Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lewis: It's not about the money

Tuesday 4th November 2008

2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton insists it will be his passion rather than fame and fortune which drives him to future glory.

In the wake of becoming the youngest World Champion in F1 history, Hamilton is poised to become one of the most marketable stars in the world.

Forget 'Brand Beckham' and consider the prospect of 'Hallmark Hamilton' as riches now beckon beyond the 23-year-old Briton's wildest dreams.

But despite being elevated to such stratospheric status on the back of one of the most dramatic conclusions to any sporting event, not just in motor racing, Hamilton is determined to remain grounded.

Although he is currently earning more in one month than the average man in the street will make in a lifetime, he stresses that money is just a welcome by-product of the talent which yesterday propelled him into superstardom.

To that end, Hamilton is not even considering buying something to reward himself for becoming Britain's ninth World Champion.

"I'm comfortable in life," said Hamilton, as he addressed the topic of potentially becoming sport's first billionaire.

"It's an amazing feeling to know you have some money considering I never had £100 to go and buy a pair of trainers when I was younger.

"So to think I can do that now is great, but money doesn't really appeal to me.

"As a young kid, to be given an opportunity in Formula One I would have done it for free.

"It just so happens I get paid to do my hobby, everything I love, and it's nice to be able to take care of my family.

"That's all that really matters, so I'm happy.

"It would be nice to have a house at some stage, but I don't know where or what I particularly want.

"I've a nice apartment, a nice drum kit, nice guitars. I don't need anything more really.

"There are some things in the future I might want to get, but there will be a time and place for those.

"My reward is winning the World Championship. What else do I need?"

At the McLaren party last night to celebrate his success, far from getting drunk on champagne, Hamilton instead got drunk on seeing how happy he had made people.

"I only had a couple of glasses of champagne," confirmed Hamilton, who last year did have too much to drink after losing the title by a point to Kimi Raikkonen.

"I remember sitting there towards the end of the night and a song came on, 'We Are The Champions' by Queen.

"I saw all the team members - my mechanics, engineers, catering staff, the bosses, my dad - and everyone was so happy.

"I just sat there and took it all in. It was a feeling you can't put into words, to see how happy you have made everyone after all the hard work they have put in, and how satisfied they are.
"That was really my present last night, seeing all that."

The suggestion is Hamilton stands on the brink of ushering in a new era in F1, succeeding seven-times Xhampion Michael Schumacher and going on to eclipse all his records.

But again, something so immaterial holds no interest for Hamilton, who added: "I don't plan to try to reach any of his records.

"They don't mean a huge amount to me. They are not something that appeals to me.

"I just love racing, getting in the car and winning Campionships, with the feeling you get after all that work from the people around you, and you extracting the most out of yourself.

"That's the most fulfilling achievement, so records are not so important."

There is one little luxury he would love - the McLaren F1 LM supercar, of which only five were made, and with the first at the team's headquarters in Woking a teasing reminder for Hamilton.

But to get his hands on it, he first has to win two more World titles after a deal he made with team boss Ron Dennis when he first signed for McLaren.

"Every time I walk past it, I gaze at it," added Hamilton.

"Still today it's the only car I really look at (at the McLaren HQ) other than Ayrton Senna's '89 car (in which he won one of his three titles).

"So I stop, open it up, smell it, and it's all carbon, fresh, new, number one out of five.

"It's probably the most expensive, the most beautiful car in the whole world, and that's the one I want.

"I want to win this car off Ron, so I will work as hard as I can to get to three (titles) at some stage."

Source : Planet F1

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