Lewis Hamilton had a few fans booing at the F1 in London event and perhaps that’s because 19 of the 20 drivers, all the teams, sponsors and heads of state were at this event—and event, that let’s face it, was a bit of a command performance for the entire F1 paddock.
Regardless, I’ve also made the argument many times that Lewis does more than all the other drivers combined in promoting his brand and F1 on social media and around the world. To be fair to Lewis, where were all the other drivers when he was making the rounds on morning talk shows here in the US to promote the US Grand Prix?
I want to be fair to Lewis here but the flip side of this coin is to know the gravity of the event and honestly, this kind of thing was tailor-made for a guy like Lewis who has such a passion for fan adulation and interaction.
Lewis offered his thoughts on missing the event.
“everyone had the right to make the decision for themselves”.
“I felt that it had been a pretty intense season so far and I needed to prepare the best way I could this weekend,” said Hamilton, who is seeking a fourth straight British GP win.
“The season is the most important thing for me and that is really it. People can have opinions about it.
“It is a very intense season, I am trying to prepare the best way I can for the battle ahead of me.
“I don’t feel yesterday played any role in how great this weekend will be.
“It has been growing every year, people save up so much to come up to this grand prix – you will see how much I appreciate and respect that.”
When pressed for more comments, he said:
“I feel like I’ve answered as much as I really want to.
“I am solely focused on this weekend. I feel great being here.
“I feel the best prepared I can be. That is all I can say really.”
The immediate juxtaposition of this incredibly tight championship would be that Sebastian Vettel is the other guy under the pressure of a title fight and he made time to show up. The opposition could argue that he needed too be there given his Baku incident and re-building some fan love is important for him. That may be true but the crowd cheered him on the stage and that isn’t what you would have expected if they were still outraged by his Baku bust up.
Regardless, I try to see both sides but it is a bit of a brand equity issue at this point for Lewis be it fair or not. Perception is a big deal in any equation and right now, Lewis sent a message and the perception, be it right or wrong, is that he should have been there. Drivers teams and the F1 owners said it too so don’t take my word for it.
Hat Tip: Autosport