Arrogant is a relative term to be used on an athlete. Every athlete has a certain air of arrogance when presented in a certain situation. Sometimes, there are cases where the arrogance shapes their personality. In other times, the arrogance is just an act when the athlete actually displays a different side to themselves. F1 drivers are not immune to the arrogance bug either.
There have been numerous F1 drivers who could be perceived as arrogant in their actions and personality. But then again, it is a very relative term so here is who we think are the most arrogant F1 drivers.
1976 F1 world champion, James Hunt was the darling of the British public. But his playboy-esque antics and ‘ballsy’ interviews practically screamed arrogance. According to former F1 commentator Murray Walker, He could be charmingly endearing at times. Although at other times he could be extremely rude and unpleasant, overbearing and arrogant.
Even the 2013 movie ‘Rush’ showcased Hunt’s swashbuckling personality and his arrogance. However, it made him who he was and was part of his persona and charm. It made Hunt, Hunt.
This entry is highly disputable because a section of fans who are not fond of Hamilton will claim that he is arrogant. On the other hand, Hamilton’s devoted fans will claim the opposite is true. Back in 2011, 1992 F1 champion Nigel Mansell said that Hamilton has an attitude problem. Another F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart also branded Lewis Hamilton as “arrogant”.
Mansell said, “He needs to get his head in a better place. You have to manage your car better than Lewis has done on too many occasions this season. Too many times he has positioned his car where he has caused an incident.”
Another driver that is often accused of being arrogant is Max Verstappen. In fact, F1 legends like Niki Lauda have even branded him as arrogant. Verstappen often got involved in arguments with his fellow drivers in his early days.
Verstappen has been criticised by some of his peers this season who believe that some of the youngster’s techniques are too dangerous. More often than not, his tactics would end up with someone colliding with him. Lauda believes that Verstappen has unbelievable talent, but his development is being hindered due to his aggressive driving and his stupid actions.
Looking at Fernando Alonso now, it would be hard to believe that he is arrogant. But, during his Renault days, especially in 2005 and 2006, he was rather arrogant. The fact that he had won back-to-back titles got to his head. Then came 2007 and a certain rookie by the name of Lewis Hamilton. The two were partnered in the same year at McLaren, the latter not knowing what they were getting themselves into.
What followed was a severe clash of egos and they ended up getting in each other’s way. It even culminated on the borders of sabotaging each other. In the end, they were so focused on each other that Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen calmly plucked the title from under their noses.
In 2014, Alonso’s ego carried on in 2014, his final year with Ferrari and it rubbed Lewis Hamilton, now at Mercedes, the wrong way.
Admittedly, the late great Ayrton Senna was greatly revered by many fans around the world. However, he was no saint on the track, just ask Alain Prost, his most bitter rival. The two hated each other with a passion and were at each other’s throats.
The British media generally didn’t like him, given his run-ins with Nigel Mansell over the years. Prost fans obviously didn’t like him for the most part. In interviews Senna often came across as a bit aloof and arrogant. Of course, many greatly respected him and almost everyone admitted his talent, but he was far from universally liked.