Sir David Frost meets one of the most famous names in sport: Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton to talk about Hamilton’s career, home life, growing up and the break-up of his parents’ marriage.
He talks about his love of speed, his entry into racing and F1 – and of course, becoming world champion and the impact that has had on his life.
Sir David is invited to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix – and a place in Hamilton’s garage as he bids for a win in front of his home fans.
Lewis talks frankly about his early life and his parents’ marriage: “When I got growing up it was not that easy, and still today, actually to split yourself between two families, it’s never been that easy.”
He explains how special his step mother Linda is – but that his real mother Carmen is and “will always be that special woman in my life.”
Of his dad Anthony, who has encouraged him all his life to pursue his racing driver dream, he has nothing but praise. “I wouldn’t be here without my dad, you know. He’s been the driving force in my whole career.” He says his dad even encouraged him to “never give up” when he went in the boxing ring and fought a boy twice his size.
Trying to control your nerves is such a challenge … even today I still have nerves. If I don't have those nerves it means I'm not prepared.
Hamilton admits to even having nerves when he is racing today. “Trying to control your nerves is such a challenge … even today I still have nerves. If I don’t have those nerves it means I’m not prepared.”
Looking back at the extraordinary drive in Brazil, where only a daredevil overtake on the last lap got him the extra point he needed to become world champion, Hamilton says: “I was just very, very lucky. It was like I think I overtook him with 17 seconds to go so I was very, very lucky. Very fortunate.”
It was this race that changed Hamilton’s life. He was about to become one of the world’s most famous people. “My life just completely just turned. My world turned upside down. People were all of a sudden interested in me.” He says he even had to change his signature, to make it shorter and quicker to write. “I just have Lewis now. As where before I had L Hamilton.”
Hamilton is very honest and open about the dangers of F1, saying that danger is part of what is the sport is all about. “It definitely is dangerous and I’m glad that it still has that danger factor to it because that’s what makes it so exciting. That’s what separates us from, you know, any other sport.”
Hamilton also explains how difficult the decision was to move from MacLaren, where he had been nurtured over many years, to Mercedes AMG Petronas.
“I’ve been a part of that family for such a long period of time. Since I was 13. And to think about leaving there it’s like leaving home, so it’s not easy to leave home. Home cooking and people that you know. People you’re comfortable with. So making that choice was pretty tough.”
Hamilton says it has made a big difference to him: “I can honestly say I feel just so invigorated. So. It’s so refreshing to be somewhere new.”
Sir David lives through the tyres fiasco that dominated Hamilton’s weekend at Silverstone, and sees for himself the victory celebrations in Nico Rosberg’s garage, next-door to the more muted post-race discussions in Hamilton’s own garage.
Hamilton also speaks about the time when he had to tell his dad he no longer wanted him to be his manager. He believes it has helped their father-son relationship. “I think it was just I wanted to go back to the time where we just father and son go karting you know. Having fun. Enjoying, enjoying ourselves … we’re now starting to have that father-son relationship where, you know, we go bowling together. We go on holiday together and we have more to talk about and none of it’s business.”
Hamilton continues to look for a second world championship. He tells Sir David he will keep working towards it. “I hope there’s a world championship somewhere ahead. That’s what I’m working for every year. That’s what, that’s why I keep that discipline. That’s why I train so much over the winter. That’s why I wake up every day and train. That’s why I put so much effort into travelling and that’s why you sacrifice so many small things, certain things in your life, and so you know I hope at some stage I get that second world championship’.
Lewis tells Sir David how he is looking to improve in himself. ” I think I just think there’s still plenty for me to learn. I’m glad there is still plenty for me to learn but there is still better ways that I can communicate with people. There are still better ways that I can manage relationships. There are still better ways that I can behave.”
The programme offers an extraordinary insight into the life of one of the world’s best known sportsmen, who speaks honestly and freely with Sir David about family, personal and motor racing.
The Frost Interview can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2000; Saturday: 1200; Sunday: 0100; Monday: 0600.
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