Hamilton has no intention of going off rails
Thursday 11 March 2010
Lewis Hamilton has no intention of going off the rails now he no longer has by his side two dominant characters who have ruled his life.
Less than a year ago Hamilton lost mentor Ron Dennis who stepped down as McLaren team principal, many believe to ensure his team avoided severe punishment over the 'lie-gate' scandal.
Dennis had been an instrumental figure in Hamilton's career since the age of 13 when he was taken on by McLaren and Mercedes as part of their driver development programme.
Then just last week, the 25-year-old announced a parting of the ways from his dad Anthony as his manager, insisting he wanted to build a more normal father-son relationship away from F1.
Ahead of the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain this weekend, it leaves Hamilton without a guiding figure at a race for the first time in his life, a situation he is convinced he can handle.
"When Ron stepped back, nothing really changed. We've still a good relationship, and if anything it has actually grown," remarked Hamilton.
"Rather than a stressed, thoughtful boss thinking about the job and always giving you advice, now he just gives an opinion.
"He is so relaxed now, and I think it will probably be the same with my dad.
"Inevitably, with my dad taking a step back, I will have to make some more decisions for myself.
"But then I've always been able to do that anyway. For example, I chose where I wanted to live, although I still hope to be guided in the same way."
Although Hamilton has rekindled his romance with Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, he maintains there is no wild side about to emerge.
"I don't think so," added Hamilton.
"I am who I am. I don't think anybody has stopped me from being who I wanted to be.
"When I arrived in the sport, I didn't go out and buy a million different cars, I took my time.
"Maybe I might buy one car this year, and I might go to one more Amber Lounge (post-race) party this year than I did last year. Who knows? But that's not being wild.
"I've still the same girl, I race for the same team and I've still the same dedication and determination.
"I don't think you should try and change something that works. My style, my approach, has always worked for me, and I tend to keep it that way."
For now, until Hamilton acquires a new manager, team principal Martin Whitmarsh will have to take up the mantle of guiding light.
Although Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button are all smiles at the moment as they attempt to build their friendship, Whitmarsh has recognised inevitable issues may arise.
As Whitmarsh recently commented: "At some point, one of them is going to feel uncomfortable because he is getting beaten by the other."
That could lead to friction and be a time when Hamilton will need to turn to someone for advice, although he feels it will not come to that.
"Formula One is the pinnacle of the sport, it's so intense, so much is going on, so you can't guess whether we will have a tough time at some stage, or something like that," added Hamilton.
"But we're professionals, and we have a mutual respect for one another that we will deal with it professionally. That's my feeling."
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