Sir Lewis Hamilton Inspires Fans at live Q&A session at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl While Announcing Name Change
Seven-time Formula One World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton delighted fans with a live Q&A session at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl. Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton told cheering fans in Dubai that he was ready to fight for his eighth championship title this season. On Monday, Hamilton visited Expo 2020 Dubai for a short talk at Al Wasl Plaza, where thousands of excited fans turned up to see their sporting hero. He shared his thoughts on the racing season ahead, which begins in Bahrain next weekend, his car and what motivates him to continue to race at the highest level.
As the only Black Formula One driver in history, Sir Lewis Hamilton’ has become most successful driver in F1 history, with a record-equalling 112 victories. Bestowed with one of the highest honours in British culture, Hamilton has transcended the sport bringing to light unconfronted, decades-old issues within the industry. Hamilton’s drive to change the sport’s representation rather than win titles, shows his appetite to change the buildings blocks of the industry he conquered.
The British racing driver, currently competing in Formula One for Mercedes, toured Expo 2020 Dubai, including the Malaysia Pavilion, as a guest of PETRONAS, Title and Technical Partner of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. His visit comes ahead of the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, which kicks off the 2022 racing season on Sunday, 20 March.
What are your initial impressions of Expo 2020 Dubai and how was your visit to the Malaysia Pavilion?
The facilities are amazing. I have driven passed for quite some times; the facilities are amazing. I’ve never had the opportunity to come. and it’s crazy to think that this place has been built in such a short space of time. It’s a pity that so much of the place will be taken down, and repurposed. During the tour of the Malaysia Pavilion, PETRONAS took us through their sustainability plans and target to be carbon neutral by 2050. It’s been really interesting to see the whole process and see how they’re getting young people into STEM and engineering in Malaysia — the kids are our future.
Can Formula 1 do more for sustainability?
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with Formula 1 about what they’re doing. We go into all these different countries, but in the past, there has always been a lot of waste. There’s been a huge amount of work currently going on and you can’t do it on your own — it’s about having good partners like Mercedes, for example. We’re really focusing on pushing technology forward to be carbon neutral. Everything that we do is the best testbed for this, for technology, too. Everything that we’re working on trickles down into everyday use.
Lewis Hamilton, lost the championship to Max Verstappen in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12, but in February denied he had said he would quit Formula One. How have you enjoyed your off season, lessens, that you’ve learned, How have the last couple of months been for you?
“The off season has been a bit different, it’s been a bit crazy Abu Dhabi, obviously was a difficult period of time for all of us, obviously we are living in crazy times in the world. I just had to unplug, just so you know, if any of you want to do it, unplugging from social media is really really a good thing but I missed everyone that follows and supports. But I really needed the time to re-centre and focus. I was with my family, trying to be the best Uncle I can be, recreate memories with my family, rebuilding and come back to fight.”
What lessons have you learned about yourself, over the last couple of months?
I think for me, my whole life has been about winning. I’ve been racing for 29 years. So, I think that having that mentality of always knowing that you can be better, but I think during this time, realizing that winning is not everything and sometimes when you lose, you actually win and grow. My advice to people is doesn’t be afraid of failure, because you will always meet failure, on the way to success. I could not do what I do without the support of all you guys. I’ve come back to fight for that 8th.
What version of Lewis Hamilton are we going to see in 2022?
I am always trying to be better, a better version of myself. We are living in crazy times, but I think for all of us we should focus on being happy, finding that happy centre, every single day. Today, I feel the healthiest and fittest, I have ever been, more focused my ethic has been better than it’s ever been, and I know what I want, I know how to get there it’s not an easy road, but I know together we can do it., stay with me.
What would winning the eighth Formula 1 world title mean to you?
It would mean everything. It’s impossible to know what the future holds and what it would feel like but doing something that no one else has done before will be mind-blowing. I know it would mean so much to all of us, who go through all these different emotions through the year. Whether you’re on the road with me, at home or at the racetrack — you’re there with me in the car and I’m carrying you with me and still I rise!
It would mean the world to my family. I’m very proud of my family name, Hamilton. Most of you won’t know that my mum’s name is Larbalestier, and I’m going to include that in my name because I don’t fully understand the whole idea that when people get married, the woman loses her name. I really want my mum’s name to continue on with the Hamilton name.
It’s been your 16th season in formula 1. In all of what you have achieved and all that you have learned, in the cock pit and outside the cockpit? What’s been the biggest lesson?
My biggest lesson through my whole career is to never give up on yourself, never stop believing in yourself. Keep pushing. Every single one of us have to have that in everything that we do. I think that’s what I have learned the most, just continue to Believe, yourself, value yourself. Love yourself, we are all so Unique, so different in our own way. There is no other you. You just have to believe that, you’re are unique, you are powerful, you are beautiful, you are strong. There is nothing we can’t do if we put our mind to it. I tell myself every day. No matter how many times you stumble, it’s not how you fall, it how you get up.
You have won seven world titles, that’s a record equaling amount of world titles. of the seven world titles, which ne gives you the most satisfaction?
Every single one is different, the first ne, having that dream as a kind to be a world champion, and actually realizing it was something quite unique and special, just knowing how much my parents gave up for me to get there, but then it was quite a while until I got the second championship. The first one, I was quite able to enjoy it, there was so much going on. I didn’t, enjoy it, and it went by in a flash, and before you know it, we are into a second season. I say the last one was my favourite, as there were so many more people on the road of that journey with me. But it was confirming my self-belief in myself after all these years, and when people tell me I wasn’t going to be great. I have teachers telling me, that I would not amount to anything. I had parents tell me that I was never good enough. Just knowing these people watching TV thinking, damn it, I was wrong.
103 race victories, 12 more than the legendary Michael Schumacher. No-one has won more races than you Lewis, is there one drive, one race win that you lie in bed at night, and think, wow, think is incredible?
Brazil, yes Brazil 2021, you know it’s crazy, but I don’t remember every single race win or even the failures, 2008 Silverstone, was awesome. Even though it wasn’t my best. My first Grand Prix win in 2007, I remember looking down and watching my dad smiling at me. That was real deep for me. He was a very very hard parent. Not necessarily the most living, because he felt that he had to be a solid rock always, but in that moment, I knew that I made him proud. I think Brazil was something I did not know I had in me. Again, that just shows, you can always be better, always be better
Alot of parents and children are here today. What’s your message to those that are striving, whether it’s in motor sports or in a different sport, the arts or in any walk of life, or any industry, what would be your message?
I touched on it earlier, but I think it goes back to what I was saying. Keep believing yourself We are all learning; we are all on this crazy journey called life. I know you are all working on something. Make sure you find a good balance between that and family, ultimate happiness, enjoying yourself and creating memories. I say just keep challenging yourself, never be comfortable, with everything being okay. Always challenge yourself, physically, mentally. Just know that you can always progress, you can always be better
I think for parents, the best part of our story, not just as a family, we’ve had success, it’s really the journey of having a dad, not knowing what to do with this crazy kid with all this energy, and I am sure there’s loads of people here with children, that just want the best for them, but they are not always given all the tools, straight way. we are learning on the go, that’s how it is for my sister at least, and that’s how it is for me as an uncle want the best for my niece and nephews. I am trying to create change in the industry, trying to get more people from diverse backgrounds into STEM subjects, trying to really make sure we utilize the time we have here, in the best way we can.
Your’re not just making an impact in Formula one, you’ve a lot of charities close to your heart, you’re a conservationist, talk to us about what exciting you. What’s the next chapter in the Lewis Hamilton story.?
We are on Mission 44, 44 has been my race number since I was eight. It was the registration number on my dad’s car number plate, was F44. That was the number my dad used to put on my go kart, when I first started racing.
I think for me personally, I have had all these years of success I was always having all this success, but not really understanding why, I was the only person of colour to get through to this role, and not only that, and to be at the forefront, but having all this success, surely there a greater reason for it. But I think for me, I found my greater calling in the last year or so. We launched the Hamilton Commission in June 2020, to try to understand what the barriers are for young minorities, trying to get into the sport, because it is not diverse.
I think for all companies, are realizing today that a more diverse work force is better for success moving forward. In our sport, I am really leaning on all the leaders in our sport to do what’s right, and make sure that they invest in the youth, make sure they and push down those barriers by creating greater pipelines, and hopefully in the next five to ten years you’re going to see the sport looking look similar to the multinational crowd at Expo.
We talk about what you are doing outside the car, I know you’re not finished any time soon I know you are only 37, you look like a man of 27 are you going to be around this sport, a little while longer yet?
I hope so, I think one day at a time, right? one day at a time. What I do know, is that I love what I do. I am so challenged. I didn’t think that at this age, I would still feel so sharp, feel and so energized. I am still getting up for my morning runs, still putting those workouts in, still putting the time in, more than the other youngsters do. I have had the success that I have had, so and I am grateful that I still have that hunger, so we will see, I love seeing all you guy on the and support throughout the racing year, it really means the world t me s thank you, I really appreciate it.
You are top of the tree, you and Michael Schumacher have no other peers with 7 world titles, what would number 8 mean if you were to win it, what would number 8 mean to you?
It would mean everything. It’s impossible to know what the future holds and what it would feel like but doing something that no one else has done before will be mind-blowing. I know it would mean so much to all of us, who go through all these different emotions through the year. Whether you’re on the road with me, at home or at the racetrack — you’re there with me in the car and I’m carrying you with me and still I rise! It would mean the world to my family. I’m very proud of my family name, Hamilton. Most of you won’t know that my mum’s name is Larbalestier, and I’m going to include that in my name, because I don’t fully understand the whole idea that when people get married, the woman loses her name. I really want my mum’s name to continue on with the Hamilton name.
How do you assess Mercedes’ pre-season so far?
The testing has been difficult. Years ago, we used to have a lot of test days but now we have two-and-a-half/three days in the car altogether so it’s not a lot of laps and when we go into this race this week, we’re still learning about the car and we probably will for the first four races at least. We’ve got a lot of problems — you’ve seen everyone’s bouncing up and down. I was worried that I’m 37 and I’m racing against George Russell, who is 24, but he had problems with his back so it’s not just an age thing… These engineers love a challenge so it’s good.
Do you have a message for your fans?
I love you guys, thanks for your time, thank you for all your energy, I just wish you all an amazing year, I sending lots of positivity and keep your fingers crossed.