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Modest Champions


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#1 Muz Bee

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 00:44

Over the past 20 years there have been some World Drivers Champions who have been described as "having an ego problem" or words to that effect. Being introduced to motorsport in the late sixties I have noticed that the modern era has started to see more "egotistical" drivers. Of course the huge media attention, as well as changing cultures with time, has likely contributed to this. I think we need to be able to separate comments attributed to drivers which have been taken out of context, as well as allowing for the fact tat comments published are almost always selected from a series of questions on provocative issues put to that driver.

What do followers think about the personal style off-track of some of the World Champions of F1? Without putting a psychobabble slant on it, why do some behave impeccably off track while having plenty of aggression for their racing?

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#2 Xaus

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 00:49

Corporate interest and the big bucks. There is as much pressure off track nowadays on drivers to smile for the cameras and make sure their corporate masters/income are happy just as much pressure as lining up on the grid waiting for those lights to go out.

In this way I believe that once that visor comes down and the lights do go out the real person that particular driver is comes out. Maybe that's one explaination for the contrast between someone who's aggressive behind the wheel but tame and all thumbs up for the cameras when out of the car.

#3 RSNS

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:13

Corporate interest and the big bucks. There is as much pressure off track nowadays on drivers to smile for the cameras and make sure their corporate masters/income are happy just as much pressure as lining up on the grid waiting for those lights to go out.

In this way I believe that once that visor comes down and the lights do go out the real person that particular driver is comes out. Maybe that's one explaination for the contrast between someone who's aggressive behind the wheel but tame and all thumbs up for the cameras when out of the car.



F1 was an European thing. In Europe (and in the UK) it is bad manners to show too much ego; when one wins one must be graceful. Then, after the war, kids progressively had every whim satisfied and ego control became less and less possible; to cap it, all the American liberal Sociobabble became fashionable in Europe and it is possible to say 'I am the best'.

That said, Jackie Stewart once said 'I win because I'm the best', or words to that effect (in 1971; the source is Quattroruote; I don't know the context).

Fangio said he never allowed himself to think he was the best, but he did think it ('I may be old, but I still menage to keep the young boys in my mirror'); Moss obviously thought he was the best; then Clark seems to have thought the same (his parents told Gurney Jim only feared Dan); then Stewart.

In fact you don't win unless you think you are the best. This is not psychobabble, it's proven hard evidence.

#4 Muz Bee

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:47

In fact you don't win unless you think you are the best. This is not psychobabble, it's proven hard evidence.

Indeed. Sometimes when I hear excellent drivers who feel the need to state in some way how/why they are so good in a seemingly boastful way that their self belief isn't as complete as they really think. Outward egomaniacs actually are inevitably compensating for their lack of self esteem, recognition etc.

Edited by Muz Bee, 21 January 2010 - 01:48.


#5 marchi-91

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:05

In fact you don't win unless you think you are the best. This is not psychobabble, it's proven hard evidence.


Yet the very best has proved this philosophy false. Schumachers moto is "Always strive to be the best, but never think you are the best".

Out of the current crop of champions, probably he Mika and Jenson are the most modest. It's rare that you hear about Michael bragging that he's so and so. He's more interested in building on those stats.

#6 ff1600

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:09

Dennis Hulme wasvery modest. His comment in Autocourse was he wished he did not have to write the forward.

#7 nordschleife

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:39

'I may be old, but I still menage to keep the young boys in my mirror'


Actually, I think it was Gary Glitter who said that.




#8 Hairpin

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:51

Actually, I think it was Gary Glitter who said that.

LOL, there is plenty of examples on the net where quotes are attributed to the wrong persons or simply invented :)
That is why I get a bit rabid when people post blatant lies as facts. It is one thing to be wrong, have weird opinions, but when facts are distorted so much that here is no trace left of the original event it becomes painful. That said, attributing a quote to the wrong person is often a honest mistake.

Going back to the question asked in OP - unless you know them personally it is impossible to say if they are modest or not. What we see is often part of an image, or a public "shield" of a driver. Being modest might be part of that image. Also, 'modest' can easily be put in the opposite end of 'arrogance' but that is not a good way of measuring either because arrogance is something that is really really hard to judge properly. Most people who appear arrogant are in fact just shy and insecure in how to behave in certain situations.

Edited by Hairpin, 21 January 2010 - 02:52.


#9 2ms

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 02:56

Raikkonen, Button, Kubica, and Vettel have basically been the only guys in F1 that strike me as class acts at all lately. Of course, Raikkonen and Button are the only champions. Before that it was definitely Mika. I'm hopeful that Vettel will bring the standard back up some by being the biggest winner of generation while also having one of most modest egos.

#10 Nustang70

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 03:17

I wonder how Irvine would've explained his championship had he won in '99...


#11 Sausage

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 03:41

I don't think it has really changed that much, back in the days some people had as large egos as nowadays. People look at the past too much with rose glasses really, humans will be humans

#12 DaleCooper

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 04:14

Racing is by its very nature selfish. Why we expect over-achieving racecar drivers to be modest is beyond me. Maybe some are better at hiding it, but at their core, they are all probably very much alike. Judging them by what we see on TV or whatever out-of-context quote we read in a magazine/paper is ridiculous.

Most people's likes and dislikes about a certain driver are based on fantasy. Then there is the colour added by certain journalists because they just can't help themselves.

The only truth that matters is the on-track action, everything else is JUST AN EXCUSE TO LIKE/HATE A CERTAIN DRIVER, because that's what humans do. First we make up our minds, and then we selectively seek out the evidence to support our claims/feelings. What can be better than a fresh supply of out-of-context verbage for the average troll?

I pray that the old addage "what goes around, comes around", is true.


Cooper

#13 Spa One

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 04:37


Big egos and big comments are justified in all sorts of ways these days.

I see alot of: "he is allowed to be arrogant, he has won....and gets paid.... to do.....", "you have to be arrogant streak in order to be a champion", "wouldn't you be arrogant if you were him"

I can understand why drivers are very confident in themselves; they probably wouldn't be in f1 otherwise. But I simply prefer modest personalities, and I would like to think that if In was in a simillar position I would remain somewhat modest.

Its easy for me to say this as I don't have a team of yes men all around me telling me how good I am, but we have seen modest champions before.

Jenson & Mika would have to be amoing the more modest/realistic of the past 15 years.



#14 Spa One

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 04:39

I wonder how Irvine would've explained his championship had he won in '99...


I think he would have told it how it was. He was a very confident man but never made himself out to be anything but what he was.



#15 Jose Mourinho is Special

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 05:49

Hakkinen

Alain Prost

Alan Jones

Jenson Button

Damon Hill

#16 Oho

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:05

I think he would have told it how it was. He was a very confident man but never made himself out to be anything but what he was.


Second only to Michael Schumacher......

But frankly for his merits I think Schumacher is quite modest and comes through quite pleasant, oh well perhaps it is his tendency to reminisce Häkkinen and their rivalry so very kindly.

Edited by Oho, 21 January 2010 - 08:08.


#17 Muzzinho

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:19

Fernando and Button were very modest champions :up: :up:

Lewis was very arrogant and felt he deserved the title given to him :down:

Its a pity Massa didnt win 2008, he showed on the Brazil podium that he had much more class and speed than Lewis.

#18 Galko877

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:22

Fernando and Button were very modest champions :up: :up:



You mean Mr 6 tenth? :rotfl:

I don't think Button is modest either.

#19 undersquare

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:31

Good thread, this subject keeps coming up.

The ideal champion is one who tries with everything he has to drive round in circles faster than anyone else, but makes no claims about it. It's nice for us just to be invited to make up our own minds about it.

But how deep does the modesty go? Driving round in circles isn't inherently interesting, the point of doing it is to make a comparison between yourself and the others.

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#20 Jackmancer

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:45

I'm sorry for saying this but Jochen Rindt was the most modest champion

#21 Mansell4PM

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:52

Jackie Stewart in his autobiography 'Winning is Not Enough' claims that:

Winning (over a long period of time) + Integrity + Care = Success.

A bit of a clunky way of putting it, but I think JYS has a point.

Should we judge success in this way? Would an over developed ego erode some of the integrity that JYS claims is so important?

#22 klyster

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:54

Dennis Hulme was very modest. His comment in Autocourse was he wished he did not have to write the forward.


Yep, he certainly was.

Edited by klyster, 21 January 2010 - 08:55.


#23 hunnylander

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:58

Jenson & Mika would have to be amoing the more modest/realistic of the past 15 years.

Jenson "Imthebestdriverever" Button?

#24 SAFC09

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:14

Actually, I think it was Gary Glitter who said that.


I'm was half asleep still, but that woke me up :lol:

#25 SAFC09

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:16

Jenson "Imthebestdriverever" Button?


He said that with his tongue well and truly in his cheek ffs, but anything for Hamilton nut-huggers to have a go with eh ?

Edited by SAFC09, 21 January 2010 - 09:18.


#26 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:22

This thread is now about Hamilton.

Again.

On the same subject.

Again.

#27 Muz Bee

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:28

I'm sorry for saying this but Jochen Rindt was the most modest champion

Or Phil Hill.


#28 hunnylander

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:43

He said that with his tongue well and truly in his cheek ffs, but anything for Hamilton nut-huggers to have a go with eh ?

I have no problem with Jenson. But if he may say things with half-seriousness or without any seriousness, don't you think others may do that too?

You'll never know how he said it, what he thought then! Were you "in his cheek" or in his brain then? Everyone uses to say stupid things and uses to express himself/herself stupidly, incorrectly etc. That's why very childish from a Button fan to attack and bash other persons/drivers for those things for what he defends his favourite.

Muhammad Ali is a modest champion, but you won't find it out from his profession related quotes.

Edited by hunnylander, 21 January 2010 - 11:17.


#29 jjcale

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:51

I am in my thirties so I may have a different view from some older members (I am also originally from the other side of the Atlantic where the culture is more permissive of individuality and public self-expression) but I have no difficulty with immodest champions or drivers in general. For me, their silly comments are part of the show.

I dont think immodesty does any real harm and it certainly is not worth the amount of discussion that it generates.

Also, and strangely enough, people tend to view those that they otherwise dislike as immodest (or stupid, or whatever other pet hate they have). As a result, most comments in threads taking drivers to task for alleged immodesty tend to end up saying more about the persons making the comments than the driver being criticised. Often, the persons passing judgment come off looking more "arrogant" than the driver being criticised.

#30 dabrasco

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:56

I am in my thirties so I may have a different view from some older members (I am also originally from the other side of the Atlantic where the culture is more permissive of individuality and public self-expression) but I have no difficulty with immodest champions or drivers in general. For me, their silly comments are part of the show.

I dont think immodesty does any real harm and it certainly is not worth the amount of discussion that it generates.

Also, and strangely enough, people tend to view those that they otherwise dislike as immodest (or stupid, or whatever other pet hate they have). As a result, most comments in threads taking drivers to task for alleged immodesty tend to end up saying more about the persons making the comments than the driver being criticised. Often, the persons passing judgment come off looking more "arrogant" than the driver being criticised.


indeed....

#31 Group B

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:58

Mika.

#32 Lifew12

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:02

Actually, I think it was Gary Glitter who said that.


The funniest thing i've read today. Brightened up a dull morning.

#33 Muz Bee

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:09

I am in my thirties so I may have a different view from some older members (I am also originally from the other side of the Atlantic where the culture is more permissive of individuality and public self-expression) but I have no difficulty with immodest champions or drivers in general. For me, their silly comments are part of the show.

I dont think immodesty does any real harm and it certainly is not worth the amount of discussion that it generates.

I have been to the West of USA 4 times and have found the people more modest than I expected of that culture, although younger generation predictably much less so.

The "silly comments" do have a professional downside - they can put undue pressure on the individual to back their words. If unable to do so a downward slide is often the result. "Let your actions do your talking" is the better approach IMO. Also sportspeople regardless of whether they have any interest in it, create what some call a "legacy" or "image". The are subtly different in fact but the immodest competitor will inevitably find a downside to his or her outspokenness in some shape or form.

I personally am enjoying the comment on this until it strays into abuse and so on. Keep it up. :)


#34 Orin

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:12

Racing is by its very nature selfish. Why we expect over-achieving racecar drivers to be modest is beyond me. Maybe some are better at hiding it, but at their core, they are all probably very much alike. Judging them by what we see on TV or whatever out-of-context quote we read in a magazine/paper is ridiculous.

Most people's likes and dislikes about a certain driver are based on fantasy. Then there is the colour added by certain journalists because they just can't help themselves.

The only truth that matters is the on-track action, everything else is JUST AN EXCUSE TO LIKE/HATE A CERTAIN DRIVER, because that's what humans do. First we make up our minds, and then we selectively seek out the evidence to support our claims/feelings. What can be better than a fresh supply of out-of-context verbage for the average troll?

I pray that the old addage "what goes around, comes around", is true.


Cooper


:up:

[but Schumacher's still a ****]

Edited by ForeverF1, 22 January 2010 - 02:37.


#35 Jackmancer

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:16

Or Phil Hill.


No, I mean, Rindt never had the chance to brag about his championship, so therefor, he must be the most modest champion.

#36 undersquare

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:24

I think he would have told it how it was. He was a very confident man but never made himself out to be anything but what he was.


So Irvine wasn't pretentious. But was he modest?

And how much did he have to be immodest about, is another thing as well. Less temptation.

#37 Seanspeed

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:36

I've always felt that braggards, just like sore losers, show really bad sportsmanship. I dont have any problem with somebody who feels they're 'the best', as long as they dont feel the need to tell everybody about it all the time. It shows respect for the competition and it lets performances speak for themselves.

And despite what some people are saying, I feel that a person's off-track actions certainly do *matter*. The drivers are still human, and we're human, and we all naturally make judgements about what we do or dont like about a person that we pay a lot of attention to. Personally, I think a lot of people who are trying to *downplay* a driver's off-track actions as irrelevant are just saying that because they support a driver who's the target of accusations. I think its pretty difficult to seperate a driver's off-track actions from his on-track ones unless you're just a casual observer, which most of us probably aren't.

Edited by Seanspeed, 21 January 2010 - 10:45.


#38 Augurk

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:16

Since I have been watching F1, which is almost 15 years now, I consider Schumacher, Hakkinen and Hill to be very modest drivers.

Hardly ever heard Hill boast about anything, but then, what did he have to boast about?

Mika is just a very likeable man. Seemed to feel lucky and happy rather than satisfied after winning each championship.

Schumacher, his records and achievements and all things considered, could (rightfully) be boasting about being the best. Yet you won't hear him do anything like that. When people compared him to Fangio when he equalled and surpassed his record, Michael always respectfully declined any comparison. He considered times so different that he thought Fangio was greater, because he drove in a more dangerous and tougher time. When he equalled Senna in wins, he had an emotional outburst. "Does that mean a lot to you?" "Yes, it means a lot".

Noteably, after Schumacher broke out in tears between Mika and his very own brother, it was Mika putting a hand on his shoulder for comforting and taking over the press conference, whilst his brother nearly laughed aloud.

#39 dabrasco

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:00

I have been to the West of USA 4 times and have found the people more modest than I expected of that culture, although younger generation predictably much less so.

The "silly comments" do have a professional downside - they can put undue pressure on the individual to back their words. If unable to do so a downward slide is often the result. "Let your actions do your talking" is the better approach IMO. Also sportspeople regardless of whether they have any interest in it, create what some call a "legacy" or "image". The are subtly different in fact but the immodest competitor will inevitably find a downside to his or her outspokenness in some shape or form.

I personally am enjoying the comment on this until it strays into abuse and so on. Keep it up. :)


for me "silly comments" or "arrogant" attitude is part of the fun and most often increases sporting enjoyment.... notice how football and sport games generallly get spiced up once some sportsman decides to speak candidly on the upcoming game not just the normal "oh im just an average talent/im lucky to be here/we will just try to work hard "....

sport psychologists will tell you pretty much every great athlete believe they are or they can be the best (i.e. better than everyone else, such thinking surely is not modest)...that is part of what drives them to achieve such levels of excellence.

candid biographies of most of these greats, not just in Sports but all works of life involving fierce direct competition confirm this.....you've almost always got to believe strongly in your relative greatness before you can achieve it.

The diff. btw 'modest' and 'immodest' sportsmen that we see in public, is mostly down to whether the sportsman is an introvert or extrovert. An extrovert will talk alot (thats how they are and its not a bad thing) and eventually betray his egoistic streak...while an introvert will be able to keep it in check more...

So I think its quite wrong to use these public interviews and stuff as a proper measure to judge and condemn the character of sportsmen.... never judge a book by its cover they say.

A lot of sportsmen have actually said they do it to relief pressure or sike themselves up or get in the minds of opponents (to make victory easier lol)... and some do it to increase their profile, e.g. many people that know Mayweather the boxer personally say he is a great and actually humble guy, and the guy himself admitted he decided to start trash-talking before bouts, assume the role of the "arrogant villian" to increase his profile, generate more interest etc. To the general public, the instant reaction is "OMG, he is so arrogant, such a tit...I hate him"...but you only need to look abit closer to know better.

and some do it, because well, it makes competing more fun...

Usain Bolt when he broke the Olympic record in the 100meters final was criticised by some, I will guess from the older generation like you...for disrespecting his fellow athletes by slowing down and celebrating before the finish line.

For me and many others, that was one of the iconic sporting performances of the last decade...it was mind blowing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 100m finales are usually so tight and for him to be able to pull that off and still break the WR was amazing....an arrogant thing to do? yes, but definitely entertaining and special.


We cant expect all these sportsmen, drivers and so to all be the same, always controlled and 'modest'.... that gets boring real quick... and I'm always a bit more wary of those that try too hard to be model professionals, cos sometimes once the cover is blown, what you see underneath isnt really pretty.

My only qualms is if you gonna trash-talk or be arrogant about something, make sure you back it up.... else it makes you look bad.

But even then, I wont really sweat you for it or judge your character. First, its an 'arrogant' thing to judge people on a whim, 2nd...you can never really tell until you place yourself in the shoes of the guy in question

top sportsmen nowadays are under massive amounts of pressure than ever before, in F1 and beyond.

Edited by dabrasco, 21 January 2010 - 12:07.


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#40 Hacklerf

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:01

Schumacher

#41 Buttoneer

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:23

Maybe it's just because he doesn't say much at all but I think Kimi has displayed an enormous amount of humility. He's almost a forgotten WDC because he didn't (and doesn't) crow about it. I think his salary demands, while perhaps indicative of his own perceived status, are a lot more to do with his management. The fact that he's moved on to do WRC, and has done his Snowmobile stuff etc just shows he has a real enthusiasm for competition. That's pretty infectious stuff.

#42 uffen

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:28

I was lucky enough to attend a group breakfast where Michael Schumacher (then at the height of his success) was the guest of honour. He arrived after we had finished eating. By chance I was looking toward the door when he walked in. The expression on his face and his body language when he saw the small crowd inside told me that he was quite uncomfortable with the situation. By the time he got to the front of the room he had steeled himself to his duty and he did a marvelous job for the crowd (and the sponsor). This told me that he wasn't arrogant but he showed his inner confidence in himself.

We must also remember that many, many times in their careers drivers are shown that they are not the fastest. Even the more successful champions can find themselves in a dog of a car the next season and they look like chumps. Or a new teammate eclipses them. This happens regularly and so egos take a pounding. If a driver is arrogant he quite often can't stay that way for long.

#43 Jackmancer

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:31

Schumacher


True ;p compared to his success he is quite modest :)

#44 undersquare

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:31

All the ones who say nothing are perceived as 'modest' :drunk: .

#45 jesee

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 12:49

I dont want modesty, i want entertainment on track. Give me one Senna or one Hamilton or one Schumacker for a thousand jensen Button or prost any time.

Edited by jesee, 21 January 2010 - 12:50.


#46 giacomo

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 16:31

I don't care about modesty at all. An overrated virtue IMO, and very hard to define by the way.

But I always liked Damon and Mika - but not for being modest - , and Eddie Irvine had all attributes to be one of my all-time-fave WDCs.

#47 Seanspeed

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 16:53

All the ones who say nothing are perceived as 'modest' :drunk: .

Yup. Being arrogant isn't necessarily just believing you're the best. Arrogance is when you feel the need to go around *telling* everybody you're the best.


#48 Taxi

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 16:57

for sure Nelson Piquet.



ok ok but
Immodesty is also nice to see.

#49 undersquare

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 17:16

Yup. Being arrogant isn't necessarily just believing you're the best. Arrogance is when you feel the need to go around *telling* everybody you're the best.


Being arrogant is not that at all.

"1. Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance.
2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others"

http://www.thefreedi...ry.com/arrogant

Note "overbearing" is a requirement to qualify. And "having or displaying" is enough.

#50 mclarensmps

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 17:17

I think Mika was the last of the modest champions.

Kimi, Fernando nor Jenson are modest (neither is Lewis, for that matter, but then nobody tried to pass him off as modest in this thread :p)

As far as drivers are concerned, I am amused that people think Robert is modest. Far far far far from it.

Of the current great drivers who are not champions, I think Seb. V. is the most modest. Who knows whether that will change or not, though.