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As the Formula 1 series rolls into Monaco for the “crown jewel” race on its calendar, the talk again is if Mercedes can win in the principality. The likelihood is good but Red Bull does seem—as we predicted two weeks ago—to be more competitive to the Silver Arrows this weekend so far.

Still, the signs are that Mercedes could win this race as well leaving us with a season in which we will be frothing at the mouth while watching the title be decided by two teammates from practically the very first race of the season. No inter-team battles against Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren…just a teammate battle for 19 races.

While that sounds rather pedestrian, Mercedes have offered to “spice up the show” by letting their teammates race each other without team orders and this ought to bring some excitement back for the fans. Will that work? It may if Lewis Hamilton keeps talking smack about his teammate. In fact, we could see a Red Bull or Ferrari win if Nico Rosberg really gets miffed and the two come together on track.

Hamilton last week suggested that he is pressing hard to not just beat his teammate but to be well clear of him as he seeks perfection in his own driving. Fair enough, that makes sense. Today, however, the teammate trash talk was amped up a bit when Lewis told the press:

“Let me tell you this: I come from a not-great place in Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad’s apartment – and Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kind of things,” said Hamilton.

“So the hunger is different,” Lewis said.

“I want to be the hungriest guy in the cockpit from all 22 of us (drivers)… if I were to come here believing that Nico is hungrier than me then I might as well go home. So I’ve got to be the hungriest – to win the world championship you need to be the hungriest.”

Offering stories of privilege as an example of how he’s hungrier than Rosberg is an affront to not only Rosberg but every driver who has not slept on their father’s couch. The last time I checked, Lewis has a private jet and stays in the nicest hotels and boats (his father’s made out pretty well too). His life is not one of meagerness.

Nico slogged through every grueling karting weekend and junior series race just as Lewis did and using Nico’s upbringing as an example that Roseberg is less hungry is base behavior. Nico also didn’t have the gracious benefit of having his entire career paid for and cultivated by Ron Dennis and McLaren.

Nico won this race last year and is fully capable of having hunger for victory regardless of his schooling, father’s success and the way he was raised. Who knows, maybe the Mercedes PR machine is working overtime to gin up some controversy in the hopes of “making a show of it” after all.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Matty

    *yawn*

  • “Whatever you need to say to yourself to motivate your performance, Lewis”….said in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. Pump the iron…Lift the weights…

  • So let me get this straight….. the ‘rich kid’ is NOT the one with the diamonds in his ears?

  • Shane

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt…

  • Johnny_App

    Oh, Lewis. Another one of those ‘probably shouldn’t have said that’ moments. It’s clear he tried to round out what he meant in the last few sentences, but what he said does come off pretty dumb.

    The F1 media must be thrilled to see quotes like these, taking the opportunity to produce opinion pieces like this one and making Lewis out to be quite the buffoon.

    The problem is (for Lewis, anyway), as far as I’m concerned this opinion is spot on!

    You’d think with a McLaren upbringing you’d be more PR-ready. While I hate the sports mentality of skewer the guy when he spouts cliches, but also skewer him for an opinion, but this one was pretty dumb. Maybe next time Lewis!

  • If these are truly verbatim quotations of Lewis Hamilton’s comments toward his teamamte, trying to highlight his ‘hunger’ for success with such talk of Rosbergs cuchy life of privalege; then all the gains of respect LH earned from me over the past few seasons have been blown away.

    What an A-hole thing to say.

    Ayrton Senna de Silva, LH’s hero was not a man who wasn’t to some extent privaleged as per his family’s relative wealth in Sao Paola society. BUT no-one would claim Ayrton’s hunger was dulled because he was in that position. Nor that his genius behind the wheel was somewhat diminished by his family’s good position. All drivers have to work hard to get to, and compete in Formula 1. Of all the drivers around, LH has probably had one of the cushier rides to the top.

    Just when I was starting to really like the guy….

    • UAN

      I think it’s mind games and probably the kind that Nico falls prey too. I remember last year at Singapore (or was it the year before) when VET made the comment about RB working hard while everyone else was “hanging their balls in the pool.” Nico really got in a tizzy about that one. I can imagine Nico

      But I don’t think Rosberg has the killer competitive instinct on par with a Senna, or with an ALO/VET/HAM.

  • UAN

    *I can imagine Nico going on about it to Hamilton and HAM filing it away for future use.

  • Dave

    “Base behavior?” Did he say anything untrue? Libelous? Did he denigrate his teammate, or just highlight how their childhoods differed? Are you really trying to establish equivalence between the financial help of an F1 father versus a team principal who invested in a talented youth?

    This is how he motivates himself. It doesn’t matter if you are scandalized by it, or if you are overcome by umbrage on some other driver’s behalf as you project your worldview on it. He is on a mission, and he tried to explain it as he understands it.

    If it causes his opponents to think about anything other than the technical and tactical aspects of the race, that benefits him even more.

    Eventually Lewis will mature and learn how to deflect these questions with the kind of PR pablum that will make everyone feel nice and fuzzy. I prefer him this way.

    • Well Dave, I’m not sure what part of a “world view” I’m espousing here. Lewis had a leg up from McLaren just like Nico had from his father. If truth be told, it may have been more difficult for Nico to get a ride than it was Lewis as he was part of McLaren’s driver program since he was a tween. I’m not scandalizing anything here…just sharing what he said. If there is scandal here, it is of his own doing, not mine. I think it’s base behavior but that’s my opinion. I would think it was base behavior if he said it about anyone else. I’m not sure how a person’s financial upbringing has impacted their desire to win or achieve as much as they can. I think history is ripe with contrary examples to this notion. That’s not a world view, that’s a fact…as mentioned above, Senna had a comfortable upbringing and made all drivers on the grid look docile as far as hunger goes.

      If you say this is how he motivates himself, and throws off his competitors by suggesting they had it good and he had it tough so he’s more hungry than they are, so be it. I’ll take your word for it but I think the Lewis apologists are really working the angles on this one to suggest that this is some calculated head game stuff meant to rattle Nico’s cage.

      If Lewis fans like this kind of “edgy” commentary slating competitors for their upbringing, I guess that’s your gig but I find it below the belt and irrelevant. The entire current grid is either occupied by top talent that is paid millions or young men who are wealthy or have wealthy benefactors paying millions. Isn’t it a little odd to start throwing out “I had it hard” anecdotal tales at the expense of someone who did nothing to deserve the characterization and implications? Nico doesn’t need my defense but I find it all very boorish and unbecoming to be honest. If this is Lewis’s new head game playbook, I think he may want to double check the “how to get in the head of your competitor in F1” study guide. What’s next? Talk about Nico’s mother and her weight?

    • For Lewis to trumpet that he’s hungrier than Nico because didn’t have the same advantages is insulting to my intelligence.

      The contract that resulted in Hamilton’s ride in F1 was signed when he was *thirteen years old*. He had nine years of McLaren and Mercedes backing before ever setting foot on a Formula One grid. I daresay that the Macca/Merc backing was far more substantial than any sort of assist Nico had because of his father’s success. Granted, Lewis earned that support through talent, and good on him for that. But let’s not kid ourselves – there have been few drivers in the history of the category who have had a less troubled path to the top tier than Lewis.

      I had come around to supporting Lewis in the past few years, because he was more or less letting his driving do the talking. But now that it appears his arse is back at the mic, I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay on the bandwagon. (I’m sure he’d be desperately put off to hear that)

  • “When he matures” ?? He is 29 years old.
    I was married with three kids at that age. How long do we give LH the benefit of doubt via the “youth card”?

  • dude

    I think it’s mind games and Lewis is winning.

    • For now. The public and media will soon bore with him and his “mind games”, and turn on him like a Ken Block 180.

      • F1derbar

        yeah, as he sails to another WDC

  • Suku

    I want the answers from Nico on the track! I wish he shows how hungrier he is.

  • Great to hear that LH is more motivated in amassing wealth, than going down in history as a great driver.
    Maybe Nico just want’s to be known as a great racing driver & is motivated by that.
    I wonder how many F1 fan’s follow the sport to see a “poor kid get rich”

  • When I read this today, I was really feeling bad, both for Lewis and for Nico. This kind of talk just isn’t helpful to anyone and it reinforces the picture of Lewis being a bit on the whiney side.
    Apart form being simply bad taste, as Todd said, none of these guys on the grid are financially in a bad place or going through economic hardships. Just today it was published that Lewis is Britain’s top earning sports figure with 68million pounds annually. So in fact, if money was the main motivator, then Lewis has no reason to be motivated anymore. Furthermore, given Nico’s upbringing, it would suggest that he did in fact not need any cravings for cash to be fast…being competitive is part of humanity, no matter your background.

    I really want to like Lewis, but he’s definitely making it harder for me there. Also, I seem to remember that it is Lewis who is more immersed in the Jet-Set lifestyle, who has a pop-star girlfriend, brings his musician friends to his races and who wears diamonds. I have the feeling that this really isn’t about psychological warfare, but rather a narrative Lewis tells himself, one that he wants to believe in.

    Luckily, he has Lauda in the team to set him straight.

  • F1derbar

    A young man’s (or woman’s) world view is largely shaped by the time they’re 5-6 years old and if you don’t think that the early life circumstances stay with a person you’re ignoring basic psychology. In this light I understand Lewis’ sentiments. Having said that, as we get older we understand (hopefully) and practice nuance when relating our place in the world to others, unless you’re just a total a-hole and don’t care whose toes get stepped on.

  • Let me see… open gob insert foot – Mark Cuban, Lewis… remember some of the comments from Webber years ago?… frankly, these guys are sometimes so very talented and so very stupid.
    And let’s remember, Lewis has experience with the British tabloid press that skewers everything anyone says anyway… has he learned nothing in 10 years? Where are the handlers at Mercedes (fire ’em)?
    And let’s add one more thing… when you are at the top in the world’s no. 1 sport, you really should be beyond the Mike Tyson, Tom Cruise (couch jumping), Tommy Lasorta, verbal behavior stupidity level. Ah, well… he’s a great driver (especially in the wet), so maybe this will be his year.
    Kinda makes Kimi’s taciturn interviews look better and better doesn’t it?

    • Brody

      Let Lewis try and make a comment like Kimi did during an interview, about the need to take a s**t.
      Hamilton detractors surely would be calling for his head, and damn surely wouldn’t be laughing,

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3JWFEK5q88

      • Actually I would but I get your point. Kimi gets away with a lot of stuff that Fred, Seb or Lewis wouldn’t because of who he is and his character. I’ve made that argument too in the past when people were having a go at Seb for his comments. Regardless, I think Lewis could say that and most people would chuckle.

  • Schmorbraten

    Confirms my impression that Hamilton is maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Brody

    Negative Camber…….It’s interesting when you said, ” Nico also didn’t have the gracious benefit of having his entire career paid for and cultivated by Ron Dennis and Mclaren. ” Nico had received help from his father Keke, when in 2000 he urged Mercedes to support Nico’s move to Formula A Karting Championship, to be teamed alongside of Lewis. I hardly believe that Lewis was brought on board with Mclaren, by the urgency of his father Anthony Hamilton. As Hamilton.s career in the lower formulas were supported by Mclaren, so was Nico’s support given to him from Keke’s Team Rosberg, and Nico wouldn’t easily have been dropped by his father, because of poor performances.The same can’t be said for Lewis all along in his relationship with Mclaren, because Dennis would have dropped Hamilton like a hot rock, if he didn’t meet and perform to their expectations.

    If the internet had been in existence at the time when, Ayrton Senna called Alan Prost a COWARD, would the reaction by some be the same to Senna, as Hamilton’s comment about being more hungrier than Nico?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZlOIIIA3co

    • And Nico’s first job? A plummeting Williams F1. Lewis’s? A top contending McLaren. Lewis was never going to be dropped because he’s a brilliant racer so that threat was not looming over his head each race start. Keke’s financial resources compared to McLaren International? I think that’s evident. Prost vs. Senna? that epic dual was way beyond this one mate. Nico and Lewis were mates in karting, there’s no bad blood between them like there was with Prost/Senna. The rivalry, for me any way, is not in the same postal code. If Nico and Lewis had been running each other off the track etc, maybe It would be more meaningful to me.

      I’ve offered my thoughts on the Senna/Prost events in the past but this is simply mind vomit in my opinion. Senna was a rich kid, do we question his desire to win? He didn’t have McLaren paving his way either. He had to buy rides in the junior series and Tommy Byrnes book is a great read to learn more about that…I highly recommend it. I would never take away or marginalize Lewis’s hard work to get to McLaren and F1 but I’m not sure I would marginalize what sacrifices Nico made too regardless of where he slept when he was a young boy.

      As for Lewis, his motivation is the one that actually could be questioned such as last year and each year Nicole broke up with him.His up and down season’s have been fully admitted by himself. Lewis’s hunger may be born from humble beginnings and I would not take that away from the guy but he has no idea what drives Nico’s hunger to win and it is irrelevant, in my opinion, that Rosberg had an early childhood in Monaco or a father who drove in F1.

  • Rick T

    Better give these two some room, the loose white gloves look primed for face slapping!

  • Tony Geinzer

    I’d doubt its amusing when Lewis Hamilton opens his mouth and becomes obnoxious. He is one of the more Obnoxiously Noxious Talents in Sports In 2014 and that is no lie. I really,really expected better out of a History Making and English World Champion.