• Abu Dhabi win gives 2008 world champion certain serenity
• I think I should be fine in Brazil, Hamilton adds
It has been a turbulent season for Lewis Hamilton, on and off the track. But the McLaren driver’s first victory since July here on Sunday left him in an almost serene mood as he looked forward to the final race of the year, in Brazil on Sunday week. Relief, more than elation, was the abiding emotion.
“I definitely needed the win,” he said. “I think I should be fine in Brazil. I have had great support when I have been there. It was tough when I was racing with Felipe [Massa] for the championship. But I think I have growing support over there. I guess I will just see when I get there.
“It was great having my mum in Abu Dhabi but I don’t want to keep talking about my bubble. I will definitely try to have her, my family and my brother here more often. It is difficult with my brother because he is racing all the time, but I would like to have him here more often.”
Hamilton is still very reticent about the problems that have plagued him in this, his most difficult season. This has led some to describe him as a complex individual, but he is not, particularly.
Rather, the 26-year-old is a combination of the bright and the innocent, which appears to confuse him as much as everyone one else. When this ageing prodigy speaks, he comes across a little like one of JM Barrie’s Lost Boys in Neverland.
“The reason why I have never spoken about [my problems] is because it is personal. It is family-related. But I haven’t doubted my talent. Other people have, but it has always been there.
“It is just getting through the mess. It is like getting through the clouds. When you take off, particularly in England, you go through all those clouds. Then you get to the top, where it is just clear. I think I have been going through all that turbulent air for a while now. Every now and then it is kind of smooth and then it goes again. On Sunday I was above the clouds and it was a great feeling.
“I am always the hardest on myself. I don’t know if other drivers are as hard on themselves as I am. That is just how I have dealt with it. Maybe in the future I will try to be less critical. But when you are driving the car and you see yourself make mistakes it is frustrating, because you know that if you are in your right head-space you would never make those mistakes.
“I hate making mistakes. When I play golf, I know I can hit the ball properly. It is just like a lap. You want to hit that apex every time and when you don’t it is frustrating. And it tells in results. It is the flow of things. Look at the last race [in India]. I qualified second, and if I had started second the whole race would have been completely different. But I didn’t. I got the penalty.”
Hamilton cannot relax just yet. In the compact world of Neverland another adventure is never far away. It is a little like Formula One. And Hamilton knows that winning one race is just a quick fix. “Winning definitely does put a smile on your face, but it is temporary. It lasts for a short amount of time and you are on to the next one straight away. But championships last forever.”
Meanwhile Jenson Button is taking satisfaction from the fact that he is the first McLaren driver to finish ahead of Hamilton in the world championship. He said: “It’s nice to finish in front of your team-mate over a season. It’s not easy when your team-mate is Lewis Hamilton. Because he’s extremely quick.”