Hamilton to eliminate distractions to improve form

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport in Greater Noida

Lewis Hamilton says he plans to "live and breathe" Formula 1 as he aims to get back to his best in 2012.

McLaren's 2008 world champion has had a mixed season on track and also spoke this week about his "tough" split from girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

"I plan to eliminate everything else, not my family, but anything that can be a distraction," said Hamilton, 26.

"That will be a start and the other [thing] is in the race, just staying out of trouble."

Hamilton spoke openly after qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix on Saturday about the effort of dealing with personal issues while trying to stay focused on racing.

The 26-year-old recently split with long-term girlfriend Scherzinger and has also dealt with the deaths of close friends karting legend Martin Hines and racer Christian Bakkerud this season.

When asked how long it would take for him to start a new chapter, he was in philosophical mood.

"Life is like a puzzle," he said. "You just have to get things in place.

"Formula 1 is a massively competitive sport where you have to have clear thoughts.

"You just have to live and breathe F1. There is no room for anything else."

Despite strong victories in China and Germany, Hamilton views his 2011 campaign as his worst season in F1.

He has been called before the stewards more than any other driver and was punished again in India with a three-place grid drop for ignoring yellow flags during Friday practice.

"My season hasn't been the best of seasons, lots of ups and downs," he said.

"With the car we would have hoped to have had more pace consistently but the team has done a fantastic job to get us into the position where we are the second fastest team.

"I speak for myself [when I say] my driving, for me, has been the biggest hazard.

"I can improve, and that's what I'm working towards for next year, and also staying out of the stewards' office is also a very big goal, top of my priorities for next year.

"My qualifying has been pretty good. Generally I'm quite happy with my qualifying pace, particularly the last couple of races, but generally though the year I feel it's been quite good.

"The last race was a good stepping stone, so let's hope I continue on that path."

Hamilton, who claimed a hard-fought second at the last race in Korea, starts in fifth for the first Indian GP on Sunday.

He qualified second behind pole-winner Sebastian Vettel but his penalty means he will also start behind the German's team-mate Mark Webber, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.