Friday March 1, 2013
Hamilton excited to team up with boyhood friend Rosberg again
By R. MANOGARAN
AS cliched as it may sound, the one message that Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton treasures the most from his father’s many words of wisdom is: Never give up!
“That’s the key bit of advice he’s drilled into me since I was a kid,” said Hamilton.
And how did that come about?
“I used to box when I was a kid. I remember I was eight years old and my dad put me in the boxing ring against this 10-year-old kid,” he said. “He was the same height as me but this kid was a thug ... he was scary.
“The kid beat the crap out of me ... I came out and I was crying and I was like ‘I don’t want to go back in the ring’.
“I had a bleeding nose, and my dad just told me ‘don’t give up. Go back in there and give it everything you’ve got.’
“And I went back in and I beat the kid ... and this kid had been boxing a lot longer than me, you know.
“So, it was really a changing point in my life at just eight years old. And that’s the kind of philosophy I have in my life.
“That’s kind of a motto in our family.”
The mantra has certainly worked wonders for Hamilton. He has since gone on to become a Formula One world champion in 2008.
And now, as he told StarSport during a break at the pre-season testing for Formula One cars at the Catalunya circuit in Barcelona, Spain, last week, his target is to go for the world title again with his new team – Mercedes AMG Petronas.
But Hamilton is realistic enough to know that this is easier said than done.
“It’s going to be a really tough year. I know it’s going to be a tough year,” he said. “And people need to know that I know it’s going to be a tough year.
“But they also need to know that I’m going to stick it out and work as hard as I can and take the rough with the smooth.”
The affable 28-year-old Hamilton left McLaren after the 2012 season to join Mercedes AMG Petronas on a three-year contract, partnering Nico Rosberg.
And that’s something else which excites Hamilton as the duo used to be on the same team during their go-karting days.
“We used to do lots of crazy stuff back then. I’m still the same crazy person I used to be. I don’t know if Nico is still as crazy as before ... he’s all grown up now.
“But I’m sure I can still get the worst out of him.
“We used to prank each other a lot. I might prank him again now that we are in the same team. I might put a tiger in his room or something like that.”
Hamilton also spoke of his love for other sports, extreme or otherwise, like jet-skiing, rock climbing, surfing, snowboarding, water-skiing, swimming, running and squash.
“I also like to play golf,” he said.
Asked what his golf handicap was, he joked that “golf is my handicap” before explaining that he took up the game so that he had something to play with his father.
“I do all these sports because I can’t live without that buzz ... that competitive approach,” he explained.
“But F1 is the ultimate buzz you’ll get. I need the competitive environment to put all that competitiveness that I have – skill and knowledge – into one and apply it all at the same time. That’s why I love Formula One.
“You know, I can’t drive the car every day. Lots of people say ‘oh, you drive a Formula One car, you don’t need to do anything else’.
“But I need to keep going ... I need to keep feeding the competitive hunger that I have.”
He also said that he’s not about to quit the sport – at least not for another 10 years.
“At the moment, I can see myself driving forever,” he said.
“But, realistically, I hope that I have another 10 years in me. But I’ve really got to look after my body, look after myself and always find new ways to keep myself motivated because I’ve been training since I was 13 years old ... I’ve been driving since I was eight.
“So for as long as I can have that excitement when I drive, and that motivation, I’ll keep driving.
“But there’ll be a point, you know, if I feel that I’m driving and not being competitive ... that I’m hogging a seat which another young driver could be having, I’ll give someone else a chance.
“There are only 24 seats here and there’s like only six good seats so I don’t want to be a hogger.”
Hamilton also believes that Mercedes AMG Petronas have the potential to be among the frontrunners in F1 in time to come.
“I think Mercedes AMG Petronas have the potential to be in the top six ... actually we are in the top six. We finished fifth last year,” he said.
“But we need to be further on top. We need to be in the top three. So, maybe, one step at a time, we can get there.
“The team definitely have the right partners in Petronas. I look forward to working with them, to meeting more of the people from Petronas and seeing what they’re about, seeing the technology they use.
“I’m really into technology ... I used to work with another oil company … I went to their factory and I got to see the technology they used to improve the oil and lubricants, that sort of things.
“So I hope I get the chance to see those kinds of things at Petronas too.”