Hamilton admits to “physical and mental” struggles


Lewis Hamilton is F1 box office. Hardly a week passes where the Stevenage born F1 driver isn’t either topping the sports headlines or those of the gossip columns. The Brit’s ill-fated relationship with former Pussycat Doll singer seemed to be a roller coaster time for Hamilton, and since the couple separated Lewis appears more emotionally settled.

However, Lewis Hamilton at times still behaves in a petulant or ‘childish’ manner as Martin Brundle observed recently and his mystery illness allegedly responsible for Lewis’ late arrival in Brazil was in fact a triple car pile in the middle of the night following a party.

Damon Hill too has questioned Hamilton’s dedication to his driving both mentally and physically, though the Hamfosi will point to back to back F1 driver titles in response. Speaking to the Sun today, Lewis does admit he’s hoping to “rectify” negative aspects of his life; specifically, “the struggles I’ve had physically and mentally.” Hamilton adds he is hoping to be “stronger” in 2016.

Yet behavioural psychologists will say that to change anything first requires acceptance and it appears Hamilton is not yet in this place. Lewis claims “I had three so-so races at the end [of 2015]. I still drove pretty well and didn’t make any mistakes”.

The fact of the matter is that barring a single mistake by his team mate in Austin and a mechanical failure on the sister Mercedes car, Lewis would have been looking at five straight race defeats by his team mate – not just three. Further, Hamilton did not claim a single pole position after race 12 of the year.

Recently, a senior individual in the Mercedes team revealed Lewis Hamilton believes he is 0.3s a lap quicker than Rosberg and so when his German team mate up’s his game Hamilton is left struggling to find the required setup tweaks to catch up.

Lewis was responsible for one of the most amusing F1 racing driver excuses of all time during 2015. Having dominated practice and qualifying over half a second ahead of P2 in Hungary, Hamilton’s race was a litany of errors. Following a poor start, Lewis was clumsy whilst battling with Rosberg which resulted in an off and a loss of several places. Later in the race he banged wheels with Felipe Nasr and banged into Daniel Ricciardo – something Hamilton was penalised for later by the stewards.

In a post-season interview with BBC Sport’s Lee McKenzie, Lewis gave a quite bizarre explanation for his Sunday in Budapest.

“This is how the Sunday went: It was a really cool Sunday until the race started.

“The night before, I was invited by [legendary film director] Ridley Scott – he said ‘come by the shoot tomorrow morning’. I’m like ‘yes!’ – because he was filming, with Matt Damon, the last scene of The Martian.

“So I went to bed, tossing and turning, and didn’t sleep until like one o’clock and then I woke up at 4am. Time came at eight o’clock, or whatever it was, to leave the hotel. Went to Ridley and, at the time, they were set up for this last scene.

“He said, ‘Matt hasn’t come on yet, why don’t you sit where he is and act out his role?


“I’m getting nervous because this is Ridley Scott asking me to sit and act, and I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do, and finally Matt came and sat with Ridley and he’s saying ‘action!’ and I just honestly couldn’t believe it.

“So I just left there, went to the track, and I’m on this high for a minute. And then you start doing engineering [technical meetings and strategy briefings] and [I] started hitting a wall. And I wasn’t able to take a nap either, so I got in the car and those first couple of laps to the grid felt terrible.

“I was like ‘this is not good’. I knew it.

“I’ve now told you a story that I should have put in my book one day. But, anyways…”

Lewis clearly has a great gift for driving quickly and maybe it is worth 0.3s over Nico Rosberg. Yet like Samson of old – believing your natural attributes will see you through regardless – is a dangerous assumption to make.

Most F1 fans will be hoping, Lewis is put under the kind of pressure he was during the last third of the season, whilst the Hamfosi will be praying the ‘Martian’ does not return.

17 responses to “Hamilton admits to “physical and mental” struggles

  1. He’s living the dream.

    How seriously must one take F1 after winning the WDC?

    There’s more to life than blind dedication to a sport.

    Nothing wrong with being more James Hunt than Nikki Lauda. The reverse is also true.

    • The surprising part for me is the Hungarian GP story. I believe Lewis didn’t have the drivers’ title secured at that stage of the season.

  2. Relying if your ability can indeed be dangerous. Am reminded of a story recounted by the late pianist artur rubenstien. He was travelling from Europe to south america for a series of concerts by boat. The piano on the boat was not very good and he declined to use it. Rachmininov travelled with a folding bummy keyboard but Rubenstein did not bother preferring to socialise and he could have taught lewis a thing or two about that. Well he arrived in south america a day before the concert and to his horror found he could barely play the piano after two weeks off. The performance drop was relative of course and he said that he had to spend thr whole day practicing and was just about able to get through his first recital. Lewis – let that be a warning! The Rubenstein autobiography was called “My many years”.

  3. Yup, we’re definitely getting closer to the new F1 season, the usual BS Lewis Hamilton stories are popping up.

    Some rather lame writing in this article especially the part where it said, “Speaking to the Sun today” is comical given that this story was on other websites 2 days ago.

    Also what’s interesting is that a selective statement is being used to somehow prove a point, when in fact the article/comments was in reference to how long he felt the current dominance of the Mercedes would be and the improvements he’s looking to make and his “physical and mental struggles” we’re in relation to the 2015 season. Here’s the link to the article if anyone cares to read what was actually said.


    Time we stop with the assumption of what could have happened had Nico not had his problems.

    But for sure, the new F1 season is definitely close…

  4. IMO Nico clearly outclased Hamilton this season in terms of excuses, but we are not biased, aren’t we? 😉

    • The “Gust o’ wind” probably wins the ’15 excuse award. ‘Twas very Rosbergian indeed. Here’s to hoping Rosberg can perform at his peak WITH WDC pressure…

  5. Wowsers… I didn’t know what preceded the Sunday of that horrendous Hungarian GP performance by Lewis. Without trying to sound disingenuous – as I often can be in the name of humour – I’m flabbergasted at that story.

    I hadn’t seen such a nosedive from epic, unassailable form between the Saturday and the Sunday of an F1 Grand Prix weekend in a long time; perhaps ever. Given that, I’ve remained quite curious about that particular weekend. I understand people can have “off days” and racers may have “bad races”, but it’s the contrast between the days that was strange.

    I recall watching practice and qualifying very closely. Lewis was absolutely devastating, beautifully sublime and totally in tune with his machine; more or less from the first lap of the weekend. Every steering input or brake application of every lap I watched was ‘focused force’ with exact car placement. Each input akin to a clean squeeze of a trigger.

    The superiority was clear – beyond the lap-times – if you knew what to look for. No overt car corrections, or none that didn’t add lap time. Lewis was easily walking the line of reckless abandon and supreme confidence.

    Contrastingly, Nico was nowhere and looked uncomfortable; a rare feat in the ’15 Mercedes. And off the back of Belgium and Italy, matters were becoming embarrassing for Nico.

    All that to one side, I very much enjoy watching the performance of a car/driver/track combo that meld together to become greater than the sum of all respective parts; regardless of the resultant domination. It happens from time to time. Team-mates in such situations simply seem punch-drunk.

    Schumacher at Suzuka in the early 2000’s Ferraris was nothing short of amazing; particularly through the esses. Raikkonen back in the first part of his career was quite mesmerising at Spa. Vettel seems to have Singapore in his pocket now. Senna at Monaco, which is well known. Prost at Silverstone. The list goes on…

    It’s brilliant for driving aficionados to watch the purity of car and man in perfect harmony. It’s rare, even in the best car. But that Sunday was just… horrendous, and (my) expectations were high given the Friday and Saturday build up.

    It’s just occurred to me that I’ve perhaps rambled on a bit (or a lot)… so apologies in advance. However, I had no clue what precipitated that Sunday’s GP. I’m less surprised now when I think of that race.

    If Ferrari can get their car within two to three tenths… well, I know who I’ll be putting my money on if a season-long consistent performance is the deciding factor in securing the WDC.

    Harsh? Maybe. Fair? Well, you’ll all can and will decide for yourselves.


      • What’s interesting is only a few weeks ago Seb did an interview where he said he lacked motivation in 2014 and was also questioning his abilities.

        But I guess it wasn’t relevant enough to hear a 4 WDC questioning his abilities, now can you imagine had it been Lewis who said that? The uproar and articles criticising him would be none stop.

      • Actually, Vettel has off days, and he’s been beaten by team-mates. But you know that.

        I suppose your faux-question suggests to me that you’ve missed the key point of my comment, which is the surprise at the extreme contrast from Lewis being comfortably half a second up on his team-mate (and about three quarters of a second to everyone else) on Friday and Saturday… and then that cataclysmic Sunday drive littered with rookie errors.

        That sort of Friday/Saturday gap is light-years ahead in motorsport terms. The Sunday drive was poor, at best, even for a rookie. Had Verstappen done that, he’d have been hammered.

        The depth of the contrast is the point and that’s what piqued my interest. All drivers have off races… but perhaps not from that height of performance margin. And now we know what caused it, which is something I didn’t know before.

        The Hungarian GP makes more sense now to my ever-curious mind.

    • Don’t worry about the lengthy post – I did one the other day and, now that you have too, I can just put it down to not having posted anything for 2 weeks!

  6. Don’t often come on this site but on the few occasions that i have, the writer sees fit to be negative about Hamilton. The writer needs to recognise that he has a problem with Lewis Hamilton.

    • The writer doesn’t have a problem with Lewis as such, it’s just in the coconut shy of Formula 1 Lewis is currently front and centre partly due to success and partly due to how he lives his life.

      As a result, some commentators will only write praise about him, others will try and knock him off.

      Same in F1 as in all other walks of life. Unfortunately, at the moment all the other coconuts are clustered at the sides of the tent. Hopefully someone will rearrange them soon so we can get some interesting news.

      • I don’t know that the coconuts need rearranging or that a new coconut needs to be introduced – a coconut called, something resembling the truth.

        Statement-quotes like this, “Recently, a senior individual in the Mercedes team revealed Lewis Hamilton believes he is 0.3s a lap quicker than Rosberg and so when his German team mate up’s his game Hamilton is left struggling to find the required setup tweaks to catch up,” are confounding. Notice, there are no quotation marks around the alleged statement from a “senior individual” at Mercedes nor was the “statement” linked to any outside source; nor was it attributed to a personal conversation or interview. The reader, then, must surmise the statement was not a statement at all but an unattributed thought from the author.

  7. A reoccuring theme of recent times is to complain that F1 has a poor image. It costs too much to watch, races are boring, tracks don’t push the drivers, etc, etc.
    One positive aspect of F1 is having champion who is known throughout the world. Someone who is recognised as the best racing car driver, someone who’s also different to the other drivers in F1 because he’s black. Most other sports make the most of having competitors from around the world, football has heroes, Beckham, Ronaldo and the like. They receive a lot of positive press.
    So WTF do I have to keep on reading crap like this article?
    WTF isn’t Lewis Hamilton treated in a positive manner by the F1 press?
    WTF are morons allowed to keep on posting rubbish about him on the F1 websites?

    Image! Some of the F1 press don’t have a fucking clue.

  8. rodger….. it is the old syndrome of the more successful a person is, the more the public try to knock them back.

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