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Despite the fact that Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the Formula 1 grid is looking up at Sebastian Vettel, already leading the drivers championship, the McLaren driver still has a different “nemesis” in his mind: Fernando Alonso.

“I will always think that my nemesis and my closest rival will always be Fernando,” said Hamilton, according to the UK’s Guardian. “Just because of my history, when I started out. I see him as my Prost, if we were [Alain] Prost and [Aryton] Senna. If you were to say ‘choose a driver’ [that I would like to be] I would clearly choose Ayrton. And maybe I would put him as Prost.”

Don’t start typing your angry response or fervent defense just yet. Asked whether, given the past year and one race, Vettel isn’t his real rival at this point, Hamilton said: “I don’t think so. If he continues to have a car like he does now then, maybe, but I think when we get equal pace then we will see some serious racing. Maybe he [Vettel] is the new Mansell? Not that I would rate him like I do Mansell.”

I’m starting to like this LewHam 2011.

Hamilton also says he’s enthusiastic heading into Malaysia, where the big downforce of the track still ought to favor the Red Bulls. (And who am I to doubt Hamilton and McLaren?)

But, the question must be asked: Hamilton=Senna, Alonso=Prost and Vettel=Mansell? Do you like the comparisons?

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  • No, I don’t like it. Vettel and Hamilton are too young to compare themselves to a legends, besides these young fellows are privileged to drive good cars, as opposed to the older Alonso, who struggled last two season at Renault with no competitive car.
    In fact, any comparison is kinda meaningless to me.

    • Steven

      I dont think they he is comparing ability, he’s just character playing. Substituting 2 different actors in a movie.

      • Lorena

        I agree with you. Hamilton isn’t comparing himself to Senna like that. Senna is Hamilton biggest hero, his biggest inspiration in life…he would never compare his ability to his, but what he is saying is that their styles and relationships with each other in the sport to that os Senna, Prost and Mansell. He’s hardly going to compare their epic rivalry to Jarno Trulli having a go at Adrian Sutil a few years ago…for a start Lewis and Fernando are nothing like Jarno and Adrian

  • tobytubes

    Alonso = Prost I can kind of see, but the others, na, not really.

    I also think there is a personal dislike between Hamilton and Alonso which isn’t there with Vettel. Taken in the context of 07 at Mclaren which did have shades of two top drivers “falling out with each other”. If that’s what’s being alluded to, then I can see that.

    As drivers, perhaps at the end of their careers we can evaluate.

  • F1 Kitteh

    I don’t think Senna came out and said I’m Jim Clark or Fangio..

    • tobytubes

      He did say he was a racing driver though :)

    • Williams4Ever

      I don’t think Senna came out and said I’m Jim Clark or Fangio..
      >> Exactly, I am not a Senna fan, but still like the 80s and the early 90s F1 era, coz they were busy racing and not politicking and showbizing. Again goes back to what I always write here, modern F1 doesn’t have much to offer and so has to time and again take refuge on its glorious past so as to sell its pond scum present.

  • Jim Newman

    When is Hamilton going to stop being a poser? Get your own helmet, stop talking about Senna so much and be youself. If LeBron James can stop pretending to be Michael Jordan and focus on himself, Hamilton should be able to do the same.

    You know why Senna is a legend? Because he never gave a crap about “being” someone else, he only cared about “beating” someone else.

    • BoogWar

      Here, Here.

    • wunderkind

      Perfectly put, Jim Newman..could not agree with you more, mate..Hamilton’s an inferior clone of Senna in every way & your NBA analogy was absolutely spot on as well..

      • I’m looking forward to Lewis taking his talents to South Beach… or Red Bull.

    • Lorena

      Correct me if im wrong, but his father designed his helmet so he could spot him easier when he karted, and he has kept the design. His brother, Nicholas, has the same design but slightly different colours for his racing helmet. Don’t don’t go blaming Lewis ot Nic for it, you blame anyone, you blame his father. And why are you telling hamilton to stop being a poser and be himself, when being a poser is who he is. Don’t like it, don’t watch the sport. Simple

      • jon

        well said.why do people take things so litaraley.hes just tryin to explane da rivalry…..cant stand haters………

  • Williams4Ever

    Simon Fuller and XIX Entertainment seem to be working hard to make their 15% count….

    • F1 Kitteh

      I know, the perfect manager to add more ‘Entertainment’ !

    • Williams4Ever

      And btw Alonso a Prost never!!! Nobody can emulate last of the gentleman racer in F1, everybody thinks of themselves as Senna, EGO wise they are definitely 100 times better than Senna, talentwise nowhere as close, but well whatever that keeps them happy..

  • olderguysrule

    Lewis = Senna? Only in his dreams. :>)))

  • robfiction

    So Lewis’ new management has him stating the obvious?
    Expect to hear quotes soon such as ‘damn that Rossi’s fast!’

  • The drivers seat

    This would be fun (and a bit mean)
    Massa = nakajima (the dad)
    Barrichello= Coulthard (too soon?)
    HRT-Andrea Moda

    • F1 Kitteh

      Who will be play Salazar and fight Massa?

    • Williams4Ever

      Barrichello= Coulthard (too soon?)

      >> Talking about that check this out

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puZhQZ1PzDk

      http://youtu.be/0C0yiuya_MY

      Taking DC tenure @Redbull as reference point, can we hope Williams to become champions by 2014? Assuming they last that long…

      • UAN

        Barrichello=Barrichello

  • Schumi is Human

    Vettel = Schumacher – Mansell only came into his own in his thirties.

    • So that makes Button the new Mansell, both have dodgy facial hair.

      • Gordon

        Button’s isn’t dodgy compared to Hamilton’s weird skinny part beard. What is he doing? It looks awful. I know people slagged off Heidfeld (Grace) but someone needs to pin Lewis down and shave that stupid thing off immediately.

        • Williams4Ever

          Please listen to Podcast#204 – The one in which Hamilton receives dressing down, not for aggressive driving but for the nulook beard

          • Gordon

            Sorry – have downloaded it but am saving it for the train journey to work tomorrow. Apologies to the podcasters.

        • Hamilton’s facial hair is now officially a chinstrap.

  • Luigi

    He said he´d like to be Ayrton. Am I the only one who read that WOULD LIKE TO BE part? The guy is not comparing himself to Ayrton, he´s just comparing his rivalry with Alonso to that of Prost and Senna; he´s just saying that his closest rival will always be Fernando, no matter what. And I like said comparison.

    • tobytubes

      Exactly, context.

    • Rachel

      Exactly. I’m not the biggest Lewis fan at all, but even I can see what he was trying to say.

    • Lorena

      You my friend, are a very intelligent person. Some people on here need to get and English GCSE and/or some reading glasses. Hamilton admires senna…hes always gonna look up to him, but he would never dream of saying he is anything like senna – he admires him to much.

  • Tony

    i’m sick of this guy

  • BoogWar

    I like Hammo. Honestly I do. I think he is worlds apart from most drivers on the grid. I don’t like this new PR direction, though. I think his new management has a lot to do with it, and that’s not the image I wanna see. I liked when he said that Alonso was ‘seriously quick’ during his top gear interview. Wanna see more of the humility that characterized him during his 2007 season. While I do expect him to evolve, The PR gane he is now playing is dangerous. And Prost was indeed the last gentleman in formula 1.

    • It’s funny. I’m on the opposite track from you. I’m liking this Hamilton (two different posts I’ve put up on him, I’ve liked what he had to say). I’m not sure I can put my finger on how it’s different from in the past… maybe there’s a certain assuredness to his comments — a feeling he’s more comfortable with himself — that I’m finding attractive.

      Maybe he’s finding a “tweener” role — not the good guy, not the bad guy — that strikes me as more honest than trying to be Mr. Nice.

      Of course, if he starts whining over the radio during races, I might reassess. But I am watching this development with interest.

      • Benalf

        What Hamilton is experiencing since 2007 is just growing up. He maturing and learning from mistakes and finding his way. I think he’s a good human being, very talented racer. IMO he could have mature in a more “normal” way having starting racing “the hard way”, away from Dennis and his father…but maybe I am wrong.

  • mark h

    We can talk again when Mr Hamilton has secured pole position in 40% of all the races in his career. Much as it pains me to admit it, the only person likely (not very likely) to even flirt with that record at the moment is actually Vettel.

    I get that he’s just making a comparison, rather than saying, “I am the second coming,” but these comparisons are a little bit tedious and very pointless.

  • Oh, I think you have to take it in context. I doubt Lewis is suggesting he is the next Senna. You have to allow a guy a hero and Senna is/was his hero and that’s probably because his father, Anthony Hamilton, was a Senna fan. My dad liked Mario Andretti, with good reason, and Jimmy Clark and therefore those two hold a special place for me.

    I think Lewis is just trying to juxtapose his rivalry with Alonso with something he associates with his youth and hero in F1. I think we’re reading a little much into the “I’m the next Senna” deal. Also, Fernando doesn’t drive like Prost…more Senna than Prost. :)

    • the drivers seat

      Well they both certainly didn’t get along well together at Mclaren.
      So does this mean Alonso slept with some Renault execs wife, like Alain?

      • Williams4Ever

        Err I think that was Michael, and later Juan Pablo and it was girlfriend not wife..unless your proximity to racing circles has given you access to certain information that a Prost Fan like me doesn’t…

        • wchrisg

          Was it the same girlfriend?
          Do you have her number?

          • Williams4Ever

            Connie Montoya was dating one of his rival drivers in Colombian Open wheel series when JPM met her the first time and at end of the race engagement JPM and Connie hit it off and have been together.

            Michael’s wife Corrina was was the fiancée of Heinz Harald Frentze, hence last year there was that awkward situation when Heiz was stewarding one of the racing meets on F1 calendar..

            If JPM and Michael had shared love interest, hell would have broken loose (not that it didn’t otherwise)

    • Tuna

      Amen. Also, I’m not a Hamilton fan either, but he’s clearly just comparing the rivalries, not the drivers themselves.

    • Williams4Ever

      Also, Fernando doesn’t drive like Prost…more Senna than Prost. :)
      >> +1 to that, see my comments

    • George M

      Thank goodness for Negative Camber, spreading some sense. It is clear what he means as he is talking about the rivalry between them and the characters, not the skills. It is a comparison that I am sure I was not the only one to make even a couple of years ago.

      I must disagree with you though NC in that I believe that Alonso is more like Prost than Senna. We haven’t really seen massively ballsy overtakes by Alonso (at least not in recent years, rather he wins by being calculating and strategic), and that was pretty much what Senna was all about, and also Hamilton (but obviously not to the same extent, don’t rage at me guys…).

  • Clutchless

    Wow, Lewis needs a HUGE reality check. I can understand wanting to be like your legend but forge a path of your own people respect that a lot more.

    I am trying to find similarities in someone who left their home and moved thousands of miles away to chase their dreams and fought for a place among the elite drivers in the world whereas someone who lived a much more privileged life and was practically bred to be a McLaren driver.

    • Good driver fan

      I’m not sure how people have interpreted his comments as comparisons to Ayrton or Prost when its clearly about the rivalry that they’ve had for many years, which he believes is playing out between Alonso and himself???
      I want to point out that Hamilton has not had a priviledged life infact quite the opposite. His old man had 3 jobs to pay for his son to be able to continue GoKarting. Rod Dennis recognized that skill and kept a close eye on his progress. The rest is history i also want to point out that Alonso caused the rivalry in Mclaren when he said to Ron Dennis that he wanted the team to focus on him becoming the world Champion again and Ron not liking to those comments Which was pretty much the last straw after his pit lane hold up of his own team mate Lewis.

      One more gripe if you dont mind i’ve watched many many races in GP2/3 and go karting which involved some of the best drivers in F1 today and no-one impressed me more than Hamilton did. Yes he had quick cars but his overtaking was so gobsmacking even the commentators wet themselves. It was obvious that he was going to be a competitor for the World Championship at some point.

      Think about this if Hamilton was driving redbull last season who would have been world champion??? Doesnt matter what you say it’s obvious in the back of your mind that he is clearly superior to Vettel.

      Thanks

  • Benalf

    crazy… I’d like to know if Hamilton thinks he’s like Senna or is just a plain simple PR speech. I hope he can grow up by himself and not with a half-wit manager who thinks Hamilton, just by having the talent, is entitled to say/do whatever he thinks…or the manager thinks

  • Steven

    Like I said in my reply above. I dont think he is comparing ability wise, I think all he’s doing is changing characters on a story. Like say… Cape Fear with Gregory Peck in ’62 and Deniro in ’91. So, stop getting all angry and saying that Fred is never gonna be Prost, and Lewis is never going to be Senna, thats not what he meant.

    Prost is my favorite driver, and I CAN NOT stand Alonso, so I hate the comparison, but I see what Lewis means.

    • Benalf

      Prost is my favorite one too. I like what Fed has achieved, especially during his early year at Renault, stopping the Ferrari empire and defeating Macca in 2005; a new fresh re-start what brought hope for mid-pack teams. Hamilton may be just stating a comparison but the drivers he picked are in a different level, a different time and circumstances. To me (maybe I am wrong) he is using Prost-Senna to reflect himself as the succesful brazilian… maybe he doesn’t even know where the name Nemesis comes from. Personally, I think Macca 2007 soup-opera halted an escenario similar to the one Prost-Senna lived at the very same team (with Dennis included!). But further than that, I think both Fred and Hamilton still need to run the full thousand miles to have the right to compare to Prost and Senna.

  • Makana

    I am SURE he just saw the movie “Senna” :D and loved the victim figure and how Prost was a mean ol’ driver and all. It’s not necessarily arrogant but I think we are still to see that kind of battle between them. Maybe I’m wrong but their respective battles on the track did not overlap much. Anyhoo it’s not the illustrious duel that Senna and Prost had, they still need some years to create that. On the funny side, Vettel is Mansell :D Hamilton clearly thinks he’ll cream Vettel if they are driving the same machinery. That remains to be seen as I like to stick to facts, but fact of the matter is, he’s getting a whopping by a fuzzy drink driver now.

    • Steven

      I think its more like the McLaren is getting a whopping by the RB.

      • Makana

        Whatever keeps his morale up :)

  • This has been a lively discussion, but I have to come clean: It was 5 a.m. or so when I posted this, and I wasn’t trying to play up a “Hamilton thinks he’s Senna” storyline. I thought the controversy would be two-fold:

    1. Hamilton’s picking Alonso over Vettel as his major nemesis.
    2. Hamilton’s calling Vettel “Mansell.” That seemed like the burn.

    But I do think the reaction demonstrates, again, that Hamilton has a mixed persona among F1 fans. I hope his new management company is reading!

    (Also, see my reply above to Boogwar about how I’m liking this 2011 Hamilton.)

  • positiveCamper

    Yep Lewis, and I am Winston Churchill.

  • This may be a comparison of rivalry rather than any claim he’s Senna, but he did actually claim something like that in 2007 or 2008, so you’re right to read between the lines.

    His head got too big too early and I blame McLaren and his dad for that. I think the best he could do is stop putting himself and Senna into one sentence, just to avoid any misunderstanding that hurt his image. He should just do his own thing and be himself, and stop trying to copy others or act. Honesty and being yourself is so rare in F1 these days. No wonder there’s no place for JPM or Kimi.

    • Benalf

      Maybe he should start by painting his helmet with a color other than Senna yellow…maybe a Prost color to stick with the best

    • “Honesty and being yourself is so rare in F1 these days. No wonder there’s no place for JPM or Kimi.” – this is who Mark Webber is, the only one, currently. Hamilton just should stop excluding Senna, despite that he drove his Honda car via TopGear. And the yellow helmet was because Senna was from Brazil, right ? There’s no yellow in UK flag. At the end of his career, we may judge for Hamilton. Until then, he just have to prove himself on the track.

  • Craig Sipple

    Was Senna that dude who was getting beat by Schumacher in his first year?

    Lewis is better than Senna… In my humble opinion.

  • No Lewis… You are not.

    You are Lewis “Flying in on a wire” Hamilton, and you will be known as such for the rest of your life… Deal with it.

    • mannyrm

      Can you tell me what the term Flying in on a wire means? I really dont know what it means and Im intrigued.

      Thanks

      • A few years ago Lewis had a random appearence in some stage show prior to the 2008(?) Turkish Grand Prix. and came floating onto the stage held up by wires.

        He was wearing his full Formula 1 drivers racesuit and was swung from a trapeze wire in the role of the god ‘Apollo’ on the set of a local theatre show.

        It was a low point for all of F1.

  • formulasfera

    Go Lewis! This year will be funny, on track and in PR!

    I can confess that in 2007 in the first race, before the first corner, I said to myself watching Lewis “this is the best driver EVER” and there I became a fan. That was rare because I know is very difficult to be better than Fangio…

    Here you can see, 50 comments just for him…

  • mannyrm

    LOLz, Oh LewiHAM. Always picking on Alonso.

    Still a kid with too much blessings.

  • Niyoko

    Lewis is doing a better job at maintaining “the show” than Perelli. (^-^b

    I enjoy the rivalry Hammy and Alonso has going on. Vettel might be having to fight off the Australian fan after hearing that they booed him on the podium after the race, haha.

  • Jack Flash

    I am not a Lewis Hamilton fan per-se, but I certainly respect his driving F1 talent and willingness to ‘have a real go’ during races. He is an edgy, ‘take a risk’ type of driver.

    I am a HUGE Ayton Senna fan, since the very time I first saw him race trackside in Adelaide 1985 in the pretty JPS Lotus 97T. Prior year 1984 in the Toleman appearance he peaked my interest, but the first Lotus 1985 year was the clincher. After that, I was hooked on Senna. Only recently made peace and forgave Sir Frank for Ayrtons unnecessary loss to F1, after a contrite and honest interview from Frank on the whole unfortunate car design incident last year on BBC1. Patrick Head has not got that yet.

    Now…. given my Senna fantacism, I am still undertanding of the context Lewis Hamilton has descibed his greatest rivalry to Fernando Alonso. Senna v Prost is a fair and distinctive analogy from him. I am not under any illusion LH thinks of himself as the “next Senna”. LH himself is a massive Senna fan from childhood, and I can’t see him alluding to himself being his idols equal. He is self confident, but isn’t that up himself.

    So… I am OK with the LH comparison as a colourful interview piece – nothing more.

    JF

    • F1 Kitteh

      Not a fan of him either but certainly respect his massive talent. I would be more so if he just kept quiet and stop saying silly things that are just begging to be taken out of context. Or maybe that’s exactly what his new manager wants, heck there is no bad publicity right?

      • Jack Flash

        Right. The Product Manager’s mantra – “All publicity is good publicity”.
        .. and Lewis is a ‘marketable product’ as far as his new managment is concerned I bet!
        JF

        • @Jack Flash: I second that. See – 62 comments under this article. No doubt that LH is talented, but he just have to prove himself on the track, as I said above. He and his team mate are lucky to have competitive car at the start of the season, given the decision of Whitmarsh to abandon the “octopus” exhaust concept.

  • Yeah Lewis is Senna, Alonso Prost and I am Hugh Hefner. Now come on girls. Show me who is the daddy

  • Formulasfera

    I would like to believe Lewis is a real contender this year, since he is able to be second if he doesn’t win, but I don’t know if it is the same case for Vettel.
    And the McLaren seems to be better than the last year.

    By the way, which GP are you attending this year?

  • GeorgeII

    How about you are still Hamilton and he is still Alonso? Getting ahead of ourselves again are we?

  • tifosi77

    Hi all – first post on F1B!!!

    Lewis gives us an interesting insight into his mindset. That he would “clearly” (his word) be cast as Senna, his hero, in telling.

    Sorry, Lewis – it takes a fair bit more than a similar paint job on your helmet before you can begin talking about *yourself* as Senna, even if it is meant to be cheeky. That’s just……….. well, it’s rude is what it is.

    And I definitely agree with what SJ Skid said – comparing Vettel to Mansell was absolutely 100% meant as a snap. (Altho I can’t say I disagree with him on that point)

  • Hammie, so far I like your approach to racing but now it’s time to stop with the talking and start the racing – just like Seb is doing it.

    Like it or not he’s the guy who’s exhaust fumes most of the field will become very familiar with over the next few years no matter if he’s racing the flying energy can or the poorly disguised red and white cigarette packs.

  • DURS

    “Maybe he [Vettel] is the new Mansell? Not that I would rate him like I do Mansell.”

    Doesn’t this suggest that Hamilton DOES rate himself and Alonso as up there with Senna and Prost?

    I have never been a Hamilton fan and probably never will be. This is far from the first time he has likened himself to Senna, and he has never come across as respectful of his competitors, either on the track or off.

  • Captain Nemo

    When Vettel was 10 years old and turning heads in karting a journalist asked him if he wanted to be the next Schumacher. VEttel’s reply was “Schumacher is Schumacher, I am Sebastian Vettel”. Which shows me that Vettel was mentally more mature at 10 years old than Hamilton is at 23.

    Senna clearly demonstrated, wihtout a doubt, that he was the best driver of his generation. Lewis has not. This comparing himself to Senna, in any situation is absolutely purrile.

    • Williams4Ever

      @Nemo – Hope you secured Political asylum in Non-Internet Using country (if there is one) ;-)

    • Good driver fan

      I’m not sure how people have interpreted his comments as comparisons to Ayrton or Prost when its clearly about the rivalry that they’ve had for many years, which he believes is playing out between Alonso and himself???

      I can remember when Hamilton was asked do you think you can beat Schumachers record titles and he laughed and said thats another league i would like to think i could get 3. I really really don’t think people should assume that he’s comparing to the all time greats. But i do believe he will definitely become one.

  • marisV

    I think Alonso is Senna. He looks like him and he drives better than the car allows him.

  • Jon

    Stupid comparison. Senna could win in any car. Not even Schumacher was faster or could get to that limit. Hamilton would be lucky to be 4th or 5th best driver at the moment.