Lewis Hamilton insists his focus is on F1
Lewis Hamilton has dismissed suggestions his celebrity lifestyle is proving a hindrance to a Formula One career he admits is failing to hit the heights.
The Belgian Grand Prix 10 days ago proved to be another low point for Hamilton in what has so far been a rollercoaster campaign.
Hamilton took full responsibility for crashing into a barrier after colliding with Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber, his sixth accident in a race this year.
Unsurprisingly, the legends have again had their say as Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda have both reminded Hamilton this week of the old motor-racing adage: to finish first, first you have to finish.
A week later Hamilton was appearing on Jonathan Ross' new chat show on ITV - uncomfortably reviewing the crash at one point - alongside pop star Adele and Sex In The City actress Sarah Jessica Parker.
In dating pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, employing a high-profile management company in XIX Entertainment and amassing an A-list telephone directory on his mobile, it has been suggested Hamilton has become too easily distracted.
Over the years the 26-year-old has been photographed with the likes of rapper P Diddy and producer Pharrell Williams, and appearing at movie and music awards, and various after-show parties.
Asked by Press Association Sport, prior to his appearance on Ross' show, whether it was a scene he was now pulling back from, Hamilton replied: "No. I'm not searching for it, but I still love doing that stuff.
"It's still awesome when you hang around with people like that.
"I still feel exactly the same way about them, the way I did before I met them, even though I know them now.
"I'm still a little starstruck, in admiration. I still see them on television, exactly as I did then.
"But it's strange when you look at your phone and think 'I can call that guy'.
"There will be more things in the future, but at the moment there are more important things to do.
"That is somehow to get this Formula One career at its peak because I don't feel it's at it's highest.
"I don't feel the performances are at their best, and that's what I am really trying to focus on most of all."
Hamilton is naturally grateful for the lifestyle he has, however there are moments when he would love to savour normality.
Hamilton felt he briefly experienced that with Scherzinger during the summer break when they were able to walk on a beach together, unhurried and hassle free.
"It didn't seem like we had all eyes on us. We were treated like normal, regular people, and it felt pretty awesome," said Hamilton.
"Not that I would ever give up what I am doing. People look from the outside and say 'I would give anything to be in his position'.
"That is absolutely right because I would give anything to be in my position as well.
"But it doesn't matter how much money you have, you can't have everything, and I do sometimes miss some small moments of my past.
"They're not big enough to want to go back completely, but it's nice to be able to taste them now and again.
"It's a different part of reality, a different life."
It is back to reality this weekend for Hamilton with the Italian Grand Prix, and an opportunity to put behind him the embarrassment felt with his latest shunt which has left him trailing Sebastian Vettel by 113 points in the drivers' standings.
Asked as to what goes through his mind when he steps from a wrecked car, Hamilton replied: "That I'm not going to see the end of the race.
"You have a lot of anger. I just feel angry at myself. I don't think it's something to be ashamed of when you make mistakes.
"Sometimes you are in situations and you don't know how they've come about, but it is what it is and you just deal with it.
"It can be embarrassing if you're walking away in a race you know you should be leading.
"It's embarrassing for your family at home, for your guests, for your friends, so it probably has more of an impact on you inside."
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