Motor racing-Hamilton wants Button's 'bubble' instead of trouble

ABU DHABI Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:18pm IST

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ABU DHABI Nov 10 (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton opened a window on his troubled state of mind on Thursday and spoke of how he needed to create his own version of the happy 'bubble' surrounding McLaren team mate Jenson Button.

The 2008 Formula One world champion, who recently split with singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, has had a season of crashes, controversy and just two wins while Button has gone from strength to strength.

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said last month that Hamilton was too hard on himself and suggested Button's form was adding to the pressure.

The driver, sounding more like the confident and upbeat Hamilton of old despite the continued soul-searching, indicated to reporters at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that it was more complicated than that.

"There's not a lot of people that really understand the issues that I've had this year and the problems that I've been going through, which I've been going through for the last two years," the 26-year-old said enigmatically.

"I just can't comment on them because it's not really the place or time to do so.

"But Jenson's done a great job to get things in the right place. He's got his dad there at every single race, he's got his management there, he's got his friends, he's got his girlfriend there all the time.

"He's in a really, really happy (place). He's got a great bubble around him which he's very happy with and with that he's able to just go out and perform without any worries on his mind," continued Hamilton.

"I did have (that) at one point and lost that bubble and I don't have that around me at the moment."

POSITIVE FEELING

Hamilton's career was managed by his father Anthony but this year he appointed Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment -- a move he has said he has no regrets about.

The McLaren driver has also moved from Britain to live in Switzerland, away from his family and friends, for the last few years for reasons of tax and personal privacy.

This year, for the first time in his single seater racing career, he stands to be beaten over the course of a season by a team mate with Button currently 38 points ahead and only 50 left to be won.

Asked whether he might consider using a sports psychologist to help create his own version of Button's bubble, Hamilton grinned.

"I would never work with a sports psychologist. I never have and I never will," he said.

"But it is a priority for me to create that atmosphere around myself because it's a happy bubble where you are happy with your friends and family and the people you love most," he added.

"Every time I arrive (at a race) I feel positive, but at some races I'm less positive, less happy, so that's something I'm definitely going to try and correct before next winter starts."

The Briton has a strong record in Abu Dhabi, starting on pole in 2009 and finishing second last year. Winning on Sunday, and then also in the Brazil season-ender, would put some fizz back into his step.

"It would make a big difference, if I was able to have a clean two races without seeing the stewards and without having a penalty and on top of that winning, I think it would be beautiful," he said. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Sonia Oxley; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport)

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