Formula One: Hamilton's Abu Dhabi joy clouded by family problems
Published 15/11/2011 | 05:00
The happiness that radiated from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday following his victory in Abu Dhabi was unmistakably genuine.
But it did not take long for the serious expression he has worn in recent months to return.
A couple of hours after the race, on the roof of McLaren's paddock home at Yas Marina, the 26-year-old spoke again of "family-related" issues that he needs to resolve over the winter; of how he hopes to have his mother and half-brother Nicolas with him at more races next year.
Clearly the 2008 world champion still has plenty to resolve away from the track. Speaking about the obstacles he has had to overcome, he came up with an analogy of which even the famously spiritual Ayrton Senna would have been proud.
"It is like getting through the clouds," he said. "When you take off, you go through all those clouds. Then you get to the top where it is just clear. I think I have been going through all that turbulent air for a while now. On Sunday I was above the clouds and it was a great feeling."
Hamilton batted away suggestions that being beaten by his team-mate Jenson Button this year was important in the grand scheme of things, describing it as "irrelevant".
It was not irrelevant to Button, who, following a third place in Abu Dhabi, said he felt proud to have become the first of Hamilton's team-mates to have beaten him.
"It's great to get more points than a team-mate who is so competitive," Button said. "But Lewis and myself have had bad Grands Prix this year -- I've had reliability issues, he's had different types of issues -- so it's very difficult to judge whether I should be happy with (beating Hamilton)."
Hamilton's win has set the scene for one final team showdown in Brazil. He and Button are tied on three wins each. (© Daily Telegraph, London)