Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi is confident Lewis Hamilton will bounce back next season, following a trying 2011.
Hamilton endured a difficult year, despite a strong start and while he did still win three races, he suffered a series of on-track incidents – usually with Felipe Massa – and off track personal tragedies, including the deaths of two close friends and the break-up of his high-profile Hollywood relationship, all took their toll. He was also out-performed and out-scored by his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate, Jenson Button, finishing with 227 points, compared to the 270 notched up by his compatriot.
Despite all that, however, Zanardi believes those experiences will only make him stronger for 2012.
"I agree with what you said [about Lewis having a frustrating year]," Zanardi told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph
just before Christmas.
"The only thing I can add is that 99 per cent of the people that I know, and this is without considering the talent question because Lewis Hamilton is the most talented driver I have ever seen or ever met, in my view, but even from a maturity point of view 99 per cent of the people I've met in my life are not even close to Lewis Hamilton.
"What is happening to him this year simply means that he's human. Even Lewis Hamilton is vulnerable. I mean if at his age what has happened to him had happened to me, I would probably have been in Monte Carlo with the biggest boat, with the gold Rolex watch, looking down at people and asking 'what the hell do you want from me? I'm the best guy on the planet'.
"Lewis Hamilton is a very wise guy. I had the privilege of interviewing him once for an Italian magazine and I really discovered a guy who is very, very mature for his age. So this tells me that basically he put one foot out of step but I'm sure next year he will have learned his lesson.
“In fact, I'm sure he has already learned his lesson. And he will be able to perform again in the way in which he is capable, in spite of the huge pressure he gets being in England, being Lewis Hamilton."