Lewis Hamilton: “Every journey is different”

12th November 2019
Ian Parkes

It is hard to comprehend that a man who seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune, good looks – should choose to mention the "demons" he has to overcome on a regular basis within an hour of writing the latest chapter into his astonishing success story.

Yet here was Lewis Hamilton, the newly-crowned six-times Formula 1 world champion, not for the first time in his life laying bare his soul at a time when his emotions were naturally running high.


Just to make clear, before anyone dares suggest it was us nasty media types trying to trip him up, the question that elicited his stark response was nothing more incisive than 'How would you rate this title compared to the five before? Is it the easiest or the toughest?'

Hardly interrogatory to warrant the kind of introspective reply that followed. Yet this is Hamilton we are talking about, a driver who often divides opinion when the subject of debate.

After initially reflecting on the past season, Hamilton then said: “Every journey is different. Every year you go through a different rollercoaster ride of emotions to get to where you’re going.

“I wrote something in my post (on Instagram) this morning, that each and every single one of us is struggling with something in life. Whatever it may be: small, big.

“I tried to show people that, from the outside, things always look great but it’s not always the case. And I am also struggling with lots of different things and battling certain demons and trying to make sure that I’m constantly growing as a person.”


It was a remarkable moment of self-reflection from Hamilton, who has never forgotten his roots, his Stevenage council estate upbringing, even though there are those who would throw that back in his face and tease him with the wealth he has accrued over the years.

The 34-year-old, no matter what you may think of him, is simply flesh and bones like the rest of us, who endures anxious moments, even if the context of his on occasion – such as his struggles in qualifying in the United States Grand Prix on Saturday that led to his self-inquisition – are different to us, shall we say, mere mortals.

Hamilton was later naturally asked to elaborate on his “demons”, and while declining to do so, stating it was “personal”, he did at least expand to some degree, suggesting that it relates to “what we all challenge when you look in the mirror each day, when you feel good or you feel bad for whatever reason”.

He added: “There’s always the darker side that’s always trying to pull you down, and you’re constantly having to wake up… I don’t know how you guys wake up in the morning but I look in the mirror and I’m trying to lift myself up.

“I say ‘Yes, you can do it. Yes, you are great. Yes, you can be fit if you go and put that time in. Yes, you can win this race if you do the right steps and you continue to believe in yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.’

“So it’s just encouraging yourself always, and I’m just trying to show a side that I didn’t understand, that we’re all similar in many ways.”

You could argue it is Hamilton's way of trying to find a common bond, a link with some members of the public who feel they may have lost touch with him over the years after witnessing a man from a humble background become tainted, in their eyes, by the trappings of wealth.

Yet Hamilton is maturing. The flash private jet, for one, has gone. He has also opted to embrace a plant-based diet, a big step for him as a sportsman, and while only a small one for the greater good of mankind, he hopes he inspires many to follow him. One of the positives of fame, you could argue.

It is a maturity that has clearly manifested itself on track, these past two seasons especially.


Last year, Hamilton and Mercedes barely put a wheel out of place. Across 21 races, Hamilton was almost faultless. It was as near a perfect a campaign as you could wish for.

This season, there has been the odd error here and there, such as in Austria and Germany that led to poor results, while he conceded himself he had one of those days at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday in which he could not find a lap when it mattered most.

Mercedes, too, have not had it all their own way. Its car has not been as dominant as it once was as both Ferrari and Red Bull, at times, have taken the fight to them, claiming poles and victories.

Yet there is an eye-catching statistic from this season, which is that Hamilton has only been on pole position on four occasions, yet he was won 10 grands prix. He has found ways to win, more often than not by careful management of his car and tyres, an art form in this era.


Team-mate Valtteri Bottas claims if he is to learn anything from Hamilton, if he is to eventually be world champion himself one day, then it is the Briton's race craft, referring specifically to “tyre management, and the driving style you need to drive quick in certain circumstances, it's a strength of his, and what has given him an edge in races”.

Hamilton has certainly been relentless this season in his hunger for success, and despite this latest triumph, there are no signs yet of it being satiated.


As for equalling Michael Schumacher's all-time record of seven drivers' championships, a more thoughtful Hamilton re-emerges.

“I don’t want to build up the idea of trying to get to Michael’s… to get to seven because at the moment, I’ve got to enjoy right now,” insisted Hamilton.

“Tomorrow’s not a given. I don’t know what’s going to happen over these next days or months, but what I have to do, and what we all really should try is to make sure you enjoy each day because one day you’re here and one day you’re not.

“So I'm not trying to think of what’s going to happen potentially at the end of next year or 2021.

“I believe that I have the ability to continue to grow and to do more with this team and within Formula 1 and so that would be the target but time will tell.

“Right now I just focus on trying to be as fit and healthy as I can be, and smile as much as I can and enjoy this beautiful journey we call life.”

Photos courtesy of Motorsport Images.

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