• Ex-champion admits he was trying to juggle too many issues
• Jenson Button has private dinner with McLaren team-mate
Lewis Hamilton, who admits he was “battling everybody” last season, and Jenson Button have had a private dinner for only the second time since their intense rivalry at McLaren started two years ago.
A relaxed-looking Hamilton has come to terms with the fact that he had too much on his plate on some occasions last year.
“I wasn’t operating on all cylinders,” he said. “There were times when – such as Abu Dhabi – I was on good form, but still not 100%. And that’s where I want to be this season.
“There were times last year when I was juggling too many things. There were too many things hanging over me, too many things which were unfinished, questions in my mind, whether it was purchases, investments, management, lawyers or family.
“There were lots of things and I didn’t have the pieces of the puzzle in the right place. I was all over the place last season. I didn’t think anything was a positive. But I’ve corrected things and now I’ve got a clean slate. I’ve got nothing worrying me.
“Last year I was battling everybody. I was having trouble with stewards, I was having trouble with many different people. I want to fix that. I’m looking forward to having a good relationship with Felipe [Massa] and from the end of last year I’ve been working on my relationship with the stewards. I’ve got to stay out of trouble so I don’t have to visit them so much.”
The two former world champions have always enjoyed a good, though very competitive, professional relationship at the Woking-based factory. But last season was Hamilton’s most difficult in Formula One and he finished second to his team-mate.
As the two men prepared for the first testing session of the season in Jerez this week, Button said: “We went out for dinner after the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of last season.
“We had some steak and it was fun. The only other time we have dined together was when I signed the contract. It was good. We have spent two long years together and most of the time it has been behind the wheel or in the engineer’s office and we’re always in uniform or answering questions about each other.
“So it felt good to have dinner together and look at the past couple of years and have a laugh about it.” Speaking about his relationship with other drivers, Button added: ” I’m all right with other drivers. I don’t hold a grudge with drivers. If I do something wrong I go and get it out with them immediately.”
The new Formula One season gets under way in Melbourne in six weeks.