When it’s time to review the 2008 F1 season, it is possible that Lewis Hamilton’s rear-end shunt of Kimi Raikkonen in the Montreal pit lane will be viewed as the pivotal moment when he threw away the World Championship.
Many people would be knocked back by a mistake of these proportions. However, Lewis is reportedly showing signs of the mental toughness that is a prerequisite for world championship winners and putting last weekend’s debacle behind him.
His mind is said to be fixed firmly on the challenges of Magny-Cours and how he might overcome his ten-place grid penalty and win.
But he did have a little gripe about the stewards’ decision first, calling it harsh and saying the red-light rule was silly.
He said: “It’s a bit harsh. I didn’t aim to ruin anyone’s race. The rule is silly. We are in the race, how can you red light at the end of the pit-lane? But that’s the rule and I accept it.
“This will make no difference, it hasn’t knocked me confidence-wise. I’m not gutted or disappointed.
“I had two guys in front of me and suddenly they have stopped as I have looked at the red light. But you can’t win them all. This makes me stronger.
“Going forward, the mood is strong. The fact is, we destroyed everyone. With the car we have right now, there is no stopping us. It is not going to take me a day to recover or anything. I am really looking forward to Magny-Cours.”
McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh said that the team had warned Hamilton about the possibility of a red light at the end of the pit lane. But he was careful to avoid being seen to criticise his driver too overtly.
He qualified the remark by saying that maybe the warning could have been given more promptly.
On his chances at Magny-Cours, Hamilton said: “It’s going to be tough, and we know we are already on the back foot.
“But knowing the pace and momentum we had in Canada, it just shows anything can happen.
“We will push as hard as we can to do the job, and it doesn’t matter if it is early or the last race, just so long as we get it done.”
Mental toughness is a great thing. But it’s going to be a tall order.