Hamilton F1 whipping boy

McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton powers his car during a practice session for the Indian...

McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton powers his car during a practice session for the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International circuit in Greater Noida, India, Oct. 28, 2011. (AFP/Prakash SINGH)

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 PM ET

TORONTO - Has there ever been a Formula One champion, past or present, who has been criticized as much as Lewis Hamilton?

His every move seems to be dissected a hundred times over by those both inside and outside of the F1 travelling circus.

At the Grand Prix of India this past weekend his collision with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa was judged as the work of an incompetent driver, before any of the facts were studied.

When the incident was looked at in replays, it was obvious that it was a racing incident and that Hamilton bore no blame.

Yet Hamilton was so used to being blamed for everything unfortunate that has happened to the McLaren squad this season that he apologized to the team, believing it must have been his fault this time as well.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said Hamilton is too hard on himself.

“I’ve told him that on several occasions. I have said: ‘Don’t apologize, you’re a racing driver. If you’ve made a mistake accept it, learn from it and move on.’”

Hamilton should take heed.

F1 needs him to bounce back to provide it with a rival for Sebastian Vettel over at Red Bull.

JUNIOR REVELS IN SHORT TRACK WRECKFEST

In the aftermath of the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt Jr., couldn’t keep the smile off of his face.

It was one of the few times in the past several seasons that Earnhardt took the gloves off and beat on several of his competitors at the half-mile Virginia oval.

And he wasn’t the least bit sorry.

“I mean, come on man ... everybody that I think I ran over got me back accidentally in one shape or form,” he said. “I don’t know if they think we are all even but I ain’t really worried about it.

“If they want to come at me, come at me. But I had fun and this is short track racing and we don’t do as much short track racing anymore so when you see this kind of thing, you are like ‘whoa, what’s going on’, because we run on these mile-and-a-halfs and you don’t see that kind of crap.”

Earnhardt would love to see more short tracks on the NASCAR schedule.

“I think this kind of racing is exciting and people really yearn to see that style of racing, not all the time obviously, but a little more often than what we have,” he said. “Please, build some more short tracks, we need some more short tracks.”

For the time being he said he’ll just enjoy what happened on Sunday.

“The season is running down and we are not going to be racing much longer and I am going to miss it so I came to the buffet and got everything I could eat.”

NASCAR JUSTICE, TONY STEWART STYLE

Tony Stewart, who is knocking on the door of his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship this season, thinks that drivers who have issues on the track should settle those differences the “old-fashion way” by duking it out in the garage after races.

His outburst came after he won the wreckfest otherwise known at the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

“NASCAR is going to have to at some point make these drivers be responsible for their actions amongst each other and not baby sit and not protect these guys,” Stewart said. “Let them get their butt kicked. That’s what used to happen in the old days. You didn’t have guys dumping each other and taking cheap shots like that.”


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