World's press slams 2008 title chargers (GMM) F1's two main championship challengers headed from Fuji to Shanghai following the Japanese grand prix amid a wave of press criticism.
The sport's title protagonists at this time of the season are usually being prepared for looming heroism, but their antics at Fuji Speedway has left sections of the media wondering about the credentials of the next champion.
"2008 threatens to exist in the memory as the year of missed opportunities; a wasted championship," Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport charged.
Corriere dello Sport explained: "Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton in Japan continued their desperate attempts to lose the title."
Spain's sports newspaper Marca pointed the finger mainly at Hamilton, who from pole position incurred a penalty, crashed with Massa, and finished the race out of the points.
"History repeats," Marca said, harking back to the Briton's lost 2007 title. "He had the best car and pole position, but was unable to take a back seat to his ego."
Another Spanish newspaper remarked: "(Fernando) Alonso showed that he is without peer, if his car is competitive."
France's Le Parisien dismissed Hamilton and Massa as "young and unstable" challengers, and former McLaren driver Mark Blundell agrees that the pair have displayed a "lack of maturity" at times this year.
1996 world champion Damon Hill told BBC radio's Five Live: "Lewis is impatient to win that first title, but you can't force it."
Even Hamilton's bosses were unimpressed with his overzealous first lap at Fuji Speedway. "Lewis can sometimes be a bit too fiery," Mercedes' Norbert Haug told the German press.
McLaren chief Ron Dennis added: "It would have been nice if Lewis had been a little bit more prudent in the first corner."