Anthony Hamilton on Lewis ‘having his own space’, as Button questions Mercedes move
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Nov 2012   |  1:01 pm GMT  |  171 comments

Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, has given a revealing insight into how his relationship with his son has evolved over the last couple of years and why the move to Mercedes is another example of him flying the nest.

Hamilton Snr’s presence in McLaren’s post-race celebrations of Hamilton’s brilliant victory in Austin pointed towards father and son having firmly been reconciled this year after a period in which their relationship, publicly at least, has appeared more distant.

The pair had been famously more akin to a double act as Lewis came through the motorsport ranks and into his record-breaking early years of F1. However, that started to change in early 2010 when the McLaren driver decided to stop having his career managed by his father before eventually appointing XIX to look after his affairs.

Appearing on the BBC Radio 5 Live Chequered Flag Podcast (click here to listen) amid McLaren’s celebrations of his son’s victory on Sunday, Anthony acknowledged that Lewis had felt a desire to “have his own space”, implying that the 27-year-old had belatedly experienced his teenage “tantrum years”.

“To be honest it hasn’t been so much (me) not being part of the set-up, it’s been Lewis having his own space, us having our own space, and Lewis is now going to have his own space next year. It’s what kids do isn’t it?” Hamilton Snr said.

“The unfortunate thing for young racing drivers is that they don’t have the opportunity to go through the tantrum years. I’ve been fortunate – actually maybe I’ve been unfortunate, I’m not so sure! – none of my kids went through the terrible teens. When you’re a racing driver, or a kart racer or a single-seater racer you don’t have time to go off the rails, you’ve got to stay on the rails.

“So it’s been interesting. But the family are great as we always have been and we have all found our feet in life if you want.”

The comments from Hamilton – who described Sunday as “Lewis’s greatest ever race” – regarding the Mercedes move come at a time when fresh questions over its logic are being raised given the Brackley team’s current travails.

While Hamilton was beating Sebastian Vettel to his fourth win of the season on Sunday, his new employer was faring far worse with Michael Schumacher enduring what he bluntly described as a “disaster” as he slipped from fifth on the grid to 16th at the chequered flag having had to make two pit stops due to high rear tyre wear.

Ironically, since Hamilton’s move 2013 to the team was announced in the week before the Japanese GP Mercedes has failed to score a single point in five races.

Perhaps with that statistic in mind, his current team-mate, Jenson Button, continues to assert that Hamilton is making an error in leaving McLaren.

Asked in the same podcast if Hamilton’s victory had been good for the team as a whole, Button replied: “Especially for him. He’s leaving us – I still think it’s the wrong decision, but it’s his own.”

He added: “It’s always great having a very quick team-mate like Lewis. He pushes you hard and we’ve had some good battles over the last three years. But things change, you move on, and I’m excited about working with Checo.”

Hamilton’s move to Mercedes is one of the many big stories of the season covered in the 2012 JA on F1 yearbook – “The Year of Living Dangerously”. Pre-order your signed copy here ahead of its release on December 7.

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I am sticking to my prediction I made on this forum. After Sunday, Lewis will never win another race.

I have been supporting Lewis since Euro F 3 . Chatted with Dad and Lewis in the F 3 paddock. I even gave Lewis advice not to let Mercedes send him to Tin Tops like Jamie Green !

This is a Stupid, stupid, stupid decision. Should only have gone to Ferrari or whatever team Adrian Newey is designing for. Even better stay at Woking.

Disgruntled Lewis fan.


@ Robert On the contrary. I don’t think it’s a stupid move at all. I just think Lewis had to get out of Mclaren. There’s something seriously wrong with that team. All their top drivers leave. They don’t know how to treat people. The reason why LH is leaving will eventually come out and it won’t be pretty. Ask Alonso.


Bear in mind that after three years of the contract he will only be 31, same as Alonso is now.

If he doesn’t win in first two years something will be seriously wrong and he may well have the chance to move.

I think end of 2014 will see a lot of change in driver market, he will win more races and probably one more title, don’t worry about that


Very much hope you are right James.

I hope Lewis wins tomorrow, but it will make me even more annoyed !


“The unfortunate thing for young racing drivers is that they don’t have the opportunity to go through the tantrum years”…”when you’re a racing driver or a kart racer or a single seater racer you don’t have time to go off the rails”. Anthony Hamilton talking to James on the Podcast.

I’m surprised more people haven’t commented or picked up on this. I had to watch the Sky coverage at the weekend and Anthony Hamilton came out with an almost identical statement when talking to the presenters after the race. I thought it was an astonishing admission from the father of one of the sports biggest stars.


Interesting comments from Hamilton Snr.

To what extent do you think Hamilton’s recent form is attributable to the (apparent) improvement in his relationship with his father?


I think he’s come on a long way in 2012 and this aspect is part of it, of course.

He’s in a good place, as is his Dad and they confront the Mercedes challenge with enthusiasm and with a clear conscience.

I have always felt this year that Hamilton was going to leave, whatever McLaren offered him. And having made the decision he’s at peace with it


I’m surprise how adamant Button is about Lewis’ move to Mercedes. I wonder why?

Never a Hamilton fan but…

I’m actually quite positive about Lewis in Mercedes and I can’t wait to see the real Lewis in full flight.


Many good and well thought comments here. My own bit is, nobody can state with certainty where Mercedes will be in terms of their competition in 2013 or 2014.It would appear that they have hired a group of people that is capable of producing a winning car. I would assume that they have a great enough budget to back the brains up, so there is nothing wanting for them to achieve their goals.

All that being said, I can’t see them being at the sharp end next year. If as believed, the rules remain mostly the same, starting an all new car concept will put them behind the teams that “only” have to refine an already good car. Sure, they could come up with a silver bullet but again, the rules are such that it is difficult to imagine them being able to do so.

2014 is another story altogether as everyone involve will start from an almost blank sheet of paper. I don’t buy the Mercedes will have the best engine bit though. Both Ferrari & Renault engines have won more races over time than the Merc. Pity Ford are not in it anymore, as the most successful engine maker if I am not wrong. Even if they do produce the best engine, it is not like it is, WCC in the pocket. Engines are less of a factor that they may have been in earlier years. While the Renault engine is not seen as the best nor second best, it has power the Team that is the WCC for the past three years. Hasn’t it?

If LH felt that the right thing for him to do, was to move out of McLaren so be it. I am not convince that merc was is preferred choice, but where else would he have find a drive with at least the possibility of getting into a team with potential and the means to pay the level of salary he expects? RB and Ferrari were not available for whatever reasons, Lotus probably could not afford him, and the rest just don’t seem possible candidates to produce a consistent winning car.

For me, he did not make the wisest choice in terms of where the best car lays, McLaren being a much safer bet. He must have been truly unhappy with his situation there to even consider the move. Lets hope for him that he actually pick the right place to be, it won’t be long before we all find out. Marc


Getting a bit bored of this criticism of Lewis moving to Merc. Im very disappointed with my favourite driver for continually banging on about it. JB, please lay off.

Its simple, he is no longer fully comfortable at McLaren and had to move. He spent all his racing life there and they are more like family than possibly any other driver/team in history. We all know that there comes a point where we as normal people have to leave our homes, or we become frankly weirdos. Lewis either knows that or feels that. Either way he has made a mature, bold decision. Damn well respect that. No, its not for F1 or winning reasons, but for his own good as a young man. A move like this must be really scary, and its a bold move. He must know his chances of success are less, but still he has moved.

While Im at it, I find McLaren’s reaction to this to be very very immature. All these digs and overt bigging up of Perez is so childish, and frankly they are acting like teenage jilted lovers. Whitmarsh needs to grow up and accept and respect Lewis for the man he is.

In fact, perhaps its that petty childishness that Lewis needs to escape from. Heh, only just thought that. Yeah, maybe that is the reason. If this is how McLaren behave in public, then who knows how petty they are in private?


I am suprised none of the F1 media picked on the “re-structuring” of the race engineers at Mclaren when JB joined as the tipping pint for lewis, and as a previous poster said, i truly believe that was when Mclaren lost Lewis. I have never seen that happen in any other team, Massa’s race engineer didn’t change when Alonso joined, neither did Nico’s engineer change when MS joined. So i don’t understand why Martin Whitmash felt the need to bend all the way backwards just to make JB feel comfortable.

He had worked with Phill Prew for 3 years and suddenly a new boy joins the team and it all changes.

I for one wish him well at Mercedes and i look forward to supporting him regardless of where he drives


Get your facts right guy’s, Phil Prew was not ‘taken away’ from Lewis and given to Jenson, Prew was promoted to oversee both sides of the garage, Jenson’s first race engineer was Jacob Andreasson and is now Dave Robson, Phil Prew has NEVER been his race engineer.



1. Prew was Lewis Engineer

2. Jakob was Lewis Assitant Engineer

3. Both were taken away-ostensibly Prew promoted to oversee both sides of garage and Jakob his Ass.Engineer promoted to Race Engineer. However, Jakob was then TAKEN from Lewis and handed to Button. IMHO this was INEXCUSABLE!!!Especially as the Engineer Lewis ended up with seemed to take a while to grow into the role and I was never convinced he ever did.


Come on Jenson, if you are not using every tool available (including politics), to become the lead driver, you are not doing your job which you already know. It’s not that anything wrong with it, just saying.



There has been a lot said regarding Hamilton’s ability, or lack off, to help develop the Mercedes.

There is obviously a great deal of misunderstanding on what a top driver like Hamilton can actually contribute to the car development under the current regime of limited testing and financial constraints.

Perhaps you can do a piece and enlighten us. It does not necessarily have to be Hamilton centric.



Once that DDRS system on the Mercedes is gone I think half their problems will disappear. The other half are very minor tweaks to their suspension and small adjustments to the aero which I think Lewis can have some input to.

Mercedes may not be challenging RBR or Mclaren regularly but they will be much stronger than this year (that wont be hard). Also they will be better placed come 2014.

On the other hand Mclaren build the best cars year in year out and give their titles away by almost tripping over one another both in management and in the garage !. Regardless Hamiltons decision is the best one he has made in a long time, because its an opportunity for him to take a leading role rather than being a passenger in the politics and strict sponsor engagements of Mclaren.


The merc is a lemon! crush it.


As a minority, I find Whitmarsh’s constant reference to Perez’s “intelligence” rather condescending. Or perhaps a dig at Lewis?. Now Button has picked up that theme which I find rather amusing. I mean, really?. Maybe JB ought to take up a lectureship somewhere rather than drive a race car round a track.


Some good omens for Lewis at Mercedes.

The, last driver to scoop up Schumi’s seat (Kimi) went on to win the title the following year

In 2013, Lewis will be 28, the same same Aryton won his first title plus Lewis always does the business in his first or second seasons e.g. The GP2 title and the F1 title respectively.


@ Rob Newman

I need to understand what Hamilton’s

ambitions are.


Well, after the announcement was made, Lewis said he hopes one day his name with be mentioned in the same breath as Schumi i.e. Drivers who went to struggling teams and helped turn them around.

So I would say, Lewis ambition with the Mercedes move is to go down as a legend for this challenge (when it works out), has lots of benefits & perks ~ reputation wise that is.

Also, Lewis must have been disheartened by the operational & mechanical failures at Mclaren (remember the long deliberation at the Thai swimming pool) and decided to take a chance with a proven winner in Ross Brawn.


Ironically, since Hamilton’s move 2013 to the team was announced, Mercedes has failed to score a single point in five races.


You can’t get a more perfect Hollywood script than this.

Before Lewis joins the team, the team is no where and as soon as he steps in, the points & adulation start flooding in.

This is just perfect me thinks.

Glad to see Hammy Junior & Senior back on the straight and narrow for Lewis’ relationships back home mean he will have less distractions on track and we will have more performances like this weekend & Abu-Dhabi & Singapore etc.

Regards Jenson saying Lewis is making a wrong move by joining Mercedes, I think he’s thinking about himself here for with Lewis gone, he would no longer have a bench mark with which to gauge himself.

But one thing I take comfort from Jenson’s words is he has been wrong about a lot of things this year so maybe this will be one more of those things.

Me on the other hand, I believe every single word said by Lewis’ dad (plus Eddie Jordan).

Lewis’ dad believed he would be champion one day and so it was.

Then last year he said, look out for the new Lewis in 2012 and here we are.

And recently he said, Lewis will win it Mercedes (incidentally the analytical Eddie Jordan believes this too)

So yeah, Mercedes joining the sport is just about the best thing that could have happened to Lewis’ career i.e. No British driver has won more than 1 WDC title with the British teams Mclaren or Williams.


I love the cover design, James.

Hamilton’s move to Merc will only be properly judged in retrospect. From here, it looks a mad choice driven by emotion and a huge cheque rather than a need to win (yes, a ‘need’). And that’s a shame, but of course, we’ll all see in the next few seasons whether he made the right choice or not.

Let’s try and be a little humane about it though, shall we? Perhaps after so many years he finds being at McLaren smothering, asphyxiating – or just boring. Regardless of whether the Merc wins races or not, who’s to say he won’t enjoy it more?


James – to what extent has McLaren management / resources been “distracted” by their road car program or the recent announcement that they will be providing technical assistance to Formula E? Are key resources/staff being taken off the F1 project as a result?


What? lol everybody knows Button is better than Hamilon and I for one am looking forward to LH’s decline towards medicority next year. Alonso, Button and Vettel will be duking it out next year, forget the overrated Hamilton


I’ll only be worried for Lewis if he announcea that Craig Pollock is his new manager and Mercedes announce plans for separate liveries on the cars….


I need to understand what Hamilton’s ambitions are. It is well recorded how Schumi with Todt and Brawn turned Ferrari around and made it a multiple championship winning team which was a mess when they joined.

Hamilton says he wants to turn the team around. Is that his real goal or he is leaving because he has created a difficult situation for him at McLaren?

Villeneuve had same ambitions when he joined BAR Honda (or whatever it was called at that time). Rubens and Button didn’t do it. Button won because not because he developed the car but they had some gadget which helped him win. When Alonso joined Ferrari, it was a championship winning car; Kimi won and then Massa won (for a few seconds). The car is not bad but he hasn’t turned the team around.

After joining Torro Rosso and Red Bull, Vettel helped develop the car and brought the first win and first championship.

Only time can tell what Hamilton can do.

Craig in Singapore

From what I’ve heard according to Adrian Newey Webber provides most of the input to the development of the Red Bull.


Ouuch! This one hurts. I’m not so sure they will be much better team. Maybe team in the garage will be better, if they cut all the mistakes and the reliability problems. But driver pairing will certainly be worse. Imagine, they went from Alonso-Hamilton to Button-Perez in 5 years!


Apologies for the comment posted earlier here by kp. It slipped through moderation which was not acceptable.

Comments to this site have increased dramatically, and it’s sometimes hard to get through them all as thoroughly as we should at peak times when we get many hundreds at a time.

We will be cracking down on the general standards of comments from now on to keep debate of a high standard. Sorry if this slows things down and means that a comment is modded out, but it’s time to get a grip here. (JA)


Your efforts are much appreciated James.

I have a blog that gets a mere fraction of yours and I have to wade through about 100 spam comments a day. It feels such a waste of time.


Do you have something in the works where the readers can mod posts up or down and flag comments as spam, troll or flamebait? With the volume of comments going up this is just gonna get harder.


No, we will continue to manage everything ourselves to maintain standards


Thanks James and please consider it a compliment that a site of this calibre should be held to a higher standard than most.


I didn’t want to make you feel like I was having a go at the moderators, i just wasn’t sure if anyone had spotted it. Glad the comment has gone now though. No place for comments like that. Keep up the good work James.


I figured it was because you were swamped. It’s a difficult job to seek out interviews/information & write articles, then sift thru so many comments. I’ve wondered more than once, “when the heck does James ever sleep”? Your efforts are greatly appreciated.




I have plenty of help, especially on moderation but there are so many comments – 1,200 in 48hrs since Sunday night race report was posted!!


I want Hamilton to do well at Mercedes but I do wonder whether he has the temperament if the car is still (at least) fifth fastest on the grid next year. I like him and think he’s a great driver but he’s not the most stable character and I don’t think he’s the sort of person who will ever cope very well watching other people win.

Perhaps he really is thinking more about the long-term – it will certainly be interesting to see how he conducts himself next year.


Perhaps a tough year is exactly what Hamilton needs. More focus will be required on decisions when to fight or not, leading to more consistent points finishes. His ill advised decision to try to hold off Maldonado in a faster car on fresher tires resulted in his retirement. 19 races this year so get points every race keeps one in the hunt. Think Raikkonen this year. The quicker he learns this the quicker he will earn another WDC.

Cool Hand Luke's Brother

I agree that Lewis does not seem like the most stable person, this year we have seen a much more chilled type of guy but last year was not very nice to watch. Especially since his move to Mercedes was confirmed he has come across very relaxed, very chilled, is that a coincidence or proof that now the pressure is off, he can relax and if anything actually drive better?

Could the move to Mercedes be in his mind a ticket to an easy life, no expectations of winning, never mind WDCs?


That may be the motivation but the reality may be domination, given a half decent car and driving as relaxed as he has over the last couple of months………..


In answer to both replies, I think Hamilton is very aware of his ‘place in F1 history’ and I certainly don’t think he will be happy to struggle round in the midfield. He has now had to watch a number of his peers win championships since 2008 and I don’t believe he is happy about that either, particularly when it’s been Vettel winning.

As a result, I’m not convinced he will have the same level of patience that he did back in 2009 when the Mclaren was uncompetitive for the first half of the season. He was world champion that season too, so you could argue there wasn’t the history of frustration that there has been for him since then.

Anyway, it’s all conjecture at this point. As I say, I hope the move works out for him, partly because I can’t bear the media scrutiny and analysis of his moody behaviour when his car isn’t fast enough!


Remember 2009? The car was a donkey!! Yet he pushed the team to improve it, he stuck by them, and by mid season he was winning races again. IMO he DOES have the temperament, and Ill go as far as to say that he has the ability to build a team around him and push the engineers to make the car better.

IMO McLaren “lost” Lewis when they switched HIS race engineer to Jenson


Ha ha yeah, because they’d of won so many races without him….


I think its the right move, it seems to me like McLaren is ran as dictatorship. Drivers dont really have any say , plus it also seems like the “team” is not interested in winning, they seem more interested in being there or thereabouts in order to promote the brand.


McLaren is very much interested in winning, but not for the right reasons. McLaren (Ron Dennis F1) want to win because winning = $$$$$. In my opinion, the pure love of the sport of racing cars has long since died at McLaren.


Hamilton can’t lose –

If 2013 goes badly it’ll be down to the car…

And if it goes well the he’ll assume credit for turning the team’s fortunes around…

Craig in Singapore

Maybe so, but anyone who knows anything about F1 will know that he will have very little influence on the 2013 car. But there are plenty more people who know a lot less about F1 who will probably believe it. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nico will compare to Lewis.



I have not seen one article highlighting Hamilton’s ‘development expertise’.

However, the point I’m making is that in this business any credit due will fall on those with the highest profiles whether they deserve it or not. If Mercedes does turn things around Hamilton’s publicity team will shift into overdrive. There are literally thousands of technically competent support staff in the F1 arena whose names will never feature.


Mercedes looks horrible move at the moment. If they can figure out what is going wrong, they should be able to bounce back. All they have to do is provide a race winning or podium worthy car. McLaren hasn’t done much better.

Craig in Singapore

They’ve already figured out what’s going wrong, and it’s basically un-fixable, which is why they’ve given up on this year’s car and are developing an entirely new one for next year. I, for one, will not be surprised if they are challenging for wins in 2013.


I guarantee as soon as there was a sniff the Merc boys would get a shot to lockdown Lewis, the 2012 car went flying out of the wind tunnel and they dedicated ALL their resources to next years car. It explains the horrible run of scoreless races, and its the logical decision if they want to be at all competitive next year.

Frustrating for Nico and Michael no doubt.


Love the imagery

So true too

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