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DATE News (chronologically)
06/23/08
f1
Lewis Hamilton called prima donna
(GMM) Despite Lewis Hamilton's griping about recent media "negativity", the British press stepped up the pressure after the McLaren driver on Sunday failed for a second consecutive race to score a point.

Fleet Street analysts of the Magny-Cours race criticised the 23-year-old not only for his run to tenth place due to "impetuousity" that netted him a drive-through penalty, but also for his apparent loss of composure in the French circuit's paddock.

"Lewis Hamilton turned into Le Sulk ... as he sparked a witch-hunt controversy," the Daily Mail wrote, after the Briton initially refused to speak to the media but then blasted F1 officials for penalising him for his illegal passing move on Sebastian Vettel.

The Times called France his "lowest of the low points", as Hamilton succumbed to yet more errors but then hit out at the "crap" being written about him by the very reporters he was addressing.

"There's a lot of crap coming out. That's what they do: build you up and then break you down, but they can't break me," he said.

"Regardless of what's written in the papers, I will go back to the workshop, push with the team, focus on the next race and hit 'em hard. There is nothing you can do that can distract me," Hamilton added.

The Daily Express was not amused with Hamilton's assessment, dismissing it as "completely wrong" and captioning a photo of him with the words "Off in a huff".

The newspaper argues that "Troubled times have come for Lewis Hamilton", and the Daily Telegraph agrees: "If discretion is the better part of valour, Hamilton could do with a dose".

The Daily Mail ran with the by-line: "Lewis on road from polite to prima donna", and the Evening Standard also hit out at Hamilton's initial refusal to talk to the press on Sunday.

"It is surely not too much to ask, given his pay of at least $20 million a year -- especially considering that he shows no such reticence on a red carpet".

The newspaper added that Hamilton's "image of sporting integrity is in danger of exploding for lack of sound advice", and that "this sudden persecution complex and petulance does him no service".

"He needs to take responsibility for his mistakes."

The Daily Mail did not even side with the latest "unspoken gripe" by McLaren chiefs that the FIA is always quick to apply penalties to the occupants of the silver cars.

"Dennis and Mosley do not get on, it is true, but the British team must deal in facts rather than look for scapegoats," the newspaper wrote.

Attitude aside, the British press was also unimpressed with Hamilton's performance at Magny-Cours.

The Times said his illegal pass on Vettel was an "overaggressive" moment of "adrenaline-fuelled impetuosity".

"You cannot criticise a racer for racing," The Daily Telegraph wrote. "However, with better judgment in Canada and France he might still be leading the championship.

"Hamilton had to go for it but he might wish he had followed his teammate Kovalainen's example and not tried to make up all the ground in the opening lap."
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