David Coulthard reveals why Lewis Hamilton is unpopular with Brits ahead of F1 season

David Coulthard reveals why Lewis Hamilton is unpopular with Brits ahead of F1 season

It must irk him a bit that virtually the entire Australian nation will be willing the world champion to slip up in Melbourne, and that the folks back home probably won't shed crocodile tears if Hamilton fails Down Under either.

According to Channel 4 pundit and former Formula 1 champion, David Coulthard, Brits seem to prefer a homely heavyweight like Anthony Joshua who still lives at home with his mum, rather than a superstar born in Stevenage who has opted for a tax exile existence in Monte Carlo, to name just one of the other places he calls home, and plans to live in Colorado when he retires.

Envy could also play a part, especially if he starts with another £120million in his bank account from the new contract Mercedes are prepared to fork out to secure his services again whatever happens this season.

"Maybe they can't relate to Lewis," Coulthard concedes. "He is a special talent who embraces his Britishness, but he has a private side and can be a bit divisive."

But be that as it may, Hamilton will probably be in pole position next weekend, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel - runner up last year, four times former F1 champion, and winner of last season's Australian Grand Prix - once again hard on his heels. And the bookies alternative tip for the title.

Coulthard also expects Finland's Valtteri Bottas to be a serious contender, benefitting particularly from spending last season as Mercedes No 2 alongside Hamilton.

"He is the ultimate spy in the camp," said the Scot. "Bottas will be better this year because he has had that time to reflect and see how Hamilton delivers.

"He probably found it frustrating because Lewis doesn't like practice and it must be thoroughly frustrating for him because he just always seems that little bit better."

To be fair the Aussies are understandably rooting for their local boy, Daniel Ricciardo, who was four places below Hamilton last season, but is viewed as one of the outsiders capable of mounting a serious challenge for his crown this time.

Coulthard does not deny that he would not be too upset if the Western Australian gets off to a flying, and winning, start next Sunday.

"Ricciardo can win," he claims. His car (Red Bull) is much better developed now.

"It would be fantastic for the sport if he can win. It would be an awesome start for him to be up there on the podium with Lewis and Vettel," he added.

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