Martin Whitmarsh defends Lewis Hamilton amid criticism

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh threw the equivalent of a fatherly arm around his under-fire driver Lewis Hamilton after Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix stoked further criticism of the Briton's aggressive driving style.

Hamilton drove superbly at times to finish the punishing floodlit street circuit in fifth position, but again his performance was overshadowed by an incident with Ferrari's Felipe Massa.



The Brazilian, who has clashed previously with the 2008 Formula One champion this season, said Hamilton had destroyed his race.



The McLaren clipped Massa's Ferrari while attempting to pass early in the race and Hamilton collected a drive-through penalty for causing the collision.



An enraged Massa clearly felt the penalty had not fit the crime and railed against the Briton, saying the sport's governing body needed to step in because Hamilton drove dangerously and did not think about consequences on the track.



While Hamilton refused to be drawn into a war of words and retreated to his team's motorhome, Whitmarsh came to his defence.



"The truth is there are plenty of people who have spoken to me already who have a different view," Whitmarsh said of the manoeuvre.



"I think you have to take some risk in overtaking. And he (Hamilton) is a driver who wants to overtake in a hurry. Now, after the event he'll regret that and wish he'd backed out of it and waited for another three corners or whatever.



"The fact is, it happened. It was right or wrong. After that he drove an immaculate race and he shouldn't have had to have the penalty or his front wing knocked off.



"He shouldn't have lost places at the start. In sport and life things go well and go badly for you, I think it went badly."





PLENTY OF LOVE



Hamilton, who has repeatedly had to defend his aggressive style while also making regular trips to the stewards, and Massa have been at odds since the Monaco Grand Prix in May.



The two collided in that race, with Massa retiring.



The Brazilian, who lost out to Hamilton by a single point in the 2008 championship, called on the FIA after that race to teach the Briton a lesson "or he will not learn".



Whitmarsh, though, stressed that what appears to be a simmering feud, was nothing personal.



"They have been friends, they've been enemies. You know what it's like amongst drivers," he said, adding that his man had the team's full support.



"Lewis is having plenty of love from the team. I have known him since he was 11 and I have seen him go through great moments of elation and of achievement and in areas of disappointment.



"Naturally there is a big affinity between him and myself and various other members in this team.



"Undeniably this year has not been a good one for Lewis Hamilton, he's still got five races and he will regroup and try to win them."



The drivers' championship is all-but won by Singapore race winner Sebastian Vettel on 309 points. Hamilton sits in fifth with 168, behind second-placed McLaren team mate Jenson Button (185), Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (184) and Red Bull's Mark Webber (182).



"We'll have conversations within the team, we'll have conversations with Lewis," Whitmarsh said. "But those we will have in private.



"The fact is, he is an extraordinary racing driver and he will win again this year, of that I am sure, and he is going to be world champion again. I'm confident of that."



Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence