McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says Lewis Hamilton should not change his aggressive approach to racing despite the heartbreak of his first-lap exit from the Italian Grand Prix.
Whitmarsh thinks that part of what makes Hamilton such a good driver is the fact he is so willing to take things to the edge all the time. The McLaren team principal sat down with Hamilton after the Monza race on Sunday night to talk through the events of the day – where a collision with Felipe Massa at the second chicane put him out of the race and dented his title challenge – and he urged the former champion to not dwell on what happened but switch his focus to the final events of the campaign.
"I knew Lewis was in his room and knew he had been in there for some time," said Whitmarsh. "I went in to see him to talk to him. He had time to reflect on it, we discussed what happened and we will learn from it.
"The important thing is that Lewis jumps out of bed in the morning, gets in to training, focuses on Singapore and wants to do the job there. And he will."
Although Hamilton's crash meant he threw away a great opportunity to extend his lead in the World Championship, Whitmarsh said he would not want his driver to change his approach to the sport.
"That is Lewis Hamilton. He is an aggressive racing driver, who when viewing the slow motion replay from the comfort of an armchair probably wishes he had not done it, and so do we. But that is being a racing driver – you have to go for it. That is Lewis Hamilton. I don't want to change Lewis Hamilton. I think he is a great product, a great human being and a great racing driver.
"He and we wish he had done something different in that corner, but we will just now focus on Singapore, getting the car quicker and focusing on beating other people."
Whitmarsh remained upbeat about McLaren's title challenge, as it faces the final flyaway events that appear set to favor rival Red Bull Racing's car more.
"We could have been leading both championships, but we are not. We are five points behind in drivers' championship and three in the constructors' but that is nothing," he said. "It is disappointing when you don't get the points your potential can deliver, but overall, we have been in tough championship fights before, Lewis has been in several, and we are battle hardened. We will get over the disappointment."
He added: "Lewis is hard on himself. He is striving to be perfect, striving to be the best racing driver in the world, and when you don't something like he did, you regret it. But it is millimeters and centimeters of track position at high speed and high adrenaline that are the difference between hero and zero."