Apr.3 (GMM) Some of the flaws in Lewis Hamilton’s race-driver character are McLaren’s fault, team boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted.
In the wake of the 2008 world champion’s controversial Melbourne weekend, where he had a brush with police and then criticised his race strategy two days later, Whitmarsh said the 25-year-old’s development as a driver was a “pretty artificial existence”.
“We hooked up with him at 12 and looked after him,” he is quoted as saying by the Telegraph. “Most of his decisions were taken for him — in his life, in his career, in everything.
“How could you become the most balanced human being when your life had just glided along? It wasn’t until a year ago that, bang, real-life problems hit him,” said Whitmarsh, referring to the lie-gate scandal and Hamilton’s struggles with the 2009 car.
Whitmarsh said McLaren has learned from the Hamilton example in that an absolutely perfect preparation for F1 might not be the best option.
“With Oliver Rowland, one of the kids who’s now with us, we have taken him out of the top karting team and into another team, so he can experience a bit of adversity,” he said.
“We didn’t do that with Lewis — he had all the best equipment right through. I think what we have learned is to give them a taste of disappointment,” said Whitmarsh.
“That was perhaps a chink in the (Hamilton) armour,” he added. “The one thing you miss in all that is that you don’t necessarily equip someone to make life decisions.”