May 24 (GMM) Unlike at some points in the past, Lewis Hamilton is not currently enjoying a rose-tinted road in the popularity stakes.
Once heralded as typifying British multiculturalism, talent and success, the reigning world champion is now often derided for his personality, faded on-track fortunes and an image badly dented by the 'lie-gate' saga.In 2009, it is Britain's new championship favourite Jenson Button that is the darling of the press and public and who can do no wrong."Right now in the popularity stakes Button is thrashing him," commentator Martin Brundle wrote in his latest Sunday Times column.But Brawn's 29-year-old Button, recently an uncomplaining occupant of underperforming cars, does not believe it is Hamilton's struggling McLaren that is the main source of Hamilton's status shift."He's had two years in formula one in a very quick car, and now he's not in a quick car. But I don't think that's getting him down so much, because he's done well if you compare him with his teammate Heikki Kovalainen," Button, on pole for Sunday's Monaco grand prix, said."I think the press he had after what happened in Australia probably hurts him more than the performance of his car," he added.Indeed, it is Hamilton's inconsistencies with the media, including refusing to speak openly with reporters at recent races, that is inspiring the negativity, former McLaren driver Brundle believes."I learnt the hard way many years ago, when I finally joined a front-running team, that you have to be yourself, because when you try to be someone you think 'they' would want you to be, you simply can't keep up the facade," he said.