Hill puts his demons to rest in new book

Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:05pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - The first time Damon Hill visited Suzuka for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, the circuit hotel registered him as 'Demon'. The 1996 world champion could laugh that one off, at least.

Other demons -- grief, anger, self-doubt and deep depression among them -- have been harder to brush aside over the years, as he reveals in a frank autobiography ('Watching the Wheels') published this month.

It is a book Hill could not have written when he retired in 1999 and that has required the passing of time, and some years of therapy, to overcome the inner conflict and reach an understanding of who he really is.

"Formula One is about not needing help," the 55-year-old told Reuters before heading to Singapore for Sunday's grand prix.

"It's about everyone being so good that they've not got a crack in their armor at all, anywhere. That's why you keep trying to carry that load. And eventually you just can't get it off the ground."

For Hill, whose double world champion father Graham died in a 1975 plane crash that had cataclysmic consequences for the family fortunes, the full realization that he needed help came only after he hung up his helmet.

"It became too much by the end of my career and I needed to sort myself out. When I stopped, I thought the problem was being in F1. But it wasn't," he said. "It was to do with more issues than that."

Eventually, he rang a family friend who had trained as a therapist after losing her parents in a helicopter crash and asked for help.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - British Grand Prix 2015 - Silverstone, England - 5/7/15
Former driver Damon Hill before the race
Reuters / Phil Noble

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