Monday, 04. November 2019
The old world champion is also the new one: Lewis Hamilton dominates the Formula 1 again this season. The Briton now has six World Championship titles, only Michael Schumacher is still ahead of him. And an end to the record hunt of the dominant Mercedes driver is not in sight.
Lewis Hamilton still remembers exactly what it was like back then. His mother had saved extra to allow him to travel to New York City at the age of 17. That was "very special" when he first traveled to his great place of longing. 17 years later, a lot has changed in the life of the record hunter. He has his own penthouse in New York, and his neighbor is Tom Brady, one of the biggest football heroes in the US. This was made possible thanks to his very special career: collecting titles, breaking records, mastering Formula One – it's the life of the superstar. However, the success story of the Mercedes driver is far from being told, and his sixth World Cup triumph in the USA, of all things, will not change that. The World Cup crown secured Hamilton on Sunday by a second place behind teammate Valtteri Bottas. "I do not believe it," said Hamilton shortly after the finish line on the pit radio. Hamilton is the face of the premier class of motorsport. In the Silver Arrow, the 34-year-old has become a formative pilot of his generation, for whom even the biggest records of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher are uncertain. "One must not forget the power behind it, both from his side and from Mercedes", said Sebastian Vettel. "He is a great driver, who also personally rewrites the history of the sport," said Formula 1 Sports Director Ross Brawn. But Hamilton is much more than a terrific tax artist. Most recently in Mexico, he chatted his acting ambitions. This also fits into the picture of the restless lucky hunter who strives incessantly for fulfillment away from the racetrack. Racist attacks "leave scars that do not disappear" His circle of friends ranges from Neymar to Serena Williams to Justin Bieber. The convinced vegan Hamilton has set up his own music studio. Hamilton designs fashion collections. And Hamilton, whose younger brother has also become a racing driver despite polio, is committed with conviction to disabled and disadvantaged children. A life in acceleration, a life but also for others. For this, Hamilton sometimes has to go the hard way. As a young kart pilot, the son of an immigrant from Grenada was racially attacked, told Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. "If this happens to an eight- or ten-year-old, it leaves scars that just will not go away," said the Austrian. Hamilton is still the only black racing driver of the Formula 1. The separation of the parents, the quarrel with his first team boss Ron Dennis at McLaren, the broken love with pop star Nicole Scherzinger – Hamilton knows the dark hours. And he sometimes gives the public deep insights into his soul. Like last time, when he informed his 13 million followers on Instagram about his desperation about environmental sins and the failure of world politics. "There's just so much happening in my life, and it's not always easy to stay positive," Hamilton said. Hard is the series champion also with the fact that he enjoys in the home by no means undivided admiration. "Lewis may not get the recognition he deserves," former World Champion Damon Hill just realized. Hamilton is "just at the zenith of his creative power". Every third race of his Formula One career has won Hamilton, conquering most of the pole positions and also keeping Schumacher's record of 91 Grand Prix victories in his sights. In the face of Mercedes's unbroken strength, 2020 will be the number seven title. And then? Hamilton's contract expires at the end of next year. A rule reform could change the balance of power in Formula 1 – but that's exactly what he wants to prevent and help himself. "I want to be a pioneer in this new era," he said in Texas. The end seems far from coming, instead he wants more and more: "I enjoy what I do, I have not reached the summit."