Hamilton: "The battle's not over"
Life is looking up for Lewis Hamilton, despite a nightmare sequence of races and one of the most difficult years of his life on and off the Formula One circuit.
McLaren's 2008 world champion, 28 points off the lead with three races remaining, speaking to Reuters at the inaugural South Korean Grand Prix said that he was confident things could only get better.
"It's not been the greatest year for many, many reasons," said the Briton. "Not just in Formula One but outside of Formula One. But things are on the up. I think they are. Everyone has times like this in their careers.
"The battle's not over, we're still fighting for the championship, surprisingly, and it's great to see the spirit within the team. I think they are all very energetic and committed, so that's good to see."
Since the season started in Bahrain in March, Hamilton has distanced himself from his father Anthony - previously his manager and a constant presence at races - and split and then reunited with Pussycat Dolls pop singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.
He was hauled over by police for reckless driving on city streets in Melbourne in March, earning a fine but escaping a conviction.
He has also moved home from Geneva to Zurich.
There have been some memorable wins, such as in Canada and Belgium, and notable failures such as Monza and Singapore as well as a stint as championship leader.
"Just the whole year has been difficult, family-wise...some family members not always well and it's just been difficult the whole situation with my dad of course," said Hamilton.
"Of course things are better than they were back then, but nonetheless that still took a massive toll on my dad and my mum and my team and myself. And it's been different not having them here, you know. (It's been) a real transition this year.
"Everyone has tough times...everyone's got something. It could be a phone bill or it could be anything," continued the driver who has won three races this year but failed to finish three of his last five.
"It's just been that when my dad was here and we had the fastest car and things were just going awesomely well in 2007 for example, that was a year where most things were all a positive."
Hamilton, a rookie sensation with McLaren in 2007, ended that season as overall runner-up by a single point and ahead of his then-double world champion team mate Fernando Alonso.
"There were some negatives this year, but I gradually turned them into positives," he said.
"I don't want this to go out and be a negative story. It's just that it was not an easy transition this year, it took a long period of time for things to (settle down)...and from some point in the year it's just gradually getting better and better and it will continue to get better."
Sunday's race at the hastily-completed Korean International Circuit could prove his point, with the 25-year-old fastest in Friday's first practice and his car looking more competitive than in a while.
He said a couple of days of relaxation at home in Switzerland had washed away the frustration of a nightmare Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
"My apartment feels great and it's nice to be in your own bed and I'm so proud of it as well," he said. "It was just great to be home. You get back and see your cars. It's like coming home and seeing your kids."