Lewis Hamilton’s dad steers into path of controversy
No sooner had Lewis Hamilton come under fire yet again for tagging the rear of Felipe Massa's Ferrari as they duelled for fifth place early in the recent Singapore Grand Prix, than his dad Anthony was widely quoted afterwards when he said of his son's management company, XIX:
“His management need to do more. Look up the paddock. Every driver that's got a manager, the manager is here and in the driver's life.”
Hamilton and Massa have clashed several times this year in the hurly burly of a tough F1 season in which no quarter is asked, nor given.
They collided in Monaco and Silverstone, prior to Singapore, where Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty by the race stewards for causing a collision.
But the subsequent release of voice tapes that include an instruction from a Ferrari engineer to Massa — “Hold Hamilton as much as we can. Destroy his race as much as we can” — cast doubt on the McLaren driver's absolute culpability for his role in the Massa incident.
While Massa was provocatively sarcastic in a post-race confrontation with Hamilton, the Englishman has refrained from making any comment on the incident and made it clear he won't be changing his style in Japan next weekend.
“The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of my season,” he said.
“Suzuka will play to my strengths. It's a track that requires you to drive in an attacking way, an uncompromising place.
“But that's when the thrill of driving a Formula One car is at its highest, when you know you can't afford a single mistake and where driving on the absolute limit is the only way to get the best time.
“ And I'll take any conditions as long as I can race hard.”
Meanwhile, his father Anthony said: “I remain very passionate about Lewis's racing,” before explaining that his comment about driver management was meant as an observation and wasn't intended to upset anybody.
“I spoke with Lewis during the week after the race. He told me that he's happy with the job that his management and Simon Fuller are doing — and as long as Lewis is happy, then I'm happy.”
When father and son split early in 2010, Anthony moved on to helping other young drivers achieve their dreams and was instrumental in helping Paul di Resta into an F1 race drive with Force India for 2011 after he had been their third driver in 2010. He is also managing a young Dutch driver, Nyck de Vries, whom he hopes will follow in Lewis's wheeltracks.
Hamilton Snr is adamant that he doesn't miss managing his son's career. “I'm really enjoying managing Paul, and Nyck is now already a karting world champion so it's not as if I am missing anything,” he says.
“I enjoyed my time managing Lewis. I always said that the goal was to help him to become world champion, and that once we'd done that it would be time to move on.
“I'm enjoying working with Paul and again the aim is to help him to become world champion. When we have achieved that, I'll try to do the same with Nyck, then I'll retire!”
Ironically, while Hamilton Jnr was in the wars in Singapore, Di Resta enjoyed his best drive in F1, finishing a strong sixth only one place behind himfor Force India.