Lewis Hamilton drives into the record books
His recent Formula 1 win was a record-breaker – and racing champ Lewis Hamilton already has his sights set on what’s next
THEY told him it was impossible – he’d never do it, the prophets of doom said. There were too many hotshots out there, he was too young, too green, it was too hard. But Lewis Hamilton proved his critics wrong – not once but four times.
And the 32-year-old Formula 1 whizzkid is walking on air now after sealing his domination in the world of the ultra-fast by winning the Mexican Grand Prix – and with it becoming his country’s most successful F1 driver to date.
The British speed freak took to Instagram after his record-breaking crowning to praise the people who helped make it all possible.
“As a kid, I always dreamt of being in Formula 1,” he wrote. “I never lost sight of that dream, even when people said it would be impossible.
“I stand here now with four World Championships and I’m proof that if you follow your dreams with everything you have, they can come true. I’m so grateful to all 1 500 people in my team who all have a dream of making the best F1 car and tirelessly make that dream a reality.
“My fans, #TeamLH, I wouldn’t be here without you. You’ve carried me through adversity and shared my joy in moments such as these. Truly, thank you. We’re all rising together and I am so excited for what our future brings together. #LH4 #StillWeRise.” WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE F1 ACE? Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of 2018 but he isn’t going anywhere, he says.
He’s on the verge of signing a new deal with the German motor vehicle manufacturer, which could make him the richest sports star in the world.
The deal will be worth £120 million (R2,1 billion) over three years, according to British newspaper the London Evening Standard. He reportedly wants to stay with Mercedes until at least 2021 and doesn’t foresee any problems getting the new contract sorted.
“It’s quite an easy process for us,” Hamilton says. “We already have something in place and it’s really just about extending it and enhancing it, working on what more I can do for them, for the sponsors, the brand and vice versa.”
British F1 expert Ted Kravitz believes Hamilton won’t bow out before fulfilling his dream of driving for Ferrari.
“I’m not so sure it’s about how many titles will satisfy him, it’s about seeing what he can do in the career that he’s got left. He’s 32 so he has arguably another five or six years before leaving Formula 1,” he says.
He believes the champion will be bored by the time he hits his forties.
“I think another two or three years with Mercedes, which will take him to more than six years in one team, then he’ll go and join Ferrari once [Sebastian] Vettel goes off. He’ll finish his career at Ferrari and win a championship there.”
But for now the driver is expected to head to the Brazilian Grand Prix on
12 November before closing the season in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month. BREAKING RECORDS Hamilton is now poised to challenge Michael Schumacher’s record, according to Grand Prix legend Jackie Stewart. Hamilton broke Stewart’s 44-yearold record as Britain’s most successful F1 driver. Stewart has three world championships to his name. Now the only two people with more F1 championships are SchuLEWIS macher with seven and Juan Manuel Fangio – the Argentine who dominated the sport in the ’50s – with five.
“There’s no reason to assume Lewis won’t go even further and I wish him the very best,” Stewart says. “He’s earned everything and deserves recognition for winning four world championships.
“Records are made to be broken. It’s almost disappointing no other British driver has come along in 44 years to beat my record.” SIR LEWIS? Now that Hamilton is Britain’s most successful racing driver, he says he’d be honoured to be recognised with a knighthood, in the same way Stewart was.
“I’ve been trying to represent England the best way I can and if that’s at some stage recognised by the queen I’d be incredibly proud,” he says.
Stewart was knighted in 2001, years after achieving his feat, but recently the trend has been for star British athletes to be given the honour while still competing. Cases in point are tennis player Andy Murray and distance runner Mo Farah, both of whom were knighted this year. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY Hamilton might love what he does for a living but the bucks surely help. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the Brit has a fortune of £131 million (R2,49 billion).
And that’s not all. Hamilton also has endorsement deals with Swiss watch company IWC, Monster Energy energy drink, L’Oréal, audio equipment giant Bose, Puma clothing, MV Agusta Motorcycles and Bombardier Recreational Products, which earn him about £6 million (R111 million) a year. WHAT’S A CHAMP WITHOUT A RIVAL? Hamilton’s No 1 competitor is fellow F1 champ Sebastian Vettel – the ace German driver who equals his championship titles.
Hamilton embraces it. “Competing with a four-time world champion you know you’re competing against the best,” he told The Guardian newspaper.
“You’re both on a knife-edge and one of you is going to falter. I love that challenge of trying not to be the one who falters.”
After claiming his fourth championship, Hamilton insisted he wasn’t going to create a bitter rivalry with Vettel.
“Naturally you’re having a battle with the guy behind you. There’s that famous saying, ‘In the art of war, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’
“I watch Sebastian, I know what he’s achieved in the past years, I know how consistent he’s been, and I know where his strengths and weaknesses are. I know where the strengths and weaknesses of his car are.” THEN THERE’S HIS LOVE-LIFE . . . Hamilton has never lacked for a date to take to all those parties and events he’s invited to. Earlier this year the speedster was rumoured to be enjoying the company of 19-year-old model Sofia Richie, singer Lionel Richie’s daughter.
He’s also been linked to singer Nicole Scherzinger and models Winnie Harlow and Barbara Palvin.
Other rumoured flames are singer Rita Ora and superstar Rihanna, with whom he was friends for a long time before they reportedly took their relationship to the next level in 2015.
TOP: Lewis Hamilton with his bulldog Roscoe. ABOVE: With legendary British racing driver Jackie Stewart.
ABOVE LEFT: The F1 champ’s mom, Carmen Larbalestier, was there to cheer him on when he won his fourth world title. ABOVE RIGHT: With his dad, Anthony, who nurtured his talent from a young age.