• Problems still exist four months after shock split
• British grand pix could see handshake on grid
Lewis Hamilton has admitted there are still problems to overcome in his relationship with his father, Anthony, four months after the two men became professionally estranged.
It was in March, two weeks before the start of the Formula One season in Bahrain, that Lewis announced he was no longer managed by his father and the pair did not speak for several weeks.
Hamilton has invited Anthony to the British grand prix at Silverstone next Sunday, but said: “Everything was not 100% in the past. But we’re definitely continuing to build on the relationship and things are moving slowly. We’re letting things take their time and move progressively and move naturally, rather than forcing things. It’s generally positive. He’s always sending me positive messages before the race and we spoke before the race in Montreal and pretty much every week. Since quite a long time ago now we’ve had a message every week.”
Observing the Wildean advice that fathers should be neither seen nor heard – “that is the only proper basis for family life” – the older Hamilton has been busying himself with his own business affairs this summer.
Having guided his son’s driving career from the age of eight, taking him from karting to the Formula One world title in 2008, Anthony did not respond well to the news that he was no longer wanted in the pit-lane. “It’s not all smiles and happiness,” Lewis said in China earlier in the season.
This weekend, though, we may see the two men shaking hands on the grid before Sunday’s race. “I don’t think it’s necessary, but if he happens to be on the grid then it would be great,” Lewis said.
Asked whether his father was coming to Silverstone, Hamilton said, vaguely: “I think he’s coming, yeah. I’ve invited him. I’ve invited all my family. So pretty much all my family is coming. I’ve got grandstand tickets, so I said you can choose whether you want to be in the paddock or in the grandstand.
“I said he should go into the paddock, but then he should go and experience something different, because he’s always watched it either from TV or in the paddock.
“In Montreal I had some of my friends and family in the grandstand at Turn 1 and they had the best experience from there, so hopefully from the BRDC [British Racing Drivers’ Club] area he’ll have a good view and he might go and watch it from there.”
Hamilton has hardly been a study in Garboesque solitude since the split with his father, but he admits he has relished the opportunity to take charge of his own life.
Asked whether the move had given him the chance to grow, the championship leader said: “It really has, it really has. I’ve just grown. I’m still learning so many things and I’m pretty much managing myself now, taking the reins and controlling things. I feel quite proud that I’ve not just rushed into things, not rushed into that management, or rushed into that.
“And bit by bit I’ve focused on things, working in certain areas I didn’t necessarily understand or know about before. Sometimes it takes longer, but it’s going well. Right now the way things are work very well for me.”
After a series of mishaps in the early races this year – not all down to him – there were suggestions that Hamilton might be missing his father’s influence. But he has driven brilliantly all year and his luck changed at the end of May when he won in Istanbul. He won again in the following race, in Montreal, and was then second to Sebastian Vettel in Valencia eight days ago.