• ‘People don’t understand the problems I’ve been going through’
• Hamilton says team-mate Jenson Button has outdriven him
Lewis Hamilton has admitted that his bubble has burst and he needs more support, following the most difficult season of his career. Hamilton has won only two races, been involved in collisions and run-ins with officials and is poised to finish below his McLaren team-mate, Jenson Button.
As he prepared for the penultimate race of the season here on Sunday, languishing in fifth place in the drivers’ championship, the 2008 world champion appeared to be looking enviously at his team-mate.
“Jenson’s done a great job to get things in the right place,” Hamilton said. “He’s got his dad there, who’s there every single race, he’s got his management there, he’s got his friends, he’s got his girlfriend there all the time. He’s got a great bubble around him, which he’s really happy with.
“With that, he’s able to go out and perform without any worries on his mind – which I did have at one point. I lost that bubble and I don’t have that around me at the moment. I’m working on having that for the future. The conscious and subconscious part of your mind is very important in this business.”
In his most frank interview of the season, the troubled Hamilton suggested that he regretted sacking his father, Anthony, as his agent before the beginning of the 2010 season. After some personal difficulties between them, the two men are clearly close again but in the summer the driver signed with the high-profile agent Simon Fuller, whose XIX Entertainment business also handles the affairs of David Beckham and Andy Murray.
Hamilton, who announced last month that he had split with his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, has been making bad decisions on and off the track. But at least he is addressing them: “There’s not a lot of people who really understand the issues I’ve had this year and the problems I’ve been going through, and which I’ve been going through for the last two years. I just can’t comment on them because it’s not really the place or time to do so.
“I would never work with a sports psychologist – I never have and I never will. But it is a priority for me to create that atmosphere around myself. Because it’s a happy bubble, you’re happy with your friends and your family and the people you love most. It’s just a big, positive bubble which I need to get around me.”
He denied suggestions that Button’s superior driving this year had got to him. “Jenson clearly has been the stronger team-mate this year, without a doubt. He’s doing a magnificent job. My problems have been deeper than that. There have been other issues that have really been causing problems. And I know that when I’m on form in my own car I can take it to a limit that others won’t be able to.
“It would make a big difference if I was able to have a clean two races without seeing the stewards and without having a penalty. On top of that, winning – I think it would be really beautiful, it would be really nice.”
Hamilton’s biggest problem on the track has been Felipe Massa, with whom he has had six separate incidents. “It’s unfortunate we’ve come together,” Hamilton said. “I don’t particularly enjoy the remarks he comes out with quite a lot. I just rise above it.”