Coulthard: Hamilton now more ‘magnanimous’ in defeat
Former Grand Prix driver David Coulthard believes Lewis Hamilton is now “much calmer” in defeat than he was in the past.
Hamilton’s tenure at the top of Formula 1 with Mercedes has gone unrivaled since 2014, save for his defeat in the championship at the hands of teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016.
But this season, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has seized the upper hand in the title fight, with the Dutchman enjoying a clean sweep in F1’s recent triple-header that has put him 32 points ahead of Hamilton in the Driver’s standings.
Yet, despite Hamilton’s successive defeats, Coulthard says he’s witnessed a change lately – for the better – in the seven-time world champion’s demeanor.
“What I’ve observed, if you look at the last couple of races which he’s lost, he’s been much calmer and much more magnanimous in defeat than we’ve seen,” Coulthard said.
“Sometimes when he was beaten by Nico [Rosberg] when they were teammates, he would be a bit chippy, he would be a bit dummy in the dust and a bit spoiled child, multi-millionaire racing driver.
“I’ve not seen that. What I’ve seen is an elegance, I’ve seen a confidence, I’ve seen a different Lewis in this challenge.”
Read also: Verstappen ‘keeping Hamilton interested’ in F1, says Button
Coulthard’s good friend Jenson Button recently said that he felt Hamilton was actually having fun battling Verstappen, suggesting that the Red Bull driver was keeping his nemesis “interested” in F1.
The Channel 4 commentator echoed the 2009 world champion’s view, agreeing that this year’s difficult challenge provided Hamilton with the incentive he needed to extend his F1 career.
“I think that he is truly relishing the challenge,” added Coulthard. “Of course he wants a title, who doesn’t? Of course he wants to win, who doesn’t? But he’s done so much winning.
“I think that the fact that he’s signed up for another two years, he is just so motivated by the challenge.
“I think that Max Verstappen and Red Bull this year have extended his career, I truly believe that, because if he doesn’t win it this year, I don’t think he’ll go off into the winter crying his heart out.
“I think he’ll go ‘you know what, as a team we didn’t deliver, how can we do better next year?’
“I just think he’s such a pure-bred racer – the way he’s been brought up by his family, total focus, total dedication.
“I think he loves it, I truly do, and I think the fact that he’s not winning right now is extending his career.”
However, given Mercedes and Hamilton’s deficit in their respective championship, Coulthard believes the pair will have their back to the wall at Silverstone this week and will need “to deliver” come Sunday.
“It feels a little bit like Mercedes have to deliver this weekend, it feels like Lewis has to deliver this weekend, because Max is not scared of anyone,” said the Scot.
“He’s a natural born winner, he is on the crest of a wave right now, and he’s not going to be fazed by lots of Union Jacks.
“But I do think that Lewis is someone who does respond in a Nigel Mansell way to home support, I truly believe it can lift him.”
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