From the moment Lewis Hamilton made his debut as a Formula 1 driver in 2007, he has been driving from one win to another as showed his latest win in Abu Dhabi, last weekend. Today, he is a six-time world champion, driving for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team and now successfully making his first steps in the fashion world. Not only as an ambassador for the Swiss watch brand IWC… he also recently designed his third clothing collection in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. He admitted that there is one thing he will never do: stop working.
Text Anja Van Der Borght Pictures Tommy Hilfiger
What drives you most to do this sport?
LH: “What pushes me is a combination of elements. I love being able to contribute continuously to the evolution of technology. As a pilot you are always involved and you stand at the crest of new technological developments. In addition, there are only a few people who can drive the car to the limit without losing control and even more also to excel in this, and that is an incredible feeling. Of course I love the challenges but the cooperation with the team and the fact that we aim towards a common goal makes it super exciting for me. ”
You have achieved so much already, what do you still dream of?
LH: “Well, I’m just living my dream …”
Where do you hope to see yourself in an ideal scenario within twenty years?
LH: “I hope to still be alive, happily enjoying my family, wherever that may be. I also hope that I have a good running business and that I enjoy my work a lot; that I find my work still challenging and that I am still healthy and well. “
So you’re not going to retire later?
LH: “I certainly never see myself stopping with work. Boredom strikes me quickly. I recently spent a few weeks with my family and friends on a beach vacation and at the end I was simply fed up. I wanted to be working again. However, we made trips and I also trained a little but I missed this racing, working with the engineers, … I will always remain competitive and want to work … I simply love to work with people and especially want to work towards something. In twenty years I hope to have developed a successful fashion business and to have created my own brand. A fashion brand that is appreciated and respected, that is my goal. “
Do you also like active vacations?
LH: “Normally I am very active during my vacation: skydiving, motorcycling water sports, surfing, hiking, … I am always busy and never sitting idle. “
Some pilots train in the sauna to cope better with the high temperatures in the car?
LH: “That is certainly not how I train myself. It is always warm where I live and also for my vacation, I travel to a warm climate. I train a lot and combine various sports in a relaxing and pleasant way. One time I will go boxing or Thai boxing, another time I will go swimming, walking, cycling, rowing, rock climbing, … I like variation and to keep it fun that way.”
What is your favourite sport besides motorsport?
LH: “NBA is one of my favourite sports.”
Are you superstitious, do you apply a special ritual for the race or is there something that you always wear?
LH: “I am not superstitious anymore. It was me in my teens but when I was seventeen or eighteen I grew out of it. Today I no longer believe in those things and therefore I have no specific rituals. “
What have been the best and worst moments in your career so far?
LH: “The best moment was my first Grand Prix victory on June 9, 2007 in Canada. The worst was undoubtedly when I lost the World Championship that same year. I had the best chances to become the world champion during the last race in Brazil, but things went wrong. It was a lot to swallow through at that moment. I then had a difficult time. “
What would you do if one of your children later announced that he or she would like to become an F1 pilot?
LH: “I would probably try to change their minds.”
Because you think it’s a dangerous sport?
LH: “No, it has nothing to do with danger. I am not worried about that. I can’t really name it. I just hope they don’t want to go racing just because I did it and admittedly it was fantastic for me but I would encourage them to do something else. After all, there are so many other great things they can do. “
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What is the best lesson your father taught you?
LH: “Never give up. He really drilled that into me when I was a kid. “
Do you still remember your father’s reaction when you announced him that you he would like to become a racing driver?
LH: “Not really. I was only five years old then and I don’t really remember what he said, as it was too long ago. Many children of five at the time wore a Superman or Spider Man suit. I wanted to become a racing pilot. At that time I was already 100 percent convinced that I wanted to become Superman or Ayrton Senna. ”
When do you think Formula 1 will be ready for women?
LH: “Formula 1 has been ready for women for quite some time, but I think the timing was not perfect for the women who were breaking through. Timing is everything in our sport. In addition, there is the sheer talent and strength of the driver and I mean speed, the technical aspect of speed. There were some very competitive women, but the timing was wrong. There are only twenty seats, and you must have just won the championship of the underlying level and then just be ready when a seat is released. “
Timing is everything in your sport, but you still don’t wear your IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire.
LH: “We never wear a watch during the race. On the one hand every gram counts and on the other hand a watch would only hinder your movements. But of course you can do it in your free time. “
Is there a designer you look up to?
LH: “I am a big fan of Virgil Abloh who founded Off-White and is now also working as Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton. But I also love Pharrell’s work. I love their style, their approach, … Pharrell’s collaboration with Chanel and the way he evolved from music to fashion is so unique and he is now at the forefront of pop culture. Virgil also took a similar career path and he quickly became very successful in fashion. He inspires me to do something similar. “
You are now linking your name to Tommy Hilfiger for the third time. How much are you involved in those collections?
LH: “I designed and worked on each piece in all three collections.”
What is your favourite piece?
LH: “I don’t really have a favourite piece, but I now wear my own designed sneakers that are super comfortable by the way. I love it. “
What is the must-have item that the men should wear this fall?
LH: “I like to play with layers in the winter. Layering is everything. I also like big puffed jackets. But what every man should have in his wardrobe this fall is the slightly longer jeans jacket from my TommyXLewis capsule collection. With its fleece collar and sheep wool lining it is super warm and perfectly suitable to wear every day.”