F1 Winter Break
Hamilton offers window in on troubled soul
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Nov 2011   |  8:34 am GMT  |  103 comments

One of the themes running through the second half of this season has been Lewis Hamilton’s troubled demeanour and the way issues off the track have affected his performances on it.

Here in the Yas Marina paddock yesterday Hamilton offered a window in to his troubled soul, confirming many of the things commentators have been saying for months about the effect his private life have had on his professional life. He explains some of how he is feeling. He envies team mate Jenson Button’s protective “bubble” of friends and family and faces the prospect of being beaten by a team mate for the first time in a championship season.

After the Indian GP McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said that he felt part of the reason Hamilton’s head was elsewhere was that he was being beaten by his team mate Jenson Button. That seemed a surprising thing for him to say, not the arm “around the shoulder” approach team bosses normally take when their driver is struggling.

Hamilton dismissed Whitmarsh’s comments as “rubbish” and explained how he is really feeling,

“He made some comments which I disagree with,” said Hamilton. “It’s rubbish. My issues have been much, much bigger than that – more personal. Jenson doing great is great for the team.

“Jenson has done a great job to get things in the right place. He’s got his Dad, who’s there at every single race, he’s got his manager, he’s got his friends and his girlfriend there all the time. He’s got a great bubble around him and with that he’s able to go out there and perform without any worries on his mind.

“Jenson’s in a much stronger position than me so I wouldn’t expect anything less than the results he’s been getting. But that’s not affecting the way I’m performing.”

Every driver is different; some need an emotional life support system around them, others, like Robert Kubica, are more self contained and need just a manager by their side.

Sebastian Vettel is a bit like that; he has his trainer Tommy and his father Norbert is around but very low key in the background.

Most people don’t take their parents or wife to the office, but in a sports context, whatever makes you perform is the right set up. It’s an important thing to get right, because a driver has to focus on getting the maximum from himself throughout a race weekend and he needs his life to be in balance to achieve that.

I remember seeing Jacques Villeneuve having a blazing row with his girlfriend minutes before qualifying for the Argentinian Grand Prix in 1997.

“They (relationships) affect everything you do, the things you say, the way you act, the groove you get into,” admitted Hamilton.

“It’s not an excuse it’s just the way things have gone. I feel quite confident that I know the right direction for next year and how I can get things better – it’s just about doing it. I don’t plan on being single for very long. It’s nothing to do with being single or not being single. When I was in my relationship she was probably the most positive thing that was in my life – and maybe that needs to be back there.

“I’ve just been a bit unfortunate and I’ve got my own problems. I lost that bubble. It is a priority for me to create that atmosphere around myself because it’s a happy bubble.”

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If we rewind a few years, Button was perceived to have stuffed up his career with excess distractions and instability in his personal life. I don't think there's anything more going on here than someone who is a little bit immature starting to grow up and become wise to his own needs and personality. I suspect when he got involved with Scherzinger and that glamorous lifestyle there was an element of the little boy in the sweety shop going on and he was impressed by it all and by himself. Just focusing on driving as well as he can do (and fundamentally he's still a better driver than Button) and letting life outside the car take care of itself naturally might be the best approach for the time being.


Partway through Buttons championship year he said himself that he needed to tidy his act up off the track and focus on his racing to win the title. Lewis did the reverse and has got swallowed up by the fame.

I read an article by Richard Hammond a few years ago that basically accused Lewis of being a boring role model off the track. The basis of the column was that we all wanted to see ourselves in the shoes of famous racing drivers and the playboy lifestyle that goes with it. Lewis at the time was very reserved off the track.

I have to say that at the time i agreed with the theory and wanted to see more of the fun Lewis.

Looking back now watching the Lewis that won the world championship is much more appealing than reading about his playboy lifestyle.


This is what happens if Messi tries to become Ronaldo?


It seems strange for Hamilton to be envious of Button's father/manager/girlfriend as his support network, is this an admission that sacking his father/manager was the wrong decision? The 'bubble' around him which he mentions as lacking, was the one he chose to burst.

Regrettably Lewis seems to have professionally and personally unravelled somewhat since dispensing with Anthony's services, in comparison to the fortunes of Paul Di Resta who has blossomed under Anthony's guidance. You only have to see the disproportionate amount of on screen interviews and coverage Paul gets to realise that Anthony is both hugely media savvy, and grooming Di Resta for future greatness with a grandee team. Perhaps being more media savvy, confident and having a future plan, is what Lewis is lacking, rather than showbiz buddies/girlfriend.

Everyone struggles emotionally from time to time (Bernie didn't exactly have a smooth marriage, but didn't lose grip on business) so being able to separate your personal life from your performance on track is very important. Under-performing and mooning around like a sulky lovesick teenager is hardly appropriate for someone at the pinnacle of the sport, and Simon Fuller doesn't seem to have Anthony Hamilton's ability to steer Lewis or his 'bubble' back on course.


Barry, re your last paragraph:

Yes but when you and I struggle we do not have the entire would looking on and judging us do we? We get to work through our problems without having everyone with an opinion sticking their nose in. It's all very well saying that people in the media spotlight need to cope with X and Y, but they are still human beings and are subject to the same insecurities and emotions that assault us all.

Look at Max, we had absolutely no right what so ever to know what he got up to in his leisure time so long as he didn't break the law. Yet we all did, and he had to deal with that infront of the entire world. Whereas you or I might have had the heartache of explaining the situation to loved ones behind closed doors, this guy had to justify his private desires to the entire, hostile, cold, calculating, greedy world.


Alonso recently said that Hamilon is the "only other driver capable of winning races in a car which is not the best."

Whether he means it or whether he is just trying to upset Vettel, it's good to see the professional respect that these two can maintain. As far as I am aware Hamilton has only ever praised Alonso as the best driver on the grid. I happen to agree with Both Alonso and Hamilton's assessment of each other completely.

Speaks a lot to Alonso's decency as well, he could have taken the opportunity to really twist the knife after Hamilton's poor year.


Yeah Lewis, time for you to get a low kew girlfriend who'll be there with you at all the races. Best of luck for 2012


I dont get it - Nicole had been with him since 2007/8 before he WON the championship. How can we now say she has been one of the disrupting influences on him. He seemed to do fine back then.

Carlos E. Del Valle

Quote of the year imho:

"We’ve all been through the disruptive girlfriend phase"

James Allen, Oct 2011

Says it all


Thats not a good basis to start a relationship, he only wants a girlfriend to help him create a bubble round him? I am sure there will be plenty of offers but what type of relationship would that be, hardly loving, more like a business deal.

Sorry Lewis you need some time away from the ladies.


People will always read precisely what they want to into a simple statement won't they? Hamilton did not say that 'he only wants a girlfriend to help him create a bubble round him', so why are you saying it?


Agreed Wayne. Some people can't see the carrot for the stick as my old man used to say.


Hamilton needs to stop living his life in the press.


Wow, him and every other celeb. If only it was that easy.


(To Cliff)

Yes, I am making the assumption re. Alonso, but as a person of German heritage who has a lot of family back there, I do have opportunity to read the "local" media quite a bit. MS does not talk much about his personal life, and it is not in the news much, as a result.

But if you want an English example, how about Damon Hill? Point is, Hamilton does not need to say all those things, and your point re. him dodging questions... I never said he had to do that... he just doesn't need to wax poetic about Jenson's bubble etc!!


Well, I certainly don't see as many column-inches about the personal lives of Vettel or Alonso.

Yes, as a celebrity you will have less privacy. However, you don't have to get into all this stuff during interviews either.


You appear to be making the assumption that the German and Spanish media take to interest in Vettell and Alonso.

As for Hamilton's comments, If he answers, he can't win. If he dodges the questions, he'll be accused of being evasive. The results of being famouse I suppose.


Thank you! Those are exactly my sentiments too.In my opinion he sounded whiny and pedantic during that interview!

From my personal experience, i did not mature entirely when i was in my mid-20s,and even in my 30s i'm learning new things and trying to come up with better tools to deal with people/situation. Having said that, he should simply stop saying these things in press about lack of emotional support etc. Schumacher reportedly hated his wife/kids being at the racetrack as that would disatract him.

Lewis just needs to go back to his roots and do what he always wanted to do - drive a race-car fast! We expect these multi-million $ drivers to be a bit more tougher.More than anything else he needs to stop talking to the press and start smiling a bit more! All recent pics of him have him frowning with slumped shoulders and oversized shades! Time to man-up,Lewis!


Could be tricky considering how infatuated the press are with his every move.


I completely agree with everything Hammy is saying right there & that's why us in the Hammy army were over the moon when he & Nicole broke up for all his thoughts were on skipping the pond to see his girl, more so this year as Nicole was stuck in the US busy with the X Factor.

And of course Nicole was more than a hindrance than any of them realized because she was introducing him to all kinds of yobs back in the US creating the impression among some that he's getting his fingers too much into the celebrity culture & thus affecting his performance (which is a load of crap BTW)

Yes, Hammy misses the constant hugs from his dad + brother who would have comforted him telling him to relax & not worry too much about the Red Bulls.

Here's to hoping Lewis gets another girlfriend (preferably a nice, quiet, Swiss girl this time) to help him in 2012 and onwards for the Hammy pre-Pussy-Cat-Doll in 2007 was the most consistent thing out there & we all know, all Hammy has to do is improve his consistency & he would easily be the most complete driver.

As for Jens, I doubt Lewis is jealous about Jens' support team too much, what kills him is the fact that the team he's been with for so many years, seems to be rooting for his teammate.

But you know what, am happy about this year's goings-on for what they have created is a monster i.e. the new Hammy who is angry & a thousand times more focused & having an angry Lewis is the last thing his rivals want for they're going to be eating lots of sand beginning this weekend.


Sure Vettel & Kubica do not need a manager for unlike Hammy, they aren't the most exciting drivers on track which brings the added baggage of pressure to win the WDC every year + Vettel has the added advantage this past two years of having the fastest car out there & hence no support system needed apart from the team.


Apart from your support for Hamilton, I pretty much disagree with all of this from the blame placed on his girlfriend to the idea that having an Angry Hamilton is a good thing and concluding with Vettel does not need support mechanisms.

Hamilton's mistakes are his own - there is nothing wrong with that.


Indeed, rather an empassioned post and devoid any subjectivity. Hamilton has been destracted by things outside of racing, he said it himself. He's man enough to face up to it so why are you trying to deny it on his behalf?

An angry Hamilton is not what we need at all btw. We need a cool headed measured Hamilton, then he'll be unstoppable in the right car.


Hamilton is very young, and it shows through here I think. He may be massively talented and experienced in his chosen profession but perhaps still retains a bit of that naivety and emotional instability most of us have to navigate through as we get older. You see this a lot with movie stars and other people who are always in the public spotlight - the life lessons the rest of us learn (often in adversity and without the resources to try and spend our way out of trouble) by crying into our pillow are played out for the likes of Hamilton for the whole world to see and are thus magnified many times.

Add to this that proportion of the fan base who are deliberately blind to Hamilton's ability because they do not like what they see in terms of personality and proceed to make outrageous comments, some of which must filter through.

Hamilton's birth into F1 was like nothing that has come before or since and it happened in a world connected by the speed of light. Hamilton fame spread at light-speed from his initial success against a double WDC in his first year and all the venom that prompted from his team mate, Hamilton was novel (to some) as the first black F1 driver and his arrogance/self-belief (both positive things in top sports people)are very publically available for scrutiny. Simply put he went from talented river to world-wide star and the most marketable driver in F1 in about half a season - I am surprised the gravity of that acceleration did not crush him.

These comments sound to me like a boy taking his first steps into manhood (I'm sure he would not thank me for saying that), perhaps he will have the courage to step back re-instate his dad, admit that he wasn't quite as clever and independent as he thought in terms of life management and have the humility to take a step back in order to take a step forward.

Hamilton is still the great British hope for long - term sustained success in F1, to be a real sporting legend and perhaps the best British driver there has ever been. I would urge my fellow Brits to come together and help lift him with a wave of positivity and support.


thanks for voicing my thoughts, very well put.


Are you actually taking yourself seriously Wayne? You sound like your hailing a prophet. There have been other drivers that came into F1 with serious hype, and into an immediately fast car. Please don't be fooled into thinking fans are blind to his talent, at the end of the day F1 fans will respect talent, maybe he doesn't have enough talent to blind the objective fan but apparently has no trouble blinding others..

The claim of being a worldwide superstar was never going to happen...that's just a British dream I think, like England winning the last two World Cups, reality can be a painful thing. I'd go so far as to say Americans have heard of Michael Schumacher more than Lewis Hamilton, probably because of his 7 world titles rather than ridiculous proclamations by some British media. Just providing an alternate opinion..


Thank you for your considred and measured reply - I especially appreciate your opening line. To answer your question - yes - I do take my comment seriously regardless of how right or wrong it may be.

Some fans are indeed blind to his tallent, this is not the only bog I read and some of the comments are utterly insane, hate filled garbage. Don't be fooled into thinking that the high quality of posts (normally) available on JAF1 translate to other blogs.

World-wide success for Brits often just means the USA, and Hamilton has all the ingredients to be a massive 'hit' in the states. Yes I too believe that more poeple in the USA will have heards of Schumacher but that much is absolutely painfully obvious as the most successful driver in history.


Hamilton is fast, but Jenson is getting better, and the McLaren is being developed to suit Jenson's too now unlike the 2010 car. They are very close and I can see them each stopping the other becoming WDC next season.

As for the long term Paul Di Resta is the future...... wait until he gets a capable car then we shall see.


Great post.


I think the cause and effect is all the wrong way round, it's not his personal life that's affected his performance, it's mediocre performance that's changed his personality.

If he'd blown Jenson away this year he'd still be cocksure, arrogant, and the darling of Jay Zed and the glamourous end of that MOBO set.

He's learnt this year that to ge and stay at the top you need absolute focus, and he must concede that he's allowed himself too many distractions. It's a much-needed wake-up call IMO.

He remains Britain's best candidate to win multiple WDCs, I think. I like to see him get another 2 or 3, but he's going to have to earn them.


That's a very interesting point, re your first paragraph. Could well be right.


"I don’t plan on being single for very long.....I lost that bubble. It is a priority for me to create that atmosphere around myself because it’s a happy bubble.”

Trying too hard may do more harm than good as has already been seen on track.


Lewis is a highly paid professional sportsman. Off track issues should never interfere with your work and unfortunately Lewis has let it destroy his season.

I remember Schumacher winning a race the day his mother died. I think some things need to be put into perspective here. Yes its sad when a relationship ends but Lewis must learn to put that kind of thing behind him and not show this blatant weakness so publicly. The press will keep on and on at him about it.

I think he should definintely learn from Jensons' experience in F1 so far. I guess this will come with age, we forget Lewis is still a young man with still a lot of learning to do.


Absolutely! It was in 2003, and if i remember right was the first win for the tricky F2003-GA.He visited his dying mom before qualifying,flew back,qualified and then heard that she had passed. When the press was saying he shouldnt race,he did race and raced hard to win and flew back to Germany soon after to attend her funeral. I still remember the newspaper headlines the next morning "Above all rises a champion!" - something Lewis should read and remember!


actually imola was the last race for the f2002, the f2003 GA introduced at the next race in Barcelona.


It's very easy to keep trotting this cliche out every time a sportsman or women let's personal life marr their performance, but it is much harder to actually be that person. People are different. Hamilton is not Schumacher. Just like I am not you - we all handle these things differently. To suggest that highly paid sportspeople should not allow their personal feeling to etc etc is to ignore their basic humanity.



i take your point, drivers arent robots but everyone in sport has off field issues to deal with and some display these more openly then others. Schumacher is not Hamilton i agree but i just feel being completely and openly upset and miserable does nothing to help him win races. It just attracts media attention and only worsen the personal issues he is facing at the moment. Again im not Hamilton im not in his shoes and have his personal issues to deal with but surely his number one focus ought to be winning races. Isnt that the best tonic?


Can't disagree when you put it like that.


I'm afraid I disagree with you both. They are sportsmen, there to entertain us on our couches on a Sunday afternoon (well until next year when none of us will watch any more anyway). They don't run countries, mega-corporations perform surgery or have their finger on the button

Why should they not be allowed to be human? If they were all flawless automatons, we would be seeing engineer vs engineer even more than we do now. Driver mistakes and up and down seasons are one of the things that make F1 so interesting.

I don't think of Schumacher as a shining example to aspire to in this case.

I think it's great he has let some humanity though. I'm sure if we think of ourselves at his age we were making equal amounts of mistakes and misjudgements as we matured.

And if shirtwhateverherfaceis dumped me, I'd probably not be performing at work for quite some time. In fact I doubt my mind would have been much on work at any time during the relationship either 🙂


Hmm... personally my jury is still out on whether racing a car in a circle (winning or not) on the day your Mother dies is something to be proud of.

That's probably why i'm not Michael Schumacher.

There are a few other reasons as well - but let's not get into that here.


Maybe Schumacher feels the calm in the car while driving much more suitable to mourn than at home where people keep coming and distract you a lot. You never know what the person feels unless you are that person yourself. Just because someone is not at home by the side of their mother does not mean they don't value her.

You have a set rule how a person should behave and if someone does not fit that rule, you brand him as so-and-so. Why should the world be seen through your views or ideas? Leave Schumacher alone, just as you would like freedom to be given to you in the way you would like to mourn for some others.

Yes by the way leave Hamilton also as he wants to be. He wants a bubble so be it. Who are we to decide what he wants and what he should not. At least he is aware that it is a bubble and has potential to burst any time (which he had already seen). He cannot be like Schumacher or Vettel or Raikkonen who don't give much d_a_m_n to what the world/media thinks about them. He has to unless he wants to change which is choice he can make.

Personally I think they should not have any bubbles but Hamilton can judge what he needs for himself.


Excellent point about Schumacher and one that has crossed my mind too.

Plenty of my staff at work have had issues in relationships, their performance at work didn't suffer though. I think all of this demonstrates just how immature Hamilton still is, and that's probably a product of his life in F1 which has largely being filled with yes men, so when an issue like a g/f break-up happens he's not mentally equipped to cope with it all. JB by contrast went through some very tough times with Renault/Ben and Honda/BAR/Brawn, so he's far more used to dealing with issues and just getting on with it.


Seriously, you praise a guy who raced the day his mother died?


First of all, Allan I am sorry for being rude.

Anyway back to the point. I'm not saying Schumi didn't love his mum. Schumi was one of my favourite drivers (after Damon HIll retired).

My point (not well put) was to say I everyone deals with grief in their own way. What I find sad is that we consider it as some great achievement for someone to carry on as 'normal' but consider people who are impacted by their own problems as being weak.

Now Hamilton's problems are not in the same league as losing a mum but it doesn't make him less capable as a driver if personal problems impact him nor does it make him weak as a person. Having said that he does need to address the problem and we all know the first step to solving a personal problem is to acknowledge it.


Whole heartedly agree with Allan on this one. If anything, it show's that he clearly(presumably) did indeed love his Mum. Surely any parent would want their child to carry on and not let their passing stop them doing what they do. I don't have children, but if I did, I'm sure I would want them to carry on too. And I would hope that I would be proud of them for doing so.


Well in that case by your own argument you should not be praising the fact and holding it as a mark of professionalism.

To me it seems whatever argument to make Lewis look bad is your angle.


Seriously you hold yourself out as actually knowing anything about that very personal issue?

It is quite possible (likely even), that his mother would have wanted him to race. Just because he raced does not mean he did not love his mother. It is far more complex than that.


Don't forget, these sportsmen are still human beings like you and me.

On top of that, keep in mind that not everybody has the same character.

Lewis' weakness is his personal life - he wants everything pointing in the right direction and if that's not the case, than he will underperform.

So he needs to work on that.


How refreshing to have a driver explain why he feels he doesn't perform.

It must be incredibly hard to admit where you've failed in order to reflect on the changes that need to be made.

That said, Hamilton has won a couple more races this year than Webber has achieved so far (ahem!). I'm sure his 2011 season will be viewed in a much more positive light in a few years time.

I hope Lewis finds the 'bubble' he's looking for. He seems much more humble now, which can only be a good thing, as when he gets the right environment back around him he'll be on the winning side again.


Great post, it's easy to forget that Hamilton has actually won 2 Grands Prix this year.


I want to see Hamilton more 'focused', I am not in the least concerned about his humility. Having no humuility at all did not hold the likes of Schuacher or Mansell back. It is a very British concept to demand humility from our top sports people and I do not believe it is a particularly important or helpful concept at that.

Nice point indeed about Webber 🙂


All of Hamilton's problems are down to himself only and his liking to show off, on and off track. [mod] Far too immature for his age.


He needs a proper manager not the showbiz agent that he has now. Simon Fuller may be ideal for Nicole and for negotiating perfume sponsor deals but he is no Willie Weber nor even a Martin Brundle (who I would suggest as contender).

His dad was too close for too long but needs to be there still as a dad not a manager.


I seem to remember being blasted on this site for suggesting his extra curricular activities were having a detremental effect on his performances. Seems I was in the ball park after all.

"A little less Hip Hop and a little more Pit Stop" was one of my remarks at the time and hopefully he's "cottoned on" as my ole mam would say!

I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict a Hamilton win this weekend and hopefully that's his off colour period in his career put to bed.

Good luck Lewis and don't worry about the girlies, plenty of time for that!!


I am suprised you were blasted on this site for that opinion as most people seem to share it. I too think a win is on the cards this weekend and in Brazil as well come to that.


i feel sorry for the multi-millionaire guy who gets to drive awesome f1 cars.


.....who spent years dating Nicole Scherzinger.

It's not all fun, fun, fun you know.


no-one asked you for your pity mate. Behind the awsome cars and money is a human being.


Your comment smacks of envy. Unnecessary.

For me, I like what Lewis is saying here and it shows he's trying to find a way to pull himself out of his current 'funk'.

It also makes far more sense than Whitmarsh's assessment - MW is a guy who I think owes a little apology and perhaps should take steps get to know his driver better.

Martin needs to be a bit careful not to leak any obvious favouritism. Despite, one suspects, JB's side of the garage listening to more familiar music, laughing at more of MW's jokes, and probably being Mrs Whitmarsh's preferred choice were one of them to date his daughter (if he has one).


I suspect you're on the wrong website then.


Indeed, my heart bleeds! LOL! Still, he's only human; if you prick us do we not bleed?




Good on Lewis! Very brave to admit that he is in difficulties, and not try to point the finger elsewhere. Nice to see that he has moved very much away from the groomed talking head of previous times, taking the company line. I hope that this will be a watershed for him. Interesting that he acknowledges Jenson's success is down to having the support network around him, and very generous of him too it the way that he has said it.

We need more drivers in the Mark Webber mould, telling it like it is, and not moaning about the team, car or which way the wind is blowing!


"Troubled" is right !!!

It really is hard to believe that the guy is 26 years old.

He just continues to dig himself into holes by talking absolute blah-blah to the press thereby just creating more questions and interest.

He talks about Buttons bubble but then says "But that’s not affecting the way I’m performing” : Why bring it up then ??

He says Whitmarsh's comments were "rubbish" : Ooops. Not a great choice of words.

He says "I don’t plan on being single for very long" immediately followed by "It’s nothing to do with being single or not being single". Once again, why bring it up then ?

He needs his dad back in his life to give him some structure and guidance and he needs to answer every media question with "Nah, everything's cool man, relax."


Buttons family aren't there cause they are needed. They are there for fun. Suppose it's nice to feel like contributing to the success too, before enjoying the riches it brings to them all.

Hamilton bit is too ridiculous to even comment.


Before I get slapped I should add that of course his father has contributed greatly in the early stages of the career.


I always wondered what family/friends of drivers get up to when their man is working. I can understand the thrill of watching the actual race and qualifying with the Team but with all the media and other committments for drivers, what do they do from Thursday through to Sunday in a place like say Korea?

Can you enlighten us on this James, who organises and pays for parents/girlfriends travel and accomodation, how much do they actually see of each other before and after a race if they win. Can a mechanic take his partner along to a race???

I must admit John Button seems the most happy and chilled person in the paddock whenever I see him, relaxing with a glass of red and popular with everyone. How about a race weekend with John Button as an article or better still as a competition winning prize??


The driver pays for it


I don't think Hamilton has fully recognised his problems. His problems started way before his split from the pussycat doll. The only person he needs right now is his father. Without him, he is going to struggle. His management team can’t give the kind of support he needs.

The other problems are, McLaren didn’t have the best car and he could not keep up with some other drivers. He doesn’t manage the Pirellis well. Then he upset the team by saying silly things to the media. He had a good lesson in overtaking from Button which I am sure had an impact.

He now has to re-build the relationship with the team and the team believes Button could be a better person to bring them the world championship to the team next year. Even though he doesn’t agree with what Whitmarsh said, that is a fact and he has to deal with all this.

Looks like McLaren has a better car in Abu Dhabi. A win would definetely cheer him up.


Well yes we all suspected that. The fact is Jenson is on a high and Lewis has been on a low and that has reflected on both their performances both positively and negatively respectively. What more is there to say. Frankly I'm sick of hearing about it. I will say that Jenson has surprised me in how he has improved both his qualifying and race performance beyond what I though him capable of. - but good luck to him!

He hasn't really come up against Lewis in top form yet, and it is my hope that Lewis will mature, become more emotionally settled, and concentrate on his driving rather than anything else.


I think the gist of it is here in James's words:

"Every driver is different; some need an emotional life support system around them, others, like Robert Kubica, are more self contained and need just a manager by their side."

"...in a sports context, whatever makes you perform is the right set up. It’s an important thing to get right, because a driver has to focus on getting the maximum from himself throughout a race weekend and he needs his life to be in balance to achieve that."

It's not fair, although completely natural, for each of us to imagine how we would react in the situation; we aren't Lewis. He seems to know himself well, and if he says he needs people around him who believe in him, and say so, then I'm sure he's right. He's probably lucky in that sense to have the example of Jenson's support right there in front of him, because if he had a loner teammate he might waste a year or two trying to fit that template.

He's not going to rush into a marriage. He's just going to be serious about his relationships.

And, full confession, that IS how I would react in his situation. I think he'll be alright. He'll be back on form soon enough.


What strikes me is that he never admits his own failures. Yet again, the reasons for his lackluster performances are not realted to his own doings but to some outer circumstances (i.e. "protective bubble").

The other way around, he diminishes JBs achievements. (i.e. JB is doing as expected considering his great environment and all the advantages he has over poor hamilton.)

I so can not stand this kind of attitude ..


I'm inclined to agree.

I remember his press conference about the lying incident in Malaysia.

Paraphrased: "I'm sorry, in that I regret it happened, but as for responsibility I was misled by the team manager. In life it's easy to be misled. It's important, as a man, that I come here and say this."

Also on the Canada 2008 crash where Raikkonen observed the red light and Hamilton caused an accident he said, "Personally, I think the rule is silly. How can you see a light at the end of the pitlane?" (ask Kimi).

I'm not aware he took any responsibility for passing Vettel by cutting the chicane at France 08, his part in the Hungary 2007 qualifying row where he admitted disobeying a team instruction related to a known team protocol.

I personally don't believe, in this case, his performances have suffered because of his personal problems.


Agree and its a tendency now.


"lackluster performances are not realted"

lacklustre spelling. LOL!


He's a bit of a baby really, lacking emotional resilience. He's young, but its not like he's 14. Yes its crap what he's been through personally but so what? Those things happen (to lots of people) and he has to take responsibility and move on. And most importantly do his job, for which he needs to remember he is handsomely rewarded. I'm not surprised Whitmarsh appears to be running low on empathy. I like Hamilton as a driver but I'm getting sick of his whining as a personality.


The guy needs to grow up and act like a professional - end of story.


I think that this is a revealing piece.

Unfortunately it doesn't really say anything positive about Hamilton's current state of mind. I think that whatever problems he has he is allowing them to consume him, and it sounds like he has convinced himself that he can only perform with a bubble of people around him. This rhetoric brings to mind the image of the urchin looking through the window to the happy family scene.

Seriously, he needs to stop wallowing in this and get his mind right. Whatever support you feel you might need, performance comes from within.


Maybe Hamilton doesn't have enough girlies...look at what happened to Tiger when that ended!


There's a lot of truth in what happened.


LOL! Wow you wanna make Lewis feel small.


Haha, not at all, just suggesting that a if 1 girl doesn't work, try 33!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish I was JH. He had 99 problems but, well you know the rest...


Bet ya Lewis will bounce back next year. As long as he knows his problems means there's a solution.


I thought I'd look up the results to the Argentine Grand Prix after your mention of Villeneuve's fight with his girlfriend. Pole position and the win. I guess it wasn't a fight he dwelled on much or possibly he put his fiery emotions to good use.


Always loved his baggy race suit. Style man. I remember hearing a story that he split up with Dannii Minogue partly because he was playing too many online games. Legend.


Yeah, all that after he was physically unwell too.


Actually I don't think it's Hamilton at all. It's the media: They jump on every last vestige of infomation about him that comes their way, and I'm sure he's as sick of it as we are. Yes he's been through a bad patch, so what, don't we all, but I daresay that F1 racing is one area where one cannot get through in coast mode like most other jobs. - It requires 100% commitment for success as all the top drivers know.


I think he has simply made too many errors and driving most of the time average this year. Period. The rest is just trying to find excuses. Being beaten by Vettel and Button will do only good to his ego and coming years.


The Villeneuve comment was really interesting and would be good to hear more on it, although it's nothing.


He's back with the same girl now, Sandrine. I spoke to them in Montreal last year and reminded them of this incident. They remembered and laughed about it, JV was just able to put it straight out of his mind. Last night here in Abu Dhabi I had dinner with Mika Salo and he agreed that personal matters go straight out of your head when you drive. But of course they weigh on you and sap energy the rest of the time


One point here is that Villeneuve put his car on pole and went on to win the Argentinian GP in '97. So, having a fight with his girlfriend worked well for him! Come on Lewis, man up.

James, we'd all be interested to know how drivers managed the "bubble" in days past. For example, did the WDC's of yester-year need a "bubble entourage"? Seems like a new age problem to me.


Hi James I would like u to coment about this staement made by Alonso today. "In fact, at the next winter testing he [Hamilton] will be the only one I'll be watching closely. The other guys can win if they've got the best car; he's the one who's able to clinch a championship with a car that's not the best."


Same goes for Alonso. Just hope 2012 we'll have six drivers fight for the championship.


I think he's right at the moment. It's a nice thing to say, but both of them would prefer to have a winning car. They are afraid Red Bull will be ahead again and that's quite likely


It could be while before Lewis finds himself another hot model / singer...I mean, how many girls would want an F1 champion.

Surely his best bet would be an internet dating website?


Its a revelation... I hope he gets whatever he wants around him to go out and unleash himself on the track... He is extremely excitable to watch... So, I wish him well to find the personal stability he so desires 🙂


Hi James,

"I remember seeing Jacques Villeneuve having a blazing row with his girlfriend minutes before qualifying for the Argentinian Grand Prix in 1997."

Forgive me but I'm not sure what your intended point is with this statement. I don't recall the session however: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Argentine_Grand_Prix states he stuck it on pole. Are you saying that some drivers are thicker skinned than others?




I think Lewis's feelings are misplaced. The Team should be your support system, not your friends or family. As a professional sportsman, whether or not your family or friends are around you to create that bubble should be irrelevant, because with professional sportsman, the love of the sport, love of the team and the will to win should sufficient to propel you to success. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, when they were at McLaren, were successful in building a strong support system within the team. The question is, has Lewis Hamilton done the same within McLaren or has he alienated the team with his tantrums, errors and demands? James, I hope you can share some insight into this...


Just to add to my previous comment, it looks like Jenson Button has created that support structure within the McLaren team. He loves the team and they love him back by signing him to a multi-year contract. I guess the real question is, has Lewis Hamilton worn out his welcome within the McLaren team? It doesn't look like, given Martin Whitmarsh's comments and Lewis's occasional outbursts at his engineer on the car radio, that he has many friends left within the team. Perhaps this is affecting his performance. What do you think James?


It suspect the relationship between Hamilton & Whitmarsh is far from the 'father & son' relationship he had with Ron Dennis, but this could be attributed to failings by both driver and team boss, or just a fact of life, that some of us get along with some people better than others. I think MW would prefer LH to be more like JB, in that JB has taken care of that aspect of his life, without needing MW to help him, as no doubt MW has enough to do without having to worry about the drivers mental state.

All drivers are paid handsomely, if they need a tribe of people to come to the races to make them feel better, they have the money to make it happen, as long as they dont end up distracting the drivers from doing his job!.

I also get the feeling LH's issues stem from his relationship with his dad, which seems complex. Maybe LH just need a dad/friend with him, but maybe his father cant help but act like a manager? so LH has separated them a bit. Sometimes a father/son relationship can be a strained one. Maybe a close, long time friend being at the races might be the answer, as ive always noticed Valentino Rossi has several close friends almost always attending each round of MotoGP with him.


There are bumps in the road, but a manager like Whitmarsh is always going to want a driver of Hamilton's calibre. He just needs managing


What I cant understand is why Lewis brings in his personal life into the competitve world of F1....I have never seen any other racing driver competing at this level to jerk in the knees due to lack of a "bubble" in the pits...not even the over-passionate Senna during his prime....

All this media pressure, limlight, public and fan opinions is a given at this level of competition and is the same for all the remaining drivers in the grid..Thats why they are F1 drivers to start with...and not you a nd me..Why Alonso does not yearn for his papa'n'mama by his side..nor does Vettel nor does any multiple world champion...all of them are head strong ruthless racers...

Hamilton is doing more harm to his career simply by having to rely on a "bubble" to get his mojo right...rather than a killer instinct to defeat his competition....and yes a low maintenance girl would help....I would love to see Hamilton win a championship again....

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