ABU DHABI, Nov 10, 2011 (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton opened his heart out here on Thursday and admitted that after a lacklustre and disappointing 2011 he needs to find a "happy bubble" for success next year.
The 26-year-old Englishman conceded he had under-performed and under-achieved in a season that has seen him involved in several collisions and controversies and split from his long-term girlfriend.
But he said he knew what he wanted to do to make sure he felt happier and more consistently successful in 2012 - by taking a leaf out of McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button's book.
He said: "For me, there's not a lot of people that really understand the issues that I've had this year and the problems that I've been going through -- which I've been going through for the last two years.
"It's very difficult...I just can't comment on them because it's not really the place or time to do so, but Jenson's done a great job to get things in the right place.
"He's got his dad there, who is there at every single race. He's got his management there; he's got his friends; he's got his girlfriend there all the time.
"He's in a really, really happy (place)...he's got a great bubble around him which he's very happy with and, with that, he's able to just go out and perform without any worries on his mind.
"I did have that at one point, but I lost that bubble and I don't have that around me at the moment, but I'm working on having that for the future -- as I think the conscious and subconscious part of your mind is very important in this business."
Speaking on the eve of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton cut a lonely, but candid figure as he came to terms with his split from fiancee pop singer Nicole Scherzinger and his father Anthony as his manager.
He made clear that he did not feel any competitive animosity towards Button, who has been more successful this year than Hamilton. It is the first time that Hamilton has been outperformed by a team-mate since he came into F1 in 2007.
Instead, he said he was most keen to learn from Button.
He said: "It is a priority for me to create that atmosphere around myself, because it's a happy bubble where you are happy with your friends and family and the people you love most. It's just a big positive bubble.
"Every time I arrive (at a race) I feel positive, but at some races I'm less positive, and less happy. So that's something I'm definitely going to try and correct before next season starts."
Hamilton said he agreed with McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh's opinion that he has been too hard on himself.
"That's the way I do it," he said.
"I've not really got much to be happy about this year, to be honest. I've had a couple of half decent races and then the rest have been fairly disappointing from my own personal feeling of performance.
"I've had a couple of races where I've excelled and then the rest of them have been so-so. I look through the whole year and look at my results -- fourth, fourth, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, wherever it is - and one or two seconds and firsts there.
"For me, that's just massive under-achievement from my own personal view. And I am hard on myself. I've always been a very hard individual and definitely probably too hard on myself, but that's just the way I am.
"I'm working on trying to be less hard on myself but I take it personally because this is my life. I race with my heart, this is everything to me."