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Hamilton came close to quitting

2012-09-20 08:08

CARVING IN SMOKE AND RUBBER: Lewis Hamilton in action in a McLaren MP4-12C at a promotional event near the Singapore airport where he attempted to scorch his initials - in burnt rubber - on the track.

Talek Harris

SINGAPORE - Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday revealed how his father's simple advice to "never give up" had stopped him quitting during dark days in his career.

Hamilton, under intense speculation about which team he will drive for in 2013, has often cut an unhappy figure through 2012 despite his three wins. In 2011 his campaign was knocked off course by relationship problems.


But the 27-year-old Briton said he drew strength at difficult times from his personal motto, drilled into him by his father, Anthony. Speaking at a promotional event ahead of the 2012 Singapore F! GP, he said: "Never give up. That's just something I had from when I was a kid.

"Everyone has tough times that people don't know about and I remember even in my career I was thinking, 'Shoot, maybe I'm not going to be able to make it'. And I remember my dad said 'Never give up', and that just stuck with me.

"So there's times when I feel like I should maybe stop and then I think to myself, 'I'm not going to give up, I'm going to keep going. There'll be a brighter day, there's light at the end of the tunnel."

It was an interesting insight from the colourful former World champion, often in the headlines and again the focus of attention in the build-up to  Singapore, who after nearly 15 years with McLaren and second in the 2012 standings has admitted his team next year is undecided, with Ross Brawn's Mercedes team thought to be courting his signature.

The Briton, who sports a diamond stud in each ear, was managed by his father until they split in 2010. He is now with impresario Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment, which also handles David Beckham and Andy Murray. He said his core motivation remained simply to win the F1 title and end a wait that goes back to 2008, when he was crowned world champion at 23.


"I'm just constantly motivated, I want to win. I grew up wanting to win. Since I was eight years old, since I started racing, I've always wanted to be at the front of the pack," Hamilton said. "I've wanted to race people, overtake people and come out in front and outmanoeuvre, outsmart and outwit my competitors.

"I think what still drives me today is the future goal, which is to win World championships and be No.1 in the world of top drivers."

He was speaking after performing screeching, rubber-burning doughnuts in a McLaren MP4-12C sports car in an attempt to scorch his initials into the tarmac, at an event organised by drinks-maker Diageo near Singapore airport. One fan was selected at random to join him in the car, but he told AFP he opted out of the hair-raising ride because "I have a weak heart".

Later, Hamilton also recalled with pride how he passed his driving test at the first attempt, aged 17 - despite intense nerves. "I can comfortably say I did. I think Jenson (Button, his McLaren team mate) didn't," he said. "I remember the actual start of the test, my leg was shaking like crazy."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2012 Singapore F1 GP weekend.

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