'Hamilton megastar of generation' - Brundle
6 March 2009 – Martin Brundle has hailed reigning champion Lewis Hamilton as being the 'megastar' of his generation. The driver-turned-commentator, who joins moves from ITV to the BBC's team this season, also admitted that he can understand why some would dislike the Herefordshire-born star.
Brundle, F1 driver between 1984 and 1996, drove for the McLaren team in 1994. "Losing the title by one point in 2007 after having blown such a big advantage must have been gnawing away at him, and the fear of losing it again in 2008 was a massive pressure for such a young man. Now, at the age of twenty-four, he can flourish and develop without the need to prove his ability," he explained to the BBC.
Like all F1 champions, Hamilton also has his critics, as Brundle admits: "It's the judgement calls at critical times that he must fine tune. There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance and he bumps right up against it without understanding why. This approach doesn't always make him universally popular. That is okay as long as what goes around comes around and you can take as good as you give."
Hamilton's decending on the sport in 2007 undoubtly attracted streams of new fans to Formula One, which his compatriot recognises: "He has been a good world champion for the sport and has played the part, said the right things, and been very visible over the winter in F1's off season." At times in 2008 we also witnessed lurid moments from the Englishman during races; Brundle stressed: "He had the championship in his pocket at the Japanese Grand Prix but when Kimi Räikkönen beat him off the line, he just blitzed it at Turn 1 and got it all wrong. The instinctive racer in him created havoc and threw the race away. He's got to stop that little crazy person on his shoulder taking control in the heat of the moment."
As Lewis looks to defend his Formula One title, the popular broadcaster is optimistic there is a very bright future ahead of the champion: "There is always one driver who is the megastar of their generation. Hamilton should be that person just as Schumacher, Hakkinen, Senna and many others were before him. But we are talking tiny percentages here, and he will have to keep one eye in the mirror because his main rivals won't be too far behind."