Dennis - Hamilton maturing

British driver impresses McLaren boss in Spain

Lewis Hamilton has been accused of being too hard on himself by his team boss Ron Dennis, who has also urged him not to change his ways.

Hamilton returned to the podium on Sunday, his 14th in 21 races, with a third-place finish at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old's fine drive, pushing Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa all the way to the line, went some way towards banishing the memory of his blunders in Bahrain three weeks ago.

Hamilton drew considerable criticism following his performance at the Sakhir track, with many starting to question his lack of experience.

Yet McLaren team principal Ron Dennis maintains Hamilton is a far more mature driver than many people perhaps give him credit for, in particular after coming so close to world title glory last year.

But Dennis insists there is no harsher critic than Hamilton himself, and that in turn will only drive him on, as it did with another of his proteges in two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.


"As you mature as an individual, whether you are a racing driver or any athlete, part of that maturing process is how you think about what you do and how you go about racing," said Dennis.

"Now I think Lewis is too hard on himself - I've told him that.

"What driver gets out of the car, speaks to you guys (media), and in his words says 'I didn't do a very good job and I'm angry with myself'.

"I can't remember his exact words, but how often does that happen? Seldom.

"Mika used to do it. He used to get out of the car and say 'I screwed up'.

"He (Lewis) is an honest guy. What you see is what you get, and it's refreshing because we know what we are dealing with.

"In truth he had a phenomenal run of not doing anything wrong, but then he had a small drop off in Bahrain where he made one small mistake.

"Apart from that, I think he is doing a good job."


Dennis sees no reason why Hamilton should alter his mindset, no matter the situation he is faced with, adding: "We all wrestle with our weaknesses.

"He is a grand prix driver, and of course he is going to feel a bit of pressure, but he handles it well.

"If he can't handle it, how could he have possibly done what he did last year?

"That was real pressure compared to where we are right now not long after the beginning of the season.

"If anything he is more relaxed. He was, and is, and will continue to be a great racing driver. As simple as that."

Former triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart suggested Hamilton might potentially benefit from working with a coach, noting the like of world number one golfer Tiger Woods has one fighting his corner.

But such a prospect has been firmly rejected by Dennis, insisting: "I don't see the need to have anyone for Lewis to call on a daily basis.

"You forget what he did last year. This guy does not need to be told how to win races, or how to prepare himself mentally.

"And who has a coach? What top driver has a coach? You are talking about something that doesn't exist.

"In my opinion any top driver knows exactly what he wants to do, how he wants to go about it, and he doesn't need anybody to tell him how to drive the car.

"I would never, ever have a driver that had to be guided by a third party on how to drive a racing car.

"I think we do more than any team, and certainly more than we have ever done with regard to the drivers' physical and mental condition.

"I can assure you we don't leave anything to chance, and I'd be very surprised if we didn't have two of the fittest, mentally prepared drivers in the pit lane."