April 17, 2012
Lewis Hamilton, since he first burst on to the scene in 2007 has always had to deal with the limelight being thrust upon in based on his great sucess. But today was his first sign of an intent, to extend his contact with the team that has mentored him since he was an 11 year old boy. But before all Hamilton fans start to get excited, he was quick to add he was in no rush to commit to that new contract.
It has been no secret that people inside the paddock, for the last 12 months have been speculating what decision Hamilton will make come the end of this 2012 Formula 1 season. His current 5 year deal he had signed with McLaren expires after this season, and his future was one of the most talked about situations last season. It is true last season Hamilton for one reason or another, didnt gel with both car and team. His frustration grew as the season got older, and it threatened to completely destroy the relationship Lewis has had with the team that has been there throughout his entire motor racing career.
Certainly the strong 2011 season his highly experienced team mate Button had did not help the problem mentally. Coupled with much speculative personal problems away from the track, including spitting from his long term A List Girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and Hamilton had his worst season in his entire Formula 1 career. Towards the end of the 2011 season speculation grew even further when at the Canadian Gp weekend, Hamilton was seen in talks with RedBull boss Christian Horner. This triggered media to have a field day on the possible future of the 2008 World Champion, suggesting he would leave McLaren high and dry in the near future for a possible RedBull race seat. This was something Hamilton was quick to rubbish soon after simply stating, it was a quick discussion related to nothing about contracts.
But after a 3rd consecutive podium in 3 races for the Brit to continue his 100% record, his face definitely painted a different picture for this season. He was quick to tell the Daiy Telegraph "Everything is better this year." "The team is better, the car is better, I am a lot better and I have got my dad here. And that is not fake. We have a really good bond now. We are on the up. Things are great and that's reflected in my performances."
So this suggests that perhaps hard work over the winter, and a good break away from the F1 circus has given Hamilton a new found confidence in the team once again. Creating the so called bubble effect ,he had stated Button had managed within his side of the McLaren garage, was something Hamilton has seemed to of followed beautifully.
Obviously as the season progresses we will be able to judge, if truely the real Lewis Hamilton has been resurrected. Certainly he seems to have found a better place within himself and has created a much happier atmosphere around all his engineers. But if things start to get challenging this season, the true perspective will be for all to see, as it will be how this pressure is dealt with by Hamilton that defines him. Clearly the Brit wants to think about his future during the following 8 months as he stated he is in no rush to commit like his team mate Button has for a further long term relationship with the team. He stated: It is not about being persuaded, I don't need persuading. When I need to, which can be within any time frame I want so long as it is before next year, I will decide about my future."
Only time will tell what Hamilton really feels is right to do for his future career in Formula 1. However options are very limited. Mercedes are coming on leaps and bounds with Nico Rosberg and Schumacher becoming more competitive every race that plays out. Ferrari are lining up Perez surely as a contender to replace Felipe Massa and RedBull will surely retain Vettel for a long time to come. The only ray of hope perhaps as a switch away from McLaren, would be to see how long Schumacher intends to stay in Formula 1. Something the German has yet to decide clearly with his Mercedes team as of yet.