Lewis Hamilton: 2013 Driver of the Year
22 December, 2013
Lewis Hamilton has scooped the Grand Prix 247 Formula 1 Driver of the Year for 2013! He narrowly beat Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel to the top prize.
Hamilton defied his critics in 2013 as he thrived in the first year he spent outside the McLaren corporate cocoon, which had nurtured him from his preteens until his mid-twenties, while helping establish Mercedes as a force to be reckoned with by the F1 paddock in the process.
Many slagged off Hamilton for defecting to the Silver Arrows, predicting doom and gloom, those who did should now be eating humble pie because the Briton grew in stature while his former team plummeted to embarrassing lows.
Was it because Hamilton left the Woking outfit that they suffered such a woeful season? Perhaps not, but credit to the 2008 F1 World Champion for his good timing in jumping ship.
At Mercedes he entered a domain obviously dominated by Germans – very foreign and very different for the chap from Stevenage – where Nico Rosberg was the main man, but with Niki Lauda on his side he was soon part of the family and at the end of the day they finished second in the Constructors’ World Championship.
The Mercedes boys and girls, along with good mate Rosberg himself welcomed Hamilton to the fold. Although there were early teething problems, he settled into the team and in Hungary scored his first victory as a Mercedes driver.
This came a few weeks after Hamilton looked set to win the British Grand Prix. He was in the zone all weekend on home soil, supreme in qualifying. He proceeded to take a commanding early lead in the race. Then a Pirelli blowout struck while he was leading comfortably.
The incident happened shortly after the start-finish line which meant a full lap on a shredded left rear, few would have given him any chance of recovering to fourth place, which he promptly did. He then joined the team celebrating Rosberg’s inherited victory. A Champion’s performance, a sportsman through and through.
During the latter half of the season he was the only one to really threaten Red Bull in qualifying. Before each session, with Sebastian Vettel in domination mode, you always felt that Hamilton could give him a good run for his money and often he did. But the Mercedes W04 was no Red Bull RB9…
It was also interesting to note that Rosberg was no slouch, surprisingly fast in fact, and at the start of the season the German was on fire, winning twice. That kind of performance would have stumped most team newcomers, but not Hamilton, who instead upped his game and stuck to his plan. In the end he outscored Rosberg, ending the season stronger of the two – beating him in the final championship standings.
During the course of the season many were confounded by Hamilton’s new ‘best friend’ routine with Fernando Alonso – the two having clashed so famously in 2007 as McLaren drivers, yet Hamilton was always ‘bigging up’ the Spaniard. It was a no doubt a ploy to try and destabilise a rampant Vettel. It did not work, but kudos to Hamilton for really scraping the barrel to obtain alternative ammo, and possibly creating an alliance of sorts, which could still play in his favour in years to come.
In the end Mercedes did not give either of their drivers the tools to beat Red Bull, but they did come close, they were best of the rest and no doubt will get there one day. But for now credit to them for upping their game and establishing themselves as a title contending team, and a big dollop of thanks for this must go to Hamilton.
Off track Roscoe was an interesting addition to Hamilton’s entourage, while the absence of homies in the pit garage was a relief and although affairs of the heart were worn on his sleeve they did not seem to affect his on track form.
Perhaps the best way to understand Hamilton is to accept that despite being 28 years old he is now living an unspent youth in fast forward, he wants to be the coolest nerd on a F1 grid full of nerds. Hence the tattoos, Twitter rants, Instagram selfies, rap wannabe lifestyle, gangsta shades and the naive Pussycat Dolls relationship dramas. We should indulge him these fads.
On track, where he does his real business, Hamilton is the best of the best. In Gilles Villeneuve style he will drive whatever you give him blisteringly quickly, no holds barred and he adds to that ethos by being a great racer with a big heart, which he allows all to see beating.
Lewis is ‘The Dude’ and without him Formula 1 would be a lot duller and for sure a lot poorer – race wins beckon, Championships beckon – and in 2013 he provided the entertainment which made Vettel’s quadruple title rampage bearable. Thank you Lewis, our Driver of the Year!
Our previous Drivers of the Year:
- 2012 Driver of the Year was Kimi Raikkonen
- 2011 Driver of the Year was Sebastian Vettel
- 2010 Driver of the Year was Sebastian Vettel
- 2009 Driver of the Year was Sebastian Vettel
Subbed by AJN.