Hamilton ‘accepts dangers of F1’

p1931Sport-5-1

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Lewis Hamilton has revealed his love of Formula One and desire to be an inspiration to others allows him to overcome fears he is putting his life on the line every time he steps into a car.

The dangers of the sport were brought home to roost last Sunday with Jules Bianchi’s accident in the Japanese Grand Prix that has left the Frenchman fighting for his life.

Given the significant improvements in safety and the fact it has been 20 years since the last fatality during a race when Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola, drivers could have been forgiven for becoming a bit blase as to their own security.

Hamilton, however, is all too conscious of the fact he and his rivals are pushing the boundaries at speeds of more than 200mph.

“I feel people I sometimes meet think we (Formula One drivers) are a bunch of overpaid kids and we’re just going out and playing,” said Hamilton.

“But there’s not a second when I am in the car I am not fully aware of the dangers that are ahead of me.

“That’s part of the adrenalin rush you get, knowing you are on the edge, but you go in accepting whatever dangers lie ahead.”

Asked as to why he carries on when the dangers are so prevalent, the 29-year-old replied: “I love what I do. There’s nothing ever going to be anything like it for me.

“I also count my blessings. There are only 22 of us and I am at the top of those 22.

“Millions of people around the world wish they had the job I have, so I don’t take it for granted I’m here.

“A lot of work and grafting from me and my family got me to where I am today.

“I’m always grateful to God for the opportunity, but I feel this is not what makes you. It’s only a stepping stone, with my job to inspire others – young kids – and it does.

“These races and championships are what people wake up to see every day.

“I get messages all the time from people saying ‘because of what you did yesterday I am up today. It’s the best day ever’.

“It’s encouraging people to always strive for better.”

Hamilton is all too aware of the tragedies that can occur as hero Senna was killed when he was just nine, as was a karting rival of his own age back in 1994 in Daniel Spence.

Spence succumbed to head and neck injuries sustained after a kart landed on top of him, an incident brought vividly to mind again in light of Bianchi’s crash.

Speaking in his BBC column on this matter, Hamilton said: “That was a very traumatic time for me as a kid.

“Even now I can remember standing on the bank beside a track with him with our suits on just before a race, all laughing and joking, and then the next thing I knew I was at his funeral. It was the first time I had ever been to one.

“It is very hard to put that out of my mind at the moment, after what happened to Jules.

“Things like this really open up your view a bit, but it does not make me rethink about wanting to be a Formula One driver.

“I love this sport. It is the thing I do best, the thing I feel most comfortable in, where I feel most me, without any restrictions on what I can do.

“When I get in the car, I feel free. The exhilaration of racing is something you cannot match anywhere else.

“It is more than a passion. It is our lives.”

Ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton was quickest in Friday practice, with Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg only fourth fastest and a second off the pace.

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search