jackanderton wrote:The hype to begin with was due to his phenomenal early success resulting in two title challenges, beating the world champion in his first season and winning one World Driver's Championship. Fair enough, but yes it was over the top due to him being British and the home boy is destined to get the hype. It was way over the top.
But due to bad cars and Lewis' inconsistency, and fairly dislikable frosty personality a lot of that goodwill has long gone. Add to the mix that Jenson Button has come to the fore as a genuine threat and at the peak of his talent. And is British. NOW, if you ask nearly every British-supporting F1 fan who they want to win, the answer is Jenson Button, but they wouldn't mind if Lewis won because y'know, Britannia and all that. So much for your 'hype'.
While I personally respect and support Button more than Hamilton these days, I still get the feeling that Lewis has more popular support in Britain. I work at a race track and note that if someone turns up wearing any F1 merchandise, its invariably McLaren (of course) and usually Hamilton. At Spa last year I noticed that if someone was wearing a McLaren cap it would usually say Lewis on the side, and if they had a flag or a banner it would say "Go Lewis" or "Go Lewis and Jenson" but I don't recall seeing one with just "Go Jenson".
I started working at Thruxton in 2006 so I only have one year to go on, but IIRC in '06 while you would of course see a lot of Button/BAR/Honda merchandise, but you would also get a lot of Ferrari, Renault, McLaren or Williams gear too, and all that changed almost overnight at the 2007 Australian GP. LIke him or loath him, the British media (with a lot of help from the McLaren, Vodafone and Santander marketing departments) have done a far better job of hyping up and selling Lewis Hamilton than they ever did with Jenson, and that continues to this day.
I find that asking my mum is a useful barometer for how the "lay person" in Britain perceives and supports F1, and she still picks Lewis every time, telling her the result this morning she was more disappointed that Hamilton only came third than she was happy that Button won.
I think Button needs to spend a lot more time beating Hamilton before he supplants him as Britains favourite, right now when Jenson beats Lewis the reaction is still "Lewis screwed up" instead of "Button was better".
"Well we've got this ridiculous situation where we're all sitting by the start-finish line waiting for a winner to come past and we don't seem to be getting one!" - James Hunt, Monaco 1982