By Carol M. Creasey
When he was growing up his inspiration was Ayrton Senna and even now, a few months after reaching the same number of championships as Michael Schumacher, he still finds it humbling that he is now being viewed as an inspiration. He said in a recent Formula for Success podcast, that he never thought he would have people following him, and this makes him realise the importance of all that he is trying to achieve.
But according to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Sir Lewis is more than an inspiration as a driver, he describes him as a perfect role model. Not only with his behaviour on and off the rack, but also with his commitment to what he believes in, such as the Hamilton Commission, set up to help young people from ethnic groups to have the same opportunities in motor racing as others, and also his involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mr Domenicali also pointed out that Sir Lewis is not only very important to Mercedes, but also to the whole of Formula One. He believes Sir Lewis’ example of working closely with his team, always looking for ways to improve and never being content to rest on his present success, is what makes him so special, and he urges other drivers to follow his example.
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With many up and coming young drivers wanting to prove their worth in the future, Sir Lewis has been happy to send them messages of support when things go wrong. An example of this was last season when George Russell crashed behind the safety car, Sir Lewis was quick to re-assure him that “we all make mistakes”. He also offered words of praise and encouragement to Pierre Gasly when he won his first race.
Sir Lewis has learned during his career that sometimes patience, rather than speed, can help win a race, and this was demonstrated very clearly in Turkey last season, when he won the race from sixth place by biding his time until his moment came. Younger drivers could really learn from his example, because by being cautious, by keeping his car on the track, he had his opportunity later in the race, whereas others were spinning around and losing their positions.
He has earned the title of wet weather master with many incredible drives during his career, and any young driver who tries to emulate him in the future, has a better chance of being a future world champion. Sir Lewis’ legacy will remain, long after he hangs up his helmet.
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