Lewis Hamilton: Like Marmite?

Photo: Steve Etherington

Lewis Hamilton seems to be like Marmite – you either love him, or the very opposite. Yet, what was different about the Brit’s actions today that caused a media uproar?

I only have to be away from my phone for an hour and, when I next return, some man called Lewis Hamilton has updated his Snapchat Story. And Tweeted…and posted on Instagram. But where should he draw the line when documenting his life?

Lewis Hamilton is the poster-face of Formula 1. Ask anyone to name a F1 driver and it’s more than likely that they’ll reply with Hamilton. He is everywhere – from TV adverts to fashion weeks and red carpet events. However, it’s only in recent years that people have been questioning his behaviour. Should he be cataloguing his party-life minute by minute? Should we be seeing what he looks like in sweatpants? Either way you answer, he has been great in publicising the sport, despite sometimes going a little too far.

Let’s put ourselves in his shoes for a minute. You’re a triple world champion and have been sitting around all day, waiting for the media to ask you the same question that you have answered six times in the last hour and you have to make it sound like you aren’t reading from an already formed script. Dare I say it, you’re probably bored. Other drivers, like Daniel Ricciardo, have openly admitted that media days aren’t the most exciting at times. You want to be out there on the track, and clearly stuck in a stuffy room is far from it.

Sometimes it seems like the media are waiting, and waiting for Lewis to make one wrong move…sometimes he only has to breathe. And that’s it. There’s a major uproar and he is ruining the sport’s name. No one seems to remember the fantastic things he does. Not every driver takes the time to sign autographs and meet fans like he does. In addition, he is one of the only drivers to interact with fans on social media – following people, replying to messaging and liking Tweets. He is deeply grateful for the support he receives and that is genuinely touching to see. Do we see The Guardian raving about that? No, of course not. The only time they rush to write an article is when he steps marginally out of line. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it that…

Honestly, I can’t see what the HUGE fuss was about today. He was on his phone amusing himself – it’s no worse than a colleague scrolling through Facebook at work. It isn’t criminal. Yes, it wasn’t a great move from a PR point of view, but it wasn’t exactly a travesty.

Is it a lack of respect, though? Possibly. He probably shouldn’t have done it, in hindsight. Yet, it certainly doesn’t make him an embarrassment to the sport. That’s far too harsh.

Leave the bloke alone.

At the end of a day, he’s just a guy who races but happens to like documenting what he does. He is still a role model for the sport, regardless.




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