F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on racing, recording records and his dad
A hidden talent
Lewis Hamilton is one of the most exciting Formula 1 drivers of his generation. But unbeknownst to many, his love for cars might just be surpassed by his love for music. Buro 24/7 Middle East has the inside story...
It's been a great year so far. Do you believe that you're driving better now than you did earlier in your career?
I would say so, but I think there is more to come. You hope that you're always growing and each year you hope that you're better for the job than the previous year. This year has definitely been a strong year. What I love is when I race and I hit the edge, that's what racing's all about. Of course you want to win but if you've fought and given 110 per cent, I'd rather know that I've given it my all and be depleted, so I can go home proud.
You often talk about your music. Tell us more about that.
I just do it for fun and I love music. My dad's side is from Grenada and I grew up being around a Carribean family. My dad was a good drum player and we always had an amazing hi-fi system. I grew up around it. I love cars and I love music just as much, if not more.
I've done like 130-140 songs. Last week when I was at home, I spent most of the time in my spare bedroom closet recording music. I was literally there the whole day.
Do you see a career in music when the racing stops?
I never ever set out to have a career in it. I have played stuff for people and their reaction is generally good, which is encouraging. The people I've met have been very supportive. For example Pharrell is a genius in music and he's just so supportive.
When Pharrell calls you and says: "Hey Lewis, I've just recorded this amazing track and you've got to listen to it." Is that when you know you've made it?
That actually has happened but it wasn't Pharrell, it was Kanye. It was amazing! He sent me a track that no one has and he trusted me with it. That's really great!
You've had great success in racing and maybe in the future, music. Do you see your story as an inspiration for other people?
In some respects because we were a normal working-class family and my dad didn't have money to raise us. He spent his life savings and at one stage had to have four jobs. We didn't have holidays or go to restaurants. The furthest we got was Pizza Hut on a weekend if we were lucky. I was very fortunate to have made it through to Formula 1, given that it is such an expensive sport.
Nelson Mandela said: "Sport has the power to change the world." Is it something you believe in as well?
I think music certainly can. As for sport, I think it definitely plays a role because it brings people together and it helps connect us in ways that we wouldn't do otherwise. I love working with UNICEF — I've been to Africa and the Philippines. So that's where my heart is and it's really what I want to do when I stop racing.
Sharks and spiders. Which is scarier?
Does the word 'impossible' exist in your life?
The most inspirational thing someone has said to you.
"Never give up!" My dad said that.
Catch Lewis Hamilton at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he carries the colours of the UAE with a specially designed logo displayed on his gloves and helmet to mark the nation's 44th birthday, the same number that he wears to race.