Is Lewis Hamilton driven by the desire to be the best – or the fear of disappointing his father?
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but there’s a tinge of tragedy in this quote from his autobiography “My Story”, released last week. Read what he had to say about scoring a podium on his Formula 1 début at Melbourne:
Seeing his expression after the races made it worth all the effort. ‘My dad’s smiling down there,’ I thought, ‘so I know he’s happy – and that’s all that matters to me. There’s one thing I can do that makes my dad smile and this is it.
Now, Lewis Hamilton’s attitude towards his dad would not be very interesting had Anthony Hamilton not become a minor celebrity in his own right during Hamilton’s ascent to fame this year. Barely a round has passed without ITV wheeling him out for the latest on Lewis.
This curious quote (to which I’ve added the emphasis) could be something or nothing.
Maybe Hamilton spoke it verbatim, or maybe it was hurriedly tapped out by a HarperCollins ghostwriter who had never even met the McLaren driver. Maybe they were aiming for heartwarming family affection and didn’t realise they’d struck a note of pure pathos.
Or perhaps this is a glimpse into the Lewis and Anthony show that doesn’t make it onto the cameras. A driven, dedicated son – and an equally focussed father.
The phenomenon of the pushy parent is well known in sports beyond motor racing, but particularly individual sports like tennis and golf.
Anthony Hamilton certainly wouldn’t be the first parent to become excited by their child’s talent and move every mountain to see it realise. Indeed, many do it regardless of how good their kid is – or how interested they are in their chosen sport, of academic field, or musical instrument…
Speculating about how the Lewis/Anthony father/son dynamic works is not intended to denigrate Lewis Hamilton’s achievements or his dad’s.
But Hamilton’s book left me with more questions than answers. I wonder if Anthony will remain a pit lane fixture next year? I wonder how Lewis discovered motor racing in the first place? Don’t expect to find answers to questions like those in “My Story”.