After qualifying third and fourth in the first two races of the season while getting to know a new car, then with the exception of a ninth position in Bahrain, all other qualifying sessions have been electric for Lewis Hamilton. Monza however, was the race to stop his dynamic run of first and second places on the grid. A lowly twelfth was all he could manage following a blunder made at the Ascari chicane breaking the floor of his Mercedes, then having his final hot lap compromised by Adrian Sutil at the Parabolica, something the German later received a three place grid penalty for. With the world of Formula One loving gossip as much as a group of teenage girls at a sleepover, it was inevitable that the issues surrounding the fractured relationship between the two would be discussed as a potential reason for Lewis' flying lap being thwarted by the German.
|Lewis and Adrian prior to their 'break up'. Photo: www.telegraph.co.uk|
Bitterness, resentment and jealousy are three emotions capable of preventing a person from enjoying a fulfilling, positive life. Left to fester they can cause people to behave without lucid thought attached. The friendship Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton shared while rising through the ranks into Formula One turned sour following Hamilton's refusal to testify at Sutil's trial for causing grievous bodily harm to a Renault Executive in a Chinese nightclub in 2011. Sutil has been outspoken about the troubles between them since the incident and at times his comments have been rather 'playground'. During a Thursday press conference at Spa this year, Adrian revealed his thoughts about Lewis, ones that still seem tinged with bitterness two years later.
“We were friends and close and knew each other for quite a long time. We spoke about things, we had the same passion and we were in F1. What can I say, he has his life now and he has his idea about how he wants to be. I think he has to grow up a little bit. I'm not so in touch with him any more for some reason. He may be scared of me, I don't know and people have to grow up and he didn't do it.”
|A rather more tense relationship.|
Not only entering the world of Formula One at a young age, but spending his debut season in a McLaren in which he was able to score pole positions, clinch race victories and lead the World Championship, all with a double world champion piloting the sister car, catapulted Lewis Hamilton into the realms of super stardom. He hasn't always dealt with the attention he received in a professional manner, may have let his personal life affect his driving and decisions negatively, and has at times behaved like a petulant child, but in the last year, in particular since being at Mercedes, he has displayed a much more mature attitude to all aspects of his life.
Going from four pole positions in a row to twelfth on the grid could be difficult to accept and easy to lay blame elsewhere. However, when talking about his qualifying session in Monza, Lewis took responsibility for the mistakes made explaining that the damage he caused to the floor and the resulting loss of downforce was the main reason for the disappointing result. When suggested by Sky Sports that Sutil was in the way when he did have an opportunity to put in a flying lap he responded,
“At the end of the day I should have got the lap done way earlier, I had so many opportunities. When I finally got the lap, I'm closing massively on him and at the end of the day all us drivers try to get a gap to the car in front but also you have to manage the gap behind. The team have to help you manage that gap behind. I listened to the radio of Adrian and they didn't tell him. They told him actually here, so it was their fault as a team. It wasn't Adrian's fault, it was just a coincidence it was him.”
His reflections on his own performance and the incident involving Adrian were mature and objective. It is difficult to imagine Sutil being as magnanimous if the situation were reversed.
In the same press conference at Spa he expressed further opinions about his former friend that revealed that jealousy is intertwined with his resentment,
“It's not easy for a young driver when you are very talented and then you suddenly breakthrough into Formula One and you go from the beginning not interesting to absolutely on the top. Everyone loves you and from everywhere you get the best, have a lot of money suddenly and this all affects your life. You don't have the real friends any more and you don't know what that means. Hopefully you wake up early and you can sort out your life and be also successful in your life. Some they don't get it, some they never wake up, they have the wrong people around and the wrong friends but there will be a time they will realise that they did wrong and it's not only about being rich and famous. It is just a result. You need to sort out all aspects of how you live to be successful, to be a happy man and what are the important things in life. With no friends I think you are going to be a very lonely and sad man and again we want all to be happy.”
In addition to learning from the way Lewis Hamilton approaches their loss of friendship, Adrian Sutil could learn a lot from his own words of wisdom. The number of 'real' friends you may have will make no difference to happiness, if inside you resentment is constantly bubbling creating an effervescent knot of bitter unrest. Having listened to the words spoken by Sutil and observed his manner while delivering them, I believe it is fair to say he comes across as a rather unhappy soul.