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Hamilton too harsh on himself - Whitmarsh

ESPNF1 Staff
October 31, 2011 « Qatar-backed bid to buy Silverstone | Front wing behaviour puzzles Ferrari »
Martin Whitmarsh has been dealing with an unsettled Lewis Hamilton in 2011 © Sutton Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says that Lewis Hamilton is too harsh on himself, and that he wants him to stop apologising to the team when he makes mistakes.

Hamilton endured another difficult weekend at the Indian Grand Prix as he was penalised for ignoring yellow flags in Friday practice, leaving him starting alongside Felipe Massa on the grid after a three-place penalty. In the race he then collided with Massa once again, ruining his own race and eventually finishing in seventh place.

After the race Hamilton apologised to McLaren saying that the team deserved better, but Whitmarsh said he wanted him to brush off the incidents more quickly and move on in a positive frame of mind.

"Yes I do [think he's too harsh on himself], frankly," Whitmarsh said. "I don't think he has to, and I've told him that on several occasions; don't apologise, you're a racing driver. Go out, if you've made a mistake accept it, learn from it, move on. He's very analytical; he's very serious about trying to do the best job he can and I think he is much too hard on himself. But I've known Lewis for a long long time - I remember talking to him as a karter and he beat up on himself - that's his way, that's his psychology, that's how he motivates himself."

Whitmarsh also recalled Hamilton's performance prior to the race itself as proof that the situation can quickly change.

"If you guys observe the body language as much as I do, his body language this weekend has been much stronger than it has been in the last races and therefore I just thought a good race here was going to now build. But I think he has still all the skills, we saw him qualify fantastically at the last race, we saw him race fantastically at the last race, we saw him qualify fantastically here. So it can change, and obviously it hasn't change quickly enough for him or I or any of us but it can change and he can do a brilliant drive in Abu Dhabi and we then move on to a different story."

With Hamilton having recently split from long-term girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, Whitmarsh was asked if it was having an effect on his demeanour, but said any views he had on Hamilton's personal life would not be aired in public.

"I've got my own views on that but he is a professional racing driver in this team and I should contain my comments to him as a professional racing driver. I think as a professional racing driver at the last race he drove brilliantly in qualifying and the race. As a professional racing driver he made a mistake on Friday, he admitted it; he admitted it in the team, he admitted it in the stewards [room], he was completely open about it. I don't think it affected his demeanour, his demeanour was very positive here. But it's not for me to speculate on his demeanour and speculate on his personal life."