Why Lewis Hamilton Will Not Leave McLaren

Paige Michael-ShetleyCorrespondent IApril 10, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 05:  The drivers helmet of Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes is seen in his team garage before the start of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 5, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Numerous media reports in recent days since the Malaysian Grand Prix suggest that Lewis and Anthony Hamilton are upset with McLaren over the "Lie-gate" controversy, with perhaps irreparable damage done to their relationship.

Presumably, they are angry that McLaren have immersed into scandal after scandal in recent years and are worried about the effect on Lewis' reputation.

The question of whether or not he will stay with McLaren has been the topic du jour in the off week for Formula One, the period in which fans itch strenuously for something to talk about. 

It's all talk. Lewis Hamilton simply will not leave McLaren, the team which has supported his rise to F1 stardom. 

Firstly, this is not the first time Hamilton has been at odds with the team. He had a dispute with McLaren in 2004 while a development driver, and the two sides temporarily went their separate ways. They eventually reunited, as we know.

Thus, Hamilton and McLaren have a history of patching up differences. 

The main reason why Hamilton will not leave, however, is because he is a prideful driver. His true worth as a driver has been questioned by critics, who assert that he was fed with a proverbial bright, shiny, and fast silver spoon.

Now, his detractors have additional ammo to fire at him with questions about his character and integrity. 

Lewis Hamilton simply isn't a driver who runs away from challenges. He has dealt with more criticism and hardship than perhaps any driver at his experience level in the history of F1.

His team was disqualified from the 2007 constructor's championship due to corporate espionage. Hamilton dealt with intra-team turmoil in the soured relationship with his double-world champion teammate, Fernando Alonso, a feud that dominated the headlines and served as a sure distraction to the both of them.

His ability to respond under pressure was questioned after his undignified conclusion to the 2007 F1 season, in which he cocked up his championship season with stupid driving. Hamilton has even had to deal with a kind of negative force no other driver on the grid has had to: racism—ugly forms of it at that. 

The questions about his ability to deliver under pressure resurfaced and intensified after the even more undignified incident in the pit lane at the Canadian Grand Prix, in which he took himself and Kimi Raikkonen out after not seeing the red light to stop the cars.

Many believed that, while gifted, Lewis Hamilton simply didn't have the mental fortitude to be a great driver and a World Champion. 

Then the 2008 British Grand Prix occurred, and Hamilton took the opportunity to put on perhaps the greatest display of car control and wet weather racing in the history of Formula One. 

The questions rose again after his wanker start to the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, in which he forced himself and Raikkonen (again) up the track and took both out of contention for the win. Many believed that Hamilton, again, would blow a late-season championship lead. 

Then the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix occurred, and he laid a royal ass-whooping on the rest of the grid. 

Hamilton faced more pressure last season than most drivers face in an entire career. He could have shirked from the challenge, competed only when the car was good for him, and been content to take a big paycheck and run off to the Canary Islands with Nicole.

Instead, he trained harder than perhaps any other driver in F1, gave every single ounce of effort within him every lap he was behind the wheel, and displayed the focus and mental strength of legends. He faced a significant challenge, and he met with seemingly ferocious enthusiasm. 

Lewis Hamilton knows the challenge he has before him.

He is in an underdeveloped car that currently lags behind the top competition Formula One. He has lost immense amounts of credibility and damaged his reputation greatly, and he has a hell of a fight to redeem himself. He knows that this is the time for him to prove his true worth as a driver and to demonstrate he is someone of quality character. 

No driver who beats the field by more than one minute in horridly wet conditions at Silverstone would ever back down from such a challenge.