Lewis Hamilton has arrived in Melbourne (after a stop in Los Angeles, as most media seem intent on pointing out, where his girl Nicole — yes, they are back together, and everyone is welcome for our restraint here about reporting it — apparently is turning great spins on Dancing with the Stars) and pretty much right off he’s being asked about last year’s race and the subsequent controversy that followed.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Hamilton has put it behind him, and it has made him stronger.
Here’s what he’s saying, courtesy of the Times of London (which refers to the matter as Liargate, not Liegate, which is probably a better play off Watergate, phonetically anyway).
â€œI donâ€™t look at last yearâ€™s experience as a bad one. I look at it as a stepping stone in my life and something I learned a whole lot from – 2009 was a tough year altogether.
â€œBeing a racer, you are always looking forward. When youâ€™re in a race car travelling at 200mph you have to look far, far forward. We are in the fast lane. It goes by fast and you have to be ready for what is coming up – not what has happened in the past.â€
â€œEven last year, donâ€™t forget I had a great race. I came from dead last on the grid up into fourth place. So it was still a good experience. This circuit should work to the strengths of our car. We feel stronger coming in to this race and hopefully we can get more points.
â€œWe have a chance of winning this weekend and, hopefully, we will be able to get that edge. Bit-by-bit we will look at improving and growing with the car. Weâ€™ve learned a lot from the first race and we can bring that here to Melbourne.”
OK, while I could do without the whole “I live my life like I’m racing, and you have to look way past the next corner toward where you want to end up” jive, I know I wrote last year that I think the bad start to 2009, coupled with the incident in Australia, might be what turns Lewis into a multi-time champion. I believe during his first two years, when everything on track, at least, could hardly have gone better, Hamilton chalked it up to his talents but didn’t thoroughly trust his engineers and other team members. But the way the team improved the car last year — with the engineers arguably the MVPs of the team — had to have its impact on Hamilton.
He must now know the kind of quality he is surrounded by, and that he is surrounded by people he can trust and rely on to give him the equipment and advice he needs to win.
We all know the mental edge in motorsports is critical, if hard to define. I think Lewis has it now.
So, in that sense, I accept what he is saying, even if it is a bit goofy, a bit too Matt Bishop.