A good friend…

…has taken exception to my comments about Lewis Hamilton and he has expressed disagreement on his blog. But I humbly suggest and refute.

My original comment:

The deal is there is NO big deal about Hamilton. He benefits and loses just like the rest of them… He does not in any shape, form or spirit embody any kind of genius, excellence, or commitment. He is NOT in the league of a Schumacher or a Senna.

Which is why we don’t make a big deal about Kimi or Massa. The TEAM is core and has always been since F1 started… We totally biased FERRARI fans take exception to the deification of a driver who is not exceptional unlike previous Ferrari alumni.

I shall further clarify this, by no means scholastic, but rather off-the-cuff remark aimed at closure.

– “We” refers to the Tifosi, like me.

– “Ferrari alumni” = Michael. Poetic license please.

– The “TEAM” being referred to is only Ferrari. Given that no other marquee has any comparable worth of note to begin with, I certainly am not implying that a Minardi is more loved than the Webber or Alonso who first drove its middling, mediocre cars to greater glory. So, Ferrari as a team is core to the Tifosi and not its drivers. There have been notable exceptions – like Michael Schumacher and I (and might I venture, the Tifosi) swear by him because he came in at a time when – as my friend rightly points out – Ferrari hadn’t won a title in 21 years, and restored glory to the name with 5 consecutive gold medals. He also nearly annihilated the concept of a championship in 2002, which our young Lewis is yet to do. Sadly, however, this is not enough for Schumi to gain acceptance in the book of genius. Let’s agree to disagree on that.

– Another question asked of me was whether I would’ve supported Ferrari had Schumacher left to join another team. Well, yes.

– Also, apparently Schumacher was not a genius because Hakkinen would get the better of him occasionally. By that logic Senna was a pretty ordinary bloke too because Prost and Mansell would occasionally get the better of him!

– Lewis winning races on streets, on circuits, in the wet, outperforming teammates etc? Well, most top drivers in any season do that. I’m deliberately being generic. And really, is Lewis’ mindless last-lap Monza crash being touted as proof of  his determination? I would get him a CAT-scan.

– I was surprised to read statistics of McLaren vs Ferrari. When did I ever imply that Ferrari’s brand name had anything to do with its wins vs any other team? (We have won more races than McLaren, though). The fact remains, any F1 aspirant, incumbent or veteran will throw himself prostrate to get a call from Maranello. Who cared about Heikki-who partnering Lewis this season? Everyone went bananas about Luca Badoer – he’s been a test driver since birth for God’s sake! And now Fisichella – the perennial hopeful. How many media mentions?

– Nowhere is credit being denied to the British wunderkind. Youngest champion, determined, once dated Nicole Scherzinger, etc. Rah-rah. Jokes apart, I do consider him one of the better drivers I have seen in recent times. But not THE best. Please do not do Michael Schumacher OR Ayrton Senna the disservice of comparison. Michael came in to a struggling team, turned it around and stayed loyal. And all this while actively exercising his hunger for winning. And honestly, no one is good enough to repeat a 2002 season again and again. Eventually you have to make way for younger, fitter drivers and that’s what Michael did. When he left did I change my loyalties towards the next genius on the block? No.

Tifosi for life.

Ayrton Senna? Nuff sed.

Lewis is yet to reach those pinnacles of excellence or loyalty.

In conclusion, my friend has his opinion and I have mine. But “genius” is a definition that doesn’t require conjecture and I maintain that Lewis Hamilton has a long way to go before even being considered in the vicinity of that word.

Go ahead and support him. Time will tell if he deserves it.

Me? I don’t care one way or another what he does as long as it is not at Ferrari.

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