Anthony Hamilton has conceded that the very public estrangement from his son Lewis this time last year could potentially have been avoided had he only relinquished his managerial role after the McLaren-Mercedes star clinched the F1 World Championship at the end of 2008, confessing that he 'stayed a year too long'.
Just over twelve months ago, it was confirmed that the nigh-on 20-year father-son managerial arrangement between the Hamiltons had come to an end, and shortly afterwards there came the over-hyped Melbourne 'hooning' incident.
No more under the watchful eye of dad, Lewis, said observers, had gone off the rails, unleashed the rebellious streak that had been pent up inside of him since being signed up by McLaren at such a young age and in effect being denied the traditional teenage rites of passage and youthful misdemeanours through his dedication to his sport and his burning ambition to make a success out of it.
A month later and belying the initial façade
that it had been an 'amicable' divorce, he acknowledged that it was 'not all smiles and happiness' between the pair, with the revelation that not only was Anthony no longer the omnipresent factor at grands prix that he had been throughout 2007 and 2008, but indeed that the pair barely even spoke to one another anymore as the strain inevitably told.
Even in the latter stages of last year, Hamilton Jnr alluded to off-track 'distractions' that had affected his title bid, but the two men are now increasingly getting back on good terms, and if their relationship is still not completely healed, it is not far off. Anthony will be much more visible at F1 races again this season in his role as manager to Force India rookie Paul di Resta – and in his first interview since the separation, he spoke to The Daily Telegraph
about what has been a painful but ultimately cathartic period in both his and his son's lives.
“The desire to go our separate ways was mutual,” he insists, now more chilled-out since letting go and moving on. “We had discussed it for ages. It just didn't happen quite the way I would have wanted. It was tough [in 2010]; it was always going to be tough. It had to happen at some point. The reality is, I wanted my life back. I had spent nearly 18 years trying to make sure that Lewis didn't lose his big opportunity.
“I was just like any other parent, really – I wanted the best for my son. Did I know best? Not always, but I'd like to think that I knew best most of the time – and if I didn't know something, I would learn. I would ask – to make sure Lewis was successful, to make sure people who believed in him and us were proud.
“I stayed a year too long – that was my biggest mistake. I knew it had got to the point where he had his life the way he wanted it – the world title, his own girlfriend, his own money. The problem was, the 2009 car was no good. I didn't want to leave when things were going badly. I did the dad thing.
“[The 'hooning'] incident was part of growing up. It was a mistake, but who hasn't made mistakes? You must remember, together we had achieved our dream – he was world champion, he had money in the bank. He would never be like me. That was the objective, but in reaching it, he had never had the opportunity to do all the ordinary things a teenager does. We're all still learning. I certainly learned a lot last year. What I'm trying to say is that when 2010 happened it was a good thing for both of us. I'm trying to take life a little easier now.”