Hamilton: Tough year helped me grow up


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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton believes this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix here heralds a new chapter in his life in the wake of what has been "a season of growth".

The negativity that swirled around Hamilton for a lengthy period of time appears to have now dissipated as he has come to realise what is important to him. Racing is one thing, but friends and family – the "happy bubble" as he called it a fortnight ago in Abu Dhabi – are another.

Hamilton's third win of the year at the Yas Marina Circuit enhanced his mood, which also improved following a meeting in Los Angeles recently with former girlfriend, the singer Nicole Scherzinger. Sporting a long black set of rosary beads given to him by Scherzinger as a present in LA, Hamilton said: "I'm very much here in a positive frame of mind. I am very happy to be here, I've great memories of being here in the past. Actually she [Scherzinger] was here with me when I won the World Championship [in 2008], so I've very good memories.

"But certainly it was a really positive few days which meant more to me than a race win, so I came away from LA feeling great and things are different, so that's cool. I've a lot of positive energy at the moment."

Asked whether there was a sense of relief the season was now coming to an end, Hamilton replied: "Not relief. I feel that, coming into this weekend, this is the beginning of the future, a new chapter for me. This is almost like the first race of the season, or at least this is the beginning of what's to come.

"I was talking to a friend just recently, who is very wise, and I said it's been a very difficult year. He said: 'It's not been a difficult year, it's been a year of growth', which I thought was one of the most positive things I have learnt this year. It really has been a year where I've just grown, I've learnt a lot from it and I can take it to next year.

"So I feel positive about it and in the future I'll look back on this season and smile and say 'I needed that'," Hamilton added. "I feel I'm now absolutely prepared for the championship challenge next season, and for me the preparation for it starts from here. Next year is going to be an interesting one, I think."