Following Lewis Hamilton is like an episode of Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego. he crosses timelines like he crosses finishing lines these days on his Bombardier jet, dogs in tow and many of the music, fashion and modeling scene along for the ride.
Fair enough, it’s not my scene, I can’t afford that lifestyle but even if I could I wouldn’t be doing the things Lewis does or hanging with the people he hangs with. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, I’m just a heck of a lot older than Lewis and if I showed up at the GQ awards, people would ask, “who brought their dad?”.
For me, Lewis is doing what many often claim they wish Formula 1 drivers would do. Live the life of an F1 driver without reservation or limits. Like Senna did. Like Hunt did. Lewis, for better or worse, is making the most of his wealth and status as a world champion and for this, Bernie Ecclestone loves him.
The 7-time champion, Michael Schumacher, wasn’t like Lewis. He favored his family time and to remain anonymous in public. He shunned the limelight. So to did 4-time champ and fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel. Lewis, on the other hand, came from a couch in Stevenage and he’s relishing his wealth and fame. I say good on him because many F1 fans often bemoan the lack of panache in today’s F1 drivers.
This article of at the Independent was gushing about Lewis and even took aim and shot at McLaren for trying to squelch his ethnicity:
“The second bit was right, and it killed him. His ethnicity, the cultural milieu of a mixed-race kid from Stevenage, was airbrushed out of the picture because it did not dovetail with the corporate message. They did not want a tattooed hipster from the hood parading around the margins after midnight with unsavoury deviants. They wanted him all shiny and new, uniformed, unblemished and compliant.”
I think that’s a little harsh. Lewis was much younger then and not the man he is today. He also didn’t have the unfettered access to his own life he has now as he was being controlled by his own father in those days. McLaren are McLaren and they have an image and Lewis knew that going in. Fernando Alonso has to play by their rules as well as Jenson Button to this day so infusing some sort of race-neutralizing gambit is really a sad narrative.
Lewis heads to Singapore this weekend to race once more and if things go right, he could equal his hero Ayrton Senna’s record wins at 41 in 161 races. It is a destiny that he will want very badly this weekend and will do everything he can to achieve it.
I say good on him. Live it up while you can because success in F1 is so difficult to achieve and even more difficult to sustain. The FIA re-wrote all the rules to neuter Red Bull’s domination and handed it, clearly, to Mercedes. Some feel they may do the same in 2017 but we’ll have to wait and see. If they do re-write the rules, Lewis’s days of sheer dominance may come to an end but I doubt his globe-trotting lifestyle will. That’s just who Lewis is right now. I’m happy for him and glad he is living the life many dream of while the rest of us sit on our proverbial couches in our own version of Stevenage.