One of the major stories coming into 2013 was the move of Lewis Hamilton from McLaren to Mercedes, seen as done "for the money" by some in the F1 community.

But Hamilton's move has actually been one of the smartest decisions in recent times as McLaren endure one of their worst seasons in years.

What has almost been just as interesting is the new persona and image Hamilton has revealed this year, much more relaxed with more unconventional hairstyles. And he even became the first driver I can think of to bring a bulldog called Roscoe to the races.

Yes, the new Lewis Hamilton is a topic that has divided the F1 paddock, lets take a look.

Firstly I'll be honest, I'm not surprised by the new look, Hamilton was very much a restrained character at McLaren playing by their rules. That was one of the main reasons he wanted out, it's also why I feel Jenson Button fits there so well, but that's for another day.

All drivers have an off-track character, Kimi Raikkonen is well known for his boozy nights out, Heikki Kovalainen can always be found on the golf course while Fernando Alonso is seemingly always on his bike! But very little of these characters are able to be seen on race weekends.

This is where social media comes in, Hamilton has endorsed this, in-particular Twitter, more than almost any other driver. His daily tweets showing him training or in his music studio give fans a glimpse behind the man that drives a very fast car every few weeks.

Some were blaming this new Hamilton producing music, owning a dog and living the high life as the reason for his slump at the start of the season.

All I can say is pah! Everyone has hobbies. Of course not everyone takes their pet to work with them, but if Roscoe helps Hamilton relax it can not be a bad thing.  The reason for his not
so convincing start this year is simple - he moved teams.

Imagine if Hamilton was a footballer, he'd spent his entire career playing for Manchester United coming through their academy, then he moves to Arsenal. It's the same story in F1, he was brought through in the McLaren mould by Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh, in one of the strictest environments in the sport, then he is given the freedom of a more relaxed environment and different philosophy at Mercedes - of course it will take time for him to adapt.

Now though he seems to have done just that and taking his first Mercedes win in such commanding style in Hungary has certainly silenced those critics blaming a dog for his troubles.

Of course Hamilton has had some off-track troubles, he  is currently dealing with splitting from girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, an emotional Hamilton dedicated his win in Hungary earlier this summer to the singer. But if he is able to produce that kind of display he did just over two weeks ago with a heavy heart imagine what he would do if all things were rosy.

Personally I like the new Lewis Hamilton, the perception it was interfering with his performances was absolute rubbish and I think it's great that Hamilton is allowed to express himself.

And I wish even more drivers would, because a paddock full of media trained robots would be a very dull place indeed.

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Topics:
Formula 1