BUDAPEST (AFP) - In an emotional interview, triumphant but heartbroken racing driver Lewis Hamilton on Sunday dedicated his victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix to his former girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.
After describing how he prayed and found himself in a "mellow place" before the race that freed his mind to focus on winning, he admitted that he had been thinking only of Scherzinger, the former Pussycat Doll who he dated for five years.
"Winning is just the greatest, of course," said Hamilton, whose victory was his first since leaving McLaren to race for Mercedes this year and the 22nd of his career.
"But I feel like...the thought on my mind through the whole race was of someone who is special to me and I wanted to dedicate it to her..." Asked if that person was Scherzinger, he nodded.
Then, asked if he had struggled with his emotions in preparing for the race, he said: "Yes, it's been the toughest couple of months of my life.
"Coming into the race, my parents were concerned for me and just wanted to try to lift my spirits and help me keep my focus on, and clearly it's not affected my driving.
"I've been driving great and I've been very happy with how I've been qualifying for the last couple of races, but it just doesn't feel the same nowadays.
"A couple of years ago we were here together and I think I won, so I have great memories." Hamilton, 28, and Scherzinger, 35, endured something of a roller-coaster romance as they lived on different continents and had demanding jobs and lifestyles.
Their break-up earlier this month was their third since 2007 and left Hamilton, who had talked of possible marriage, revealing his feelings on Twitter.
Last week, he tweeted: "If you've found that special someone, don't EVER let them go no matter what!! Nothing in this world is more important".
To distract himself, he flew to Los Angeles to record a few tracks and keep alive his interest in music - a trip he verified with photographs also published on Twitter.
The last time Hamilton and Scherzinger were seen together in public was at the Canadian Grand Prix in early June.