Can Lewis Hamilton build on his Hungarian GP win?
Lewis Hamilton’s maiden victory for Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix catapulted him firmly back into the world title race.
How many world drivers' titles is Lewis Hamilton capable of?
It also proved that Hamilton still has what it takes to mix it at the top of the table just as people were beginning to write off his title challenge and instead focus on Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
Many predicted a tough first season at Mercedes after he made the switch from his family at McLaren, but he can and will get even better in his quest for further world titles.
He will, of course, do this without the aid of renowned sports psychologist and Bleacher Report contributor Masefield, but for the sake of a bit of pre-Belgian Grand Prix fun, here are my five quick fixes for Lewis to become even better than he already is.
1. Become a professor
Hamilton’s fearless and aggressive driving style has won him as many critics as it has admirers over the years.
He exploded upon the scene in 2007 in taking the fight to his rivals, most notably teammate Fernando Alonso. But several high-profile mistakes and incidents in the subsequent seasons led to no shortage of criticism from his fellow drivers.
There was China in 2007, Monza in 2010 and then things came to a head in the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix when he collided with Mark Webber on lap four, and again with teammate Jenson Button on lap eight.
The incident came after Hamilton had also crashed out in Belgium, leading Niki Lauda to go as far as saying Hamilton’s driving could get someone killed, as quoted in The Telegraph.
But part of growing up is learning from those mistakes and whilst it could have a detrimental effect to alter a driving style honed from his early years of karting, Hamilton could take a leaf out of Professor Alain Prost’s book on the mental side and evaluate when to attack and when to back off during the course of a race.
2. Marry Nicole Scherzinger
The mental side of things also applies here and personal relationships cannot be underestimated.
During his torrid spell of accidents during the 2011 season, Hamilton admitted that there were times that his mind was simply not in the best place due to his breakup with Nicole Scherzinger; they split in November of the same year.
Reports in the Daily Star recently suggest the pair are now very close again and have even patched things up, with Hamilton even splashing his cash on a £500k engagement ring.
Is it any coincidence that he’s suddenly coming back into some of his best form?
After winning in Hungary, Hamilton was clearly emotional and he dedicated his first victory in a Mercedes car to her as quoted in The Independent.
It has not been the easiest few months. It feels a little bit odd without that someone here - but I would say now that this is one of those races you want to dedicate to that someone. The thought in my mind through the whole race was of someone really special to me and I want to dedicate it to her. For the next few days, this will keep me riding high. It is a bit of a Band Aid that will cover me for some time.
3. Love your new family and spend more time in the factory
A bit of an expansion on point No. 1, but no matter how good a driver you are, you also need a chassis that will suit your driving style. History backs this up.
Michael Schumacher struggled in his early years to make the troublesome Ferrari work for him and it was only through tireless hours of feedback and dedication working with his team of engineers in Maranello that things finally began to come right.
I’m not saying that Hamilton doesn’t spend a similar amount of time at Mercedes but his feedback and relationship with the team is of the utmost importance.
It’s only his first season at Mercedes but in many ways it’s his most important as this is where all the bonding happens. Is it already paying off?
4. Win more races
This may seem a ludicrously obvious comment but it applies to every sport. Athletes—be they footballers, golfers or tennis players—go through crises of confidence and slumps in form.
It happens to the best of them.
But winning breeds confidence and the more you do it, the better you get. The old sporting cliche "form is temporary, class is permanent" certainly applies here.
5. Join Fernando Alonso at Ferrari
I grant you this is tongue-in-cheek, but there is such a thing as becoming too comfortable in an environment. Hamilton had a cozy partnership with Jenson Button at McLaren and he’s now matched up against his good friend Nico Rosberg who he has known since his childhood.
But rewind to 2007 and there was a different intensity.
Not getting on well with a teammate can bring out the best in a driver and focus the mind like nothing else. Mansell vs. Piquet, Senna vs. Prost and more recently Vettel vs. Webber are prime examples of how those at the top of their profession go far beyond the depths of their reserves just to get one over their biggest rivals.
Of course, the Ferrari thing will likely never happen but do you think Hamilton gets the same pleasure from beating Rosberg as he does Alonso? I think not.