If the recent separation from his long-time girlfriend, Nicole Scherzinger, is weighing on Lewis Hamilton’s mind, you couldn’t tell it by his performance in this weekend’s German Grand Prix. The world champ placed his Mercedes on pole position for Sunday’s race and even though the new tires didn’t suit the chassis, Hamilton drove to a respectable 5th place finish to keep Mercedes in second place in the Constructor’s Championship.
Hamilton has made a lot of changes in his life over the last four years and that’s completely understandable for a young man but the 2011 season saw a downcast Lewis and many suspect it was domestic issues with Nicole and other distractions that spoiled his season. Lewis answered that with, what I consider, his best driving to date in 2012 and yet more life-changing moves were still to come. Hamilton left the only team he knew (McLaren) for greener pastures at Mercedes replacing 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher:
‘”I really, really worked hard to analyse what I wanted and got myself in the right headspace to make that decision. One day I was just so clear and I did it and I feel I did it for all the right reasons even if we were going to struggle at the beginning. I remember sitting in Colorado overlooking the mountains thinking ‘jeez, what have I got myself into? This is going to be such a hard challenge’ – and also thinking that I’ve just come from an incredible car last year which is going to be better this year and everything I’ve worked towards Perez is going to have.”
Rare is the man who can avoid a personal issue to impact his mood, focus or performance at the job but perhaps having already traveled that path in 2011, Hamilton is a older, wiser man who sees his main focus and vehicle for his current lifestyle as Formula One and not a personal relationship. He told Sky Sports F1.
“Me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and that gets me in trouble a lot of the time and I generally find it very, very hard to fight my emotions. I’m going through…I’m trying my hardest to be positive but I’m going through a really, really tough time at the moment with the loss of someone really, really special in my life. My world’s turned upside down, but I have a job…”
Indeed he does and Sunday, he did his job even if his car didn’t. It’s a good sign as 2011’s domestic challenges seemed to take the stuffing out of him but perhaps his world and vision have expanded.