Lewis Hamilton has blamed problems in his personal life – and not the quality of the McLaren car – during the 2010 season as a contributing factor to him not winning a second Drivers’ Championship title this year.
The insight came in a series of radio interviews the Briton provided, where he rated the last season just a six out of ten, despite taking three victories and keeping his championship hopes alive into the final round at Abu Dhabi.
While Hamilton did not specify the specific instances that upset his rhythm, three clearly spring to mind.
Secondly, was the embarrassing incident in Melbourne during the Australian Grand Prix when he was arrested for ‘hoon’ driving, and later hit with a fine when the matter was heard in the state’s courts.
Lastly, and no doubt more crucially, there was the split between Lewis and his father, Anthony, who had been his manager ever since he ventured into motorsport circles. The two were rarely seen together in 2010, in direct contrast to Hamilton Sr’s almost permanent presence in the McLaren garage in previous years.
“The personal life, the way things have gone have not been as smooth and as happy as they could have been in the past and to do what I do is a combination of many, many things that are surrounding you,” Hamilton told BBC 1 in an interview.
“It’s not just arriving at the race track and driving, it’s your appearances, it’s your mood swings, it’s the people that are around you – your family and your friends – and the time that you are able to give to them and the relationship that you have with them.”
Hamilton went on to add that his focus on 2011 was to ensure he had more balance in his approach to everything.
“As soon as some of those things are off – and you’ve not got all those pieces of the puzzle in place – then it makes it very hard to do other aspects of your life as easily. The key I think to life is getting all those pieces of the puzzle in place,” he continued.
“My plan right now is to … smooth everything off and make sure that next year I am 100 percent clear in my mind and have no outside intrusions mentally.”
Hamilton drew parallels between his own struggles and that of golfer Tiger Woods – maybe Nicole should be worried! – who failed to secure a single tournament victory in the wake of his sordid sex scandal that led to his high-profile divorce.
“Look at the likes of Tiger Woods – I see him as the best golfer, he’s a complete legend,” Hamilton said. “He’s had many, many things that have had an impact on him this year, but he still plays, he still pars it, he still gets birdies. But that to him is a bad year, but to other people – I play golf and I’d love to get a par! – when everything is right he is amazing.”
Hamilton went on to discuss his 2010 championship, which marked the second successive season that he had failed to finish inside the top-three of a championship (a fact he seemed willing to forget)…
“It’s been a long time since I finished out of the top three of a championship in my career,” he added. “Finishing fourth is not something that I’m not particularly proud of.”
“We had a solid couple of bad races where I lost points which would have put me in a much stronger position to compete for the championship at the end of the year,” he added, referring to his race crashes at the Italian and Singaporean Grands Prix.
The 2011 championship seasons starts in mid-March at the Bahrain Grand Prix.