Hill urges Hamilton to keep eye on F1

Date published: January 18 2012

Damon Hill feels Lewis Hamilton needs to show more maturity and be “thoroughly professional” if he wants to return to the top this season…

Damon Hill feels Lewis Hamilton needs to show more maturity and be “thoroughly professional” if he wants to return to the top this season.

Hamilton is coming off a poor season by his usual high standards as he found himself in the stewards’ office more than he found himself on the top step of the podium.

He also found himself involved in verbal battles with several of his F1 colleagues over his aggressive driving style while off the track he he broke-up with long-term girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

However, the 2008 World Champion is determined to get back to his best in 2012 and Hill believes he needs to keep his personal business away from F1 if he wants to be successful again.

“What I would like to see from him is that he returns to his roots and come out at the start of this season showing his very best as a mature driver in the way we know he can be,” Hill, who has joined the Sky Sports F1 team, told Press Association Sport.

“He needs to keep all this other stuff outside of the business.

“Of course, Formula One is a very bewildering place at times for a driver, and with Lewis he has perhaps not had…let’s call it a normal upbringing.

“So I can understand him wanting to cut loose a bit, which is fine.

“But when you are in the hotseat in Formula One what people want to see is whether he can deliver and be thoroughly professional in what he is doing when is in the car at the circuit.

“That requires perhaps a little more application than he has been giving it recently.

“There’s no doubting Lewis’ talent as a driver. It’s a question of whether he can find some harmony in his head, and find himself in a comfortable spot.

“Last year he alluded to the way Jenson [Button] was able to be calm, and he slightly envied Jenson’s position, the balance in his life, and he is still seeking that.”

The 27-year-old Hamilton has been with McLaren since he made his Formula One debut in 2007, but his current contract expires at the end of 2012.

A year ago no one would have envisaged Hamilton at any other team but McLaren, but his future is no longer so clear cut after his 2011 woes.

“He has not made it clear where his future lies,” Hill said.

“It may be he will seek to move from McLaren. It may be something he feels he needs to do, which will be a bit like leaving home as he’s been there since he was 13.

“So what he does next, that’s going to be a big question mark over the season.

“There’s no doubt he is an asset as a driver in any team, but there are only certain places where he could fit.

“If I was Bernie [Ecclestone] I would probably want to see Lewis at Red Bull with [Sebastian] Vettel.

“But I can’t see them wanting to destabilise themselves because that might be very challenging for both of them, but anything is possible in Formula One.”