Mark Hughes, Lewis Hamilton and a load of tweets

There’s a lot that’s said behind closed doors. Take Mitt Romney for example. When the Presidential candidate spoke of the 47% of American foodstamp dependent ‘victims’, he spoke freely in the apparent comfort of a Republican fundraising event.

The Formula 1 paddock may not reflect politics in the traditional sense, but like the House of Lords, operates on a platform of privilege, power and a certain disconnect with the ‘real world’.

Closed shops really don’t like people breaking the door down; especially when they’ve come with intentions of becoming the landlord. Six years ago Lewis Hamilton arrived with that very intention — that is, an unstinting desire to win. And that was fine for a while, until that desire threatened to permanently upset the apple cart. In the overtly classist bastion of elite motor sport, Hamilton sees himself as having no inherent right to win, but sees winning as the only matter of course. He also tweets every now again, with a stream featuring a smidgen of colloquial shorthand and shout-outs to his friends.

None of which has gone down to well amongst a fraternity with traditions of received pronunciation, nepotism and drivers moving over for their teammates.

The twitter issue has provided inspiration for Autosport’s Grand Prix Editor Mark Hughes in his September 13 Pit & Paddock Comment piece. A somewhat creative work of fiction, Hughes fabricates a ‘conversation’ between Lewis Hamilton and his 2013 boss at Mercedes.

The article you’re about to read isn’t about literal closed doors – as in the Romney case – but more metaphoric. In fact the doors couldn’t have been more wide open than in Autosport – a motorsport magazine published by Haymarket Media Group, with a weekly English circulation of 50,000 copies.

This is not Ali G in in a racing car, but a columnist with a vivid imagination, too much time on his hands and an audience of familiar friends. Listen closely; you might learn something:


Autosport | September 13 2012 | P19 | Comment – Pit & Paddock | by Mark Hughes | Original article here


So, at Valencia in February 2013, Lewis Hamilton tries this year’s Formula 1 Mercedes for the first time, with Ross Brawn in eager attendance, keen to know what the world’s fastest driver makes of the car that Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have struggled with in 2012. After an installation lap, Lewis is straight back out there for a flat-out 15-lap stint. He trails back, cuts the engine, and the whole team is listening in as Ross Brawn begins to download him.

“So Lewis, how bad is it?”

There’s a pause, then Lewis begins his appraisal.

“I ain’t givin’ you no shit, yo low speed grip be a big hit. But I gotta, let ya know that yo aero is low and yo tyre deg be neg.”

“I’m not altogether sure what you’re talking about Lewis. Are you saying you believe the F1 W03 is deficient in high-speed aero?”

“Yo, the man Ross, he ain’t stu-pid, the knowledge and him they be cu-pid. He kno how I speak as the info does leak, it just needs him to see how I is freak-ed.”

“Well, that’s quite an interesting observation for your first run, Lewis. I know that Nico said all along he thinks the car is mechanically very good. But he’s felt that its high-speed aero is inconsistent.”

“You know my man Nico he’s my good friend. Our harmony will last past the week-end. I ain’t sayin’ he a fool, but talking all that shit, he aint usin’ the tool. He just got to learn how to de-fend.”

“I see. So you believe that with this car you would have been able to take advantage of the new-tyre grip to get grid position and then defend and retain position as the grip deteriorated?”


So you think you will be able to maintain more momentum in the high-speed oversteer corners?” Because from what I’ve seen from Nico and Michael we very evenly developed in that department, as if they were both able to easily access what was there. It was in the low-speed speed corners where Nico was finding the edge. I was thinking if we could give them a car that had much more aero grip, it would be more interesting to see where the limits of each were then, and whether Michael could actually have an edge there.”

“Yo kno Ross that I like you – aye? But I find that Mike he’s a slow guy. He ain’t rapidly trippin’ the songs he was drippin’ – way back in the day when he hi-fly.”

“Well there could be something in that, Lewis. But could we be more specific?”

“I think this Merc need the big wheels, all chrome and fat be the real deal. Yo get more rear-end grip and we’re not looking so slick and I’ll drive like a mofo and we’ll get real.”

“But we’re limited by regulation on the wheel widths, Lewis.”

“I say we take our legal muscles to Brussels, campaign for us human rights. Have them legal vultures say we got grounds that be culture.”

“Well, we could try that Lewis. But in the meantime I think we’ll make up time on the McLaren’s with our pitstops.”

“Yeah, ain’t that the truth, the McLaren stops they go hipp-idy-hopp-idy-hibbidy.”

“Well yes, they seem to have had a few problems. Could I ask what you thought about our double DRS?”

“You doublin’ the troublin’ man. You switch that flow off the front wing – the drag is tres bon, but grip won’t switch on. Yo get in the turn, the front tyre do burn, then grip-up and won’t let you re-turn.”

Et cetera…

7 responses to “Mark Hughes, Lewis Hamilton and a load of tweets”

  1. There is a time and place for all things and everyone knows that the way we speak-write depends on the context and what we are comfortable with at any given moment. That said, Mark Hughes is in no position to police language and is apparently too much of a coward to say what he really wants to say about Lewis Hamilton – he instead takes an excursion into fantasy since how he depicted Lewis Hamilton has nothing to do with how the man actually speaks. The fact that Mark Hughes constructs and fabricates Lewis Hamilton’s mode of communication via text messaging, then pitches it as the norm, particularly during interviews with major sponsors is racist.

    Hughes concocts and decontextualizes Hamilton’s mode of speaking precisely to embed in our collective psyches the stereotype of how individuals of the African Diaspora speak and act thereby attempting to shape our worldview of “Blackness” in static terms that promote the racist ideology of white supremacy. During the imaginary interview, Hughes acts as if he is the superior, more educated intellectual who is struggling to translate the responses to questions asked of Hamilton. What is more frightening than Halloween for Hughes is the reality of being surrounded by an increasingly diverse population that does not privilege the Queen’s English and grammatical style, and does not pay homage to anyone who aspires to such an archaic speech pattern.

    Instead of embracing difference, Hughes chooses to distort and depict differences -linguistic or otherwise as primitive, ignorant, and something to be loathed and feared. How must it be for someone like Hughes to feel so threatened by the African Diaspora everywhere he goes in the world? Scary stuff eh’? Hughes’ imaginary encounter with Black life and culture via Lewis Hamilton is perpetuating racism, out of fear of what Public Enemy described as “a Black Planet” and as Parliament’s “Chocolate City” lyrics imply, we, the disenfranchised, marginalized masses are indeed, “gainin on ya!” Hughes wants it all to stop: the gains, the sponsorships, endorsements, the wins, and accolades, but it don’t stop won’t stop. We cannot fail to consider the psychic and symbolic violence that Mark Hughes is doing every time such a twisted sense of reality flows from his computer keys or his mouth.

    People like Hughes devalue Black speech patterns and miss the multitude of richness that is heard and understood throughout the African Diaspora. I celebrate diverse ways of speaking in the African Diaspora and understand the historical significance of such language practices as a tool of survival. In short, Hughes is a hater who obviously has nothing to say, which is why he so rudely disseminated his own fantasies about Hamilton, to liven up the dull dish he serves in his writing to render himself relevant. Thank you for writing this piece Ansel!

  2. I think it’s important for us to be able to see how these issues can and do affect our lives and be able to effectively challenge racism and other issues when seen. However, we should maintain our eyes on the end game which, should be our / my / your victory. The key is being able to challenge the status quo from a position of power not from being a victim. No one is going to hand you respect, you have to first become someone worth respecting. This I feel is the challenge we face. As for the article specifically. It reminds me of the writings of a school bully shared amongst his cronies, private in-jokes designed to hurt and defame someones character. You know what they say about bullies; they’re the ones hurting the most – consumed by hate and jealousy. In all honesty, it’s more sad than vicious. Pray for him. Mark Hughes I mean. Good day friends.

  3. Wow! As much as I am disgusted by this I can’t honestly say I am that surprised.
    Racism is sadly a fact of life, it is here, it has always been here and it is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future . However , racism manifests itself in many different guises, some instances are cloaked in what is presented to us as ‘humour’. There is nothing funny about racism. There is also nothing funny about apathy. So, what are WE going to do about this?

  4. I am very impressed with the character, quality and insight of Ansel and the very erudite responders to this closeted buffoon’s attempt to dehumanize a man who obviously works hard to excel at his chosen craft. It really is the only way that they can fight back; and by they, I mean unconscious bigots. This so-called imaginative piece is an outright dismissal of the talents and efforts of a great sportsman; an attempt to have him appear less than civilized, ergo less human. I don´t care how this journalist tries to justify or discount his creation, there is something sinister lurking under his psyche. Maya Angelou, once said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” Mr. Hughes, you cannot peddle your way back from this dark creek, (pun intended). We see you and we believe you. As my mother used to say, “How dare you twist your mouth!”

  5. Where to begin? I read this cringe worthy ‘skit’ and found it really offensive. I’m sure Autosport Magazine lost no sleep in publishing such material, however, they are a part of the mainstream media and with that they should conduct themselves with a certain responsibility. The article clearly had the potential to be perceived as racist AND classist, and therefore offend, yet it still found it’s way to magazine shelves nationwide and from there, into the realms of acceptable mainstream banter. Mark Hughes was ‘comfortable’ putting this kind of rubbish out into the public domain, to the detriment of minorities and the ‘discomfort’ of all socially educated folks who read it (black and white alike). Where do we draw a line?, is it suddenly okay for a boss to engage an employee of colour in an Ali G style dialogue for a laugh because numpties like Mark Hughes go unchallenged in distorting reality and therefore people’s perceptions in such a grotesque fashion! Mark Hughes saw no issue with writing such base and offensive material and there in, lies the problem. In the last bastion of elitist sport, fungi like Mr Hughes, thrive. For People like Mr Huges, Hamilton’s success is hard to swallow, so like a particularly nasty kind of bacteria, he instead sets about eroding Hamilton’s name and legacy and gets paid to do so!!

    If I was really being kind (which I’m not), I would say that his ink-well had run dry and he had resorted in desperation to writing a ‘humorous’ article without really thinking it through. A majority of Autosport Magazine’s target market would have chortled to themselves on reading it, secure in the comfort of being one of a majority who will probably never face racial abuse in the street with their children in tow, or be randomly attacked because of the colour of their skin. If they had experienced these extra challenges in life, would they have found the same skit funny?, probably not. Mr Hughes has done the journalistic equivalent of blacking up! What next?, maybe Jake Humphrey and David Coulthard could do the same, black up for one their funny little sketches and see how that goes down with the BBC viewers! Unlike TV, magazines are a quieter form of media and maybe more suited to the hushed tones of racism, who knows? My highest hope for this sad little episode is that Mark Hughes reads these comments or somebody else’s and realises, in his soul, that he has offended decent people. I’d like to think that its decent people who are the majority in Britain, you don’t have to be a certain skin colour or class to be counted as one. You just have to be… what’s the word? Decent.

  6. If he asks lewis for and interview i hope lewis gives him a f….r right in the jaw, totally disrespectful atitude to one of the worlds great drivers

  7. who the hell is Mark Hughes to depict Lewis Hamilton as a half wit? it’s a good job Lewis doesn’t read or take notice of such tripe. when someone can dehumanize a person in such a way it normally points to a lack of self esteem in the writer lol diverts from his own shortcomings and shows distinct jealousy of another’s great talent. leave Lewis alone he stands by his decision to join Mercedes and I really hope they go out there and show the haters just how brilliant they are. the team is great as is Lewis. it’s not in his DNA to be a loser and he will do everything in his power to win with a great or an inferior car!! just watch him Mr Hughes cos I am really angry with his idiotic article

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