Lewis Hamilton has spoken about the motivation between his split from father Anthony in terms of the latter being his manager, arguing that he felt it was time for him to 'stand on his own two feet' – and confessing that he envies the kind of traditional, relaxed father-son relationship enjoyed by his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Jenson Button and his own dad John.
All sorts of reasons have been hypothesised as to why Hamilton and his father – long his mentor, manager and to all intents and purposes guiding light through the inevitable highs and lows of his fledgling grand prix career to-date – have elected to end their professional partnership, but publicly at least, the eleven-time grand prix-winner insists there were two primary factors.
The Hamiltons had come as a single entity for some 16 years, ever since the Stevenage-born ace set out on the path that has since led him to the ultimate goal, F1 World Championship glory in 2008. There were rumours of some schisms, however, between the Hamilton and McLaren camps early last season, coming to a head over the Melbourne lies scandal, which reportedly left Hamilton Snr less than impressed by the way the management of the Woking-based outfit had handled the damaging controversy.
Others have claimed that Anthony was simply getting just a little too big for his boots inside the team, and had to go. Whatever the genuine reason – if indeed we ever get to know it – Hamilton Jnr is adamant that it was a mutual decision and one that, although it has left him to plough a solitary furrow in a sport that depends more than anything upon teamwork, will ultimately be for the best.
“It feels different without him, but it feels good,” the 25-year-old told the Daily Mirror
when asked about his father's absence this weekend in Sakhir, scene of the F1 2010 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix in the desert kingdom. “I'm just in a different place, a different frame of mind compared to the past. I miss my family, but they are not miserable at all.
“Although it's strange for my dad, he has a lot to focus on at the moment. He's concentrating on his businesses, and he's also building a house that's stressing him more than anything. We'll always be there for one another – it's just that now it's by phone.
“It's not about being in charge – it's about growing up, a mixture of things. My family have been to every single race since I was a kid. You look at other drivers and they're standing on their own two feet. More than anything, I want a father-son relationship. [Button's] dad is not his manager – that's the chemistry you want to see between a father and son.
“When we used to shake hands I knew he was really proud, walking away knowing I was on pole, and for me it was a case of 'I'm here in Formula 1 and I'm going to do this for you, dad'. It's still like that, [but] it'll just be from a different perspective. This way it will be more relaxing for him. When the race starts he'll have his feet up in front of the television having a bacon sandwich!”