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Hamilton Snr: I stayed a year too long

Anthony Hamilton has broken his year-long silence and opened up about his management split and estrangement from son Lewis in early 2010, revealing that 'the ground rules are different now'
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.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.03.2011- Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04 and his manager Anthony Hamilton (GBR)
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Anthony Hamilton (GBR), father of Lewis Hamilton(GBR)
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Anthony Hamilton (GBR), father of Lewis Hamilton(GBR) and manager of Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04
Saturday, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 with his father Anthony Hamilton (GBR) and his brother Nicholas Hamilton
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 and his father Anthony Hamilton (GBR)
Lewis  & Anthony Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, German F1 Grand Prix, Hockenheim, 18th-20th, July, 2008
Anthony Hamilton (GBR), Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 21st-23rd, March 2008
Lewis Hamilton & Anthony Hamilton (GBR) Celebrate World Championship, Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, Interlagos, 30th October 2008-2nd, November, 2008
Lewis & Anthony Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22, Canadian F1 Grand Prix, Montreal, 8th-10th, June 2007
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22 & Anthony Hamilton (Father), Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Malaysia, 6-8th, April 2007
Lewis & Anthony Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
Lewis & Anthony Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-24, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 24-26th, April, 2009
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Singapore Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32

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March 29, 2011 4:44 PM

LH has all the classic prodigy traits - arrogant, confident, focused, etc. His dad made him this way and its the stuff that makes winners but also makes him aloof. He's a good guy really and starting to mature. He gets too much stick on this forum from people who don't know jack and are jealous


March 29, 2011 4:32 PM

I definitely think LH can be pretty arrogant at times, but the story of how he'll fly across the globe and then straight back again to see his brother's first race is just heart-warming...

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