Lewis Hamilton has described the suggestion that he may benefit from having more support in the wake of disappointing races as “rubbish”. Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and after comments by his father saying the driver’s management team “need to do more”, Hamilton believes he is more than capable of coping alone without the help of a driver-manager in attendance.
No members of his management team, Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, were present at the last race in Singapore where Hamilton tagged Felipe Massa, causing a puncture for which he received a drive-through penalty. Massa reacted angrily afterwards criticising Hamilton’s driving and specifically the number of incidents in which he was involved after which Anthony Hamilton, who had been his son’s manager until March this year, suggested he needed more personal management during race weekends.
Hamilton, however, immediately dismissed the suggestion he would benefit from having someone to talk to when off the track. “Rubbish. Never. I’ve never needed someone to speak to in the evenings,” he said.
“If I wanted to speak to anyone I would give my missus a call and speak to her.
“I just deal with it myself. If I have a bad day the last thing I want to do is come home and explain myself. I think I’ve earned the right by where I am now to not have to explain myself to anyone.”
The driver did also reveal that it did not imply a lack of reflection on his own part. “Of course you think about what happened. That’s all you think about. It’s all you ever think about. What if, what happened, if I’d had done this at that turn there, all the situations, you think about it for days and days and days.” An element of self-analysis the driver will be familiar with after a season peppered with visits to the marshals, penalties and race incidents.
Despite Hamilton Sr’s comments he remains a constant in the driver’s career. “At the end of the day I’ve got people like my father I can pick up the phone and speak to if I want to speak to someone, he’s there all the time, through the weekend, if I really want to [speak to him] he’ll be there,” he said.
The management issue may not go away. Last week reports had suggested some drivers were intending to question the number of incidents involving Hamilton at the drivers’ briefing ahead of this weekend’s race. Although Massa said in Suzuka that he will not be raising the matter and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman, Rubens Barrichello, has said he does not expect it to be discussed, it is potentially the kind of issue where a driver may find track-side support invaluable.
Hamilton remains convinced that at the momentthe best call remains his call: “It’s my decision at race weekends. I don’t actually want people at the races. A driver doesn’t need to have people at the race. Sometimes it’s good to have people there, sometimes it’s not. At the moment I prefer to be alone.”
Asked if the tide would turn, Hamilton said: “I don’t have an answer for it. I don’t see anybody else having the problems I’m having, but then I don’t see many people who have achieved what I’ve achieved. Up until the end of 2008 I’d won a championship every second year of my career since I was eight years old. “I’ve done pretty well up until now, but I’ve had a couple of tough years, with this year the most trying, testing year of my career so far. It’s not about how or what I’ve done this year, it’s about how I rise out of it, rise above it and come back out on top at some stage.”