He is regarded by some as the greatest racing driver of all time. But Lewis Hamilton covets a more profound legacy: to leave behind a sport whose culture is fundamentally different to the one he first encountered 14 years ago. Interview by NICK SCOTT.

Lewis Hamilton’s fix-it list, on the evening The Rake catches up with him at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team H.Q. in Austria, is longer than usual. A few days before our conversation, a rare off day saw the six-time Formula One world champion, competing in the Austrian Grand Prix, penalised five seconds for a collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon and having to settle for fourth place. “I just can’t wait to get back into a car tomorrow — I just want to get going,” Hamilton says, frustration seeping through the thousand-megawatt smile he wears even when expressing exasperation to people he’s only just met. “Last weekend wasn’t good, in terms of the result. Luckily, usually the time between races can be this whole long period of that uncomfortable feeling about your performance, and you just want to correct things, but the great thing is these races are back-to-back, so… [When you under-perform] you’re keen to rectify things because everything just happens so fast, and you can’t go back and change anything — all you can do is make sure you’re better prepared for what’s ahead.”


August 2020


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