Lewis Hamilton has been backed to carry on his fast and furious lifestyle in order to become the greatest Formula One driver of all-time.
The Mercedes star begins his quest to equal Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven world titles on Sunday and is only eight wins away from usurping the German great as the sport’s most successful race winner.
At 35, Hamilton has entered the twilight years of his career and already has a range of outside interests including his own clothing collection with fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger.
He also counts Will Smith, Justin Bieber, Neymar, Kanye West and Naomi Campbell among his celebrity friends – and has flirted with a career in music when he parks his car in the garage for the final time.
And former F1 ace Martin Brundle – who raced against the likes of Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Schumacher – reckons Hamilton can successfully juggle his racing and off-track exploits.
“There was a time a few years ago where he took a lot of criticism for not being focused enough,” said Brundle, now a pundit for Sky Sports F1.
“He seems like a workaholic to me. He has got his fashion, his music and all the things that are important to him in his life.
“Then he will be scuba diving somewhere in the world – he’s all over the place. He just seems to compartmentalise it all.
“And he looks completely chiselled doesn’t he, so god knows when he has time to get into the gym because he zooms around with all these different elements in his life.
“I don’t think he has many idle hours in his life either. Then he just rocks up and delivers because he has the natural talent and the natural speed.
“It has contributed to his success. His ability to not fret over every lap, every lap time. He goes away, does what he does, comes back and focuses on F1.”
Indeed, Hamilton, whose current £36million-a-year contract with Mercedes runs out at the end of the year, is chasing records that some once thought would last a lifetime.
Brundle reckons he has even more to offer and has tipped the Brit to extend his stay at Mercedes.
He added: “Lewis just doesn’t seem to age does he. What has Lewis got left? Will he be doing this in his 40s? No he won’t.
“I could see him doing one more contract. I think he has more to offer yet.
“When you see him all chiselled like that on social media, you need some motivation to get like that ahead of the season.”
F1 starts its season in Austria on Sunday, nearly four months later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic and against a very different backdrop.
Hamilton spent lockdown playing a prominent role in the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s tragic death.
The Brit has been open about being subjected to racism himself throughout his career and referenced a time in 2007 when fans turned up in black face at a circuit.
And the six-time world champ, who remains the sport’s only black driver, has been applauded by Brundle for leading the drive for change.
“It’s very important and I admire him, he added. “Through his talent and achievements, the six world titles, and his social media following, Lewis has a global platform. He’s used it incredibly well and I admire him for that.
“He’s revered in our business. He’s considered to be one of the greatest drivers of all the time if not the great driver of all time. I’ve seen him being crowdsurfed by the fans at Silverstone. He’s worshipped by the fans.
“Lewis is very much up on a pedestal in that respect. But then I don’t know what happened in his earlier days in karting and junior racing. He has talked about that.
“What has been going on is really powerful and Lewis has played a key role in that. Formula 1 isn’t a diverse business particularly. Motorsport in general is not.”
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