Andretti defends Hamilton's lifestyle
25 December 2015 – Mario Andretti, the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion, has defended Lewis Hamilton for his showbiz lifestyle, arguing that there is "nothing wrong" with a busy off track schedule.
Hamilton stormed to a third title in 2015, but a late-season dip, in which Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg took three straight victories, led some to suggest that he had burned himself out.
One of the most high-profile critics was McLaren boss Ron Dennis, who told The Guardian: "If he was at McLaren, he wouldn't be behaving the way he is, because he wouldn't be allowed to."
Andretti, however, feels that there is no problem with Hamilton's way of life.
"His drop in form, what was it, a tenth of a second? It's not that all of a sudden he's out of it," Andretti explained to GPUpdate.net, when asked about the critcism Hamilton has received.
"If he shows up late or is out of shape, then you say, 'you had better review your lifestyle'. But the man is involved. He likes to enjoy life outside of the sport, and there's nothing wrong with that.
"I don't think that [lifestyle] interfered with his performance per se.
"I think the fact that he clinched the championship [with three rounds to spare], he probably let his guard down just a tad, and that's all it takes, but all of that can come back."
Andretti also reckons Hamilton's at times tense relationship with Rosberg has been blown out of proportion, claiming that any team with two drivers fighting for the title will encounter issues.
"I don't think it's anything unnatural," Andretti said of their time as team-mates so far.
"I think it's very natural to have that [tension between drivers]. When you have a team which has two absolutely capable drivers of achieving those kind of results, you're going to have a bit of a war.
"As a driver you're very selfish – if you're not, there's something wrong with you."