The headlines say it all: “Can Hamilton become new Muhammad Ali?”, “Can Hamilton be as good as Schumacher?” Both in the upmarket Times.
Lewis Hamilton wins Formula One World Championship
Then it’s back down to earth with a bump: “Cheers and boos for Lewis Hamilton, Britain’s new Formula One champion.” The Times again.
What about a totally positive headline? “A relaxed, funny and balanced champion. Ed Gorman wonders how anyone could dislike Lewis.” Er… also The Times.
Any naysayers here? “He is on top of the world but ‘aloof’ Hamilton is still struggling to win over large sections of the sporting public.” You’ve guessed it: The Times, and all on the same day.
Lewis Hamilton, the youngest Formula One world champion ever, certainly seems to have an image problem. His fellow drivers all but accuse him of being a danger to their lives. Spanish F1 fans spit racist remarks on websites and trackside.
And, yet, Hamilton is set to earn more money than any other sportsman in history — and that includes Tiger Woods.
The race itself was a classic. Hamilton went in seven points ahead, and had to finish at least in fifth place if Felipe Massa won.
Massa was in pole position, while Hamilton was fourth on the grid, his horizons closing in on him.
The Brazilian duly went on to win on his home track. However, disaster struck for Lewis Hamilton when he was relegated to sixth position near the end and all seemed lost.
The Brit stuck to his guns, though, and didn’t give up. On the very last bend he attempted a stabbing overtaking move and finished fifth.
The Ferrari team were already celebrating their man’s victory when the news of Hamilton’s heroics hit them.
The rest is history.