Lewis Hamilton appeared to have made a conscious decision to be brutally honest about his own form, his season, his life.
It made for great headlines, of course, but with each passing race and each collision — whether through his own fault or someone else’s — the pressure on him was piling up and I felt it may have had something to do with him exposing so much of himself.
I take my hat off to him following his win in Abu Dhabi. I saw him just before we did the BBC post-race show and made sure to shake his hand.
After all the column inches, the speculation over his mental state and his driving, he came back and delivered a near-faultless weekend.
We will never know what might have happened had Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull not blown a tyre on the opening lap but that's immaterial now.
'You can’t help but admire someone who is prepared to let it all hang out'
Lewis was in position to capitalise and didn’t put a wheel out of place.
Lewis is a naturally emotional guy, and there will be times when this handicaps him, but when you see the unadulterated joy, the relief, the passion on his face, after a win like he had on Sunday, you can’t help but admire someone who is prepared to let it all hang out.
I saw him afterwards, away from the cameras, holding hands with his mother and it was deeply touching.
We are lucky to have someone so honest. For the past 10 to 15 years the trend has been to hide behind a wall of PRs and deliver sound bites.
We have self-help books and psychologists telling us how to behave. But everyone is wired differently.
I watched a documentary about James Hunt on the plane back to Nice on Monday and was struck by how emotional he was on the grid before a race; how he would have to talk himself down from a high state of nervousness.
Can this be a turning point for Lewis? I have no idea. As he has told us enough times, his problems stem from issues off the track — personal issues — but there has never been any doubting his talent or speed.
I hope he comes back strong next year because Formula One needs a fully fit, fully functioning Lewis Hamilton.
And that is to take nothing away from Jenson Button, who is entitled to feel extremely proud at having become the first of Lewis’s team-mates to beat him over the course of a season.
Lewis is wrong to call that achievement “irrelevant”. I can understand what he means — that he has bigger problems to worry about — but as drivers our first duty is to beat our team-mate and Jenson has done that, fairly and squarely, when many said he wouldn’t have a prayer.
'Formula One needs a fully fit, fully functioning Lewis Hamilton'
I heard some ludicrous suggestions on Monday that McLaren might have deliberately caused his KERS issues on Sunday to allow Lewis some breathing space.
Some even linked this theory to the presence of Ron Dennis in the McLaren motor home for the first time in a while. Nonsense.
Jenson has simply driven beautifully this year and did brilliantly again on Sunday to hold off Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa for third spot in spite of his issues.
With three wins apiece, both he and Lewis will be eager to win for the first time in Sao Paulo, on Nov 27.
In fact, the championship may be long since over but I fancy Brazil will be highly competitive.
Seb will want to get back on the horse, Mark desperately wants a first win this year, Felipe is battling for his Ferrari future in front of his home fans, and that is not to mention the battles for 2012 race seats going on further down the grid.
I’m looking forward to ending the season with a bang.
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- Brazilian Grand Prix event page
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