F1 ace Hamilton splits from pop star girlfriend

Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:48pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - British racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger said on Monday they have ended their 20-month relationship.

Former world champion Hamilton, 25 and Scherzinger 31 said they were going to focus on their careers.

"Nicole Scherzinger and Lewis Hamilton can confirm that they have decided to go their separate ways," they said in a statement.

"The two of them have decided to focus fully on their careers and will remain close friends."

The pair first met at the MTV Europe Awards in Munich in November 2007 and began dating the following year.

He described himself as like a "besotted schoolboy" while she watched from the sidelines in Brazil as he became World Champion in November 2008.

But British media reports said the couple were close to separating last September because Hamilton was not ready to settle down.

He is based in Switzerland while Scherzinger lives in Los Angeles.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>British F1 race car driver Lewis Hamilton and singer Nicole Scherzinger arrive for the birthday dinner party of former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela at Hyde Park in London June 25, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>