Tremayne says Hamilton answered critics with “a champion’s drive”

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Hall of Fame F1 Journalist David Tremayne hails Lewis Hamilton’s “sheer grit that kept him going to the bitter end” at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

In his column, F1 journalist David Tremayne said Lewis Hamilton’s fantastic performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, in spite of severe back pain, has been “a timely riposte” to those who have started questioning his drive, determination and abilities.

“I’ve mentioned here before that one of my favourite quotes was by boxer Jack Dempsey, who once defined a champion as ‘somebody who gets up when they can’t’,” Tremayne wrote.

“I’m sure that Tyson Fury would be well able to explain exactly what that means. And this season, we are watching Lewis having to do just that, with a car that is difficult and uncomfortable to drive.”

Tremayne then acknowledged the tremendous job that George Russell has been doing so far in 2022, but added it doesn’t diminish Hamilton in any way.

“One can look two ways at the fact that George Russell has often been getting the upper hand over his legendary team mate, with generally better qualifying, twice as many podium finishes, and 99 points to Lewis’s 62.

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“By any standard that’s great going from George, but in my book that doesn’t spell the end of the road for Lewis nor, as some the crueller scribes chose to suggest this week, that he is getting ‘past it’.

“Toto Wolff was his usual candid self over the weekend, and pointed out that Lewis has quite happily taken on the role as the one who tries the different components and the different set-ups, and while they sometimes prove beneficial, Mercedes are currently in the situation as they try to make their car behave with the planted grace of a Red Bull or a Ferrari.

“And very often the experiments have led down blind alleys or given only qualified results. That’s racing.

“It seems to have been the case that Lewis’s car behaved less well than George’s last weekend, but you can’t gainsay either man’s commitment or resolve.

“Their struggles have reminded me of Nigel Mansell’s battle with the first turbo-engined Lotus, the 93T, at the Race of Champions back in 1983.

“That was one of the most horrible-handling F1 cars I have ever witnessed, and Nige’s progress with it along the pit straight and the dive down Paddock Bend was the automotive equivalent of alligator wrestling.

“But like George and Lewis on Sunday afternoon, he never gave up. It’s that champion thing, and it always irks me when people belittle those who have it.”

Ultimately, Tremayne strongly praised Lewis’ amazing performance in Baku, which earned him ‘Driver of the Day’ honours.

“I’d say that Lewis’s third-fastest lap on Sunday – 1m 47.044s, to Sergio Perez’s 1m 46.046s and Max Verstappen’s 1m 46.050s, and George’s 1m 47.177s – is a solid enough indication that Lewis has neither given up nor lost his ability to drive quickly, and his overtaking en route to fourth place was his usual patient, clinically well-executed work.

“What was hitherto unseen was the sheer grit that kept him going to the bitter end. I’d call that a champion’s drive,” the Briton concluded.

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