Despite being halfway through his seventh season in F1, Lewis Hamilton admits that he is still some way from being a complete racing driver.
Speaking exclusively to legendary interviewer David Frost for a programme to be broadcast on Al Jazeera English
this Friday (16 August), the 2008 world champion concedes that there are several areas where in he can better himself, notably the way he conducts himself off-track.
“I just think there's still plenty for me to learn,” Hamilton, who has racked up 22 wins from 120 starts since graduating as 2006 GP2 Series champion, “[and] I'm glad there is still plenty for me to learn. There are still better ways that I can communicate with people, there are still better ways that I can manage relationships, [and] there are still better ways that I can behave.
"There are still better decisions to be made. There's still things I can learn in racing, how to be a more complete driver. The challenge for a driver is always to be an all-round driver. That's a great thing with Fernando [Alonso] - he's a really great all round driver. He's fast and he's also consistent and always on it. He's never distracted.
"It's searching to have that. There are so many things I can improve on. F1 is changing all the time so, every year, you have to acquire a different set of skills. This year for example, our tyres are bit of an issue and the driver [has] to use new techniques to look after them, so you're constantly learning something new."
Hamilton's six-and-a-half years as an F1 driver have been peppered with highs and lows, with the title in his second year amongst the former and the error-strewn 2011 campaign – the result of off-track issues – firmly on the other side of the equation.
While he has openly admitted that his on-off relationship with Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger has taken its toll on his performance, the Briton also told Frost that dropping his father as his manager was also a decision that would have an impact down the years.
“I wouldn't be here without my dad - he's been the driving force in my whole career – [but] I think it was just that I wanted to go back to the time where we were just father and son go-karting - having fun, enjoying ourselves…,” he revealed, the pair having reconciled their differences in the past 24 months, “We're now starting to have that father-son relationship where, you know, we go bowling together, we go on holiday together, and we have more to talk about - and none of it's business.”
Then, of course, there was the decision to move on from McLaren, the team that had nurtured him through his formative years as a racing driver and provided the opportunity for him to step up to F1. He currently lies fourth in the standings in his first season with the works Mercedes team.