip on his nerves. If he cannot do it in the remaining two races, he may never do it. What a shame that would be.

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