lewis hamilton

(Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport)


Racing Superstar Lewis Hamilton on Motivation and Why the British Grand Prix is Electric

2018 was a superb year for Lewis Hamilton. The 33-year-old British racing driver earned his fifth FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in October. Then — just two weeks later — his team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, was named FIA World Constructors’ Champions following his 10th win of the season in Brazil.

If there was any doubt before, it’s now crystal clear: He is the supreme motor-racing driver of his era.

It’s been a long ride for Lewis. Having grown up in Stevenage, England, he famously accosted McLaren F1 team boss Ron Dennis in 1995, telling him, “I want to be racing your cars.”

His father, Anthony, dedicated himself to Lewis’ success during his upbringing, working three jobs while still ensuring he made it to Lewis’ races. The sacrifices have paid off, and how! Lewis won his first world championship with McLaren in 2008, adding four more since he joined his current team following the 2012 season.

He also has a variety of interests away from the track, particularly fashion: He recently released his own clothing line, produced in collaboration with American designer Tommy Hilfiger.

lewis hamilton
(Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport)

We sat down with Hamilton after he met with Marriott Bonvoy Members at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport base in Brackley, England, just two days after the Brazil victory.

Marriott is an official Team Partner of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, which means Bonvoy Members have the chance to enjoy unparalleled access and experience the glamour and sophistication of world-class motorsport throughout the season.

For those lucky 10 Bonvoy Members, it was the experience of a lifetime; for Hamilton, it was a welcome opportunity to engage with F1 lovers.

“It’s always amazing to meet fans,” Hamilton says. “They are what really make the sport what it is. I never in a million years thought that I’d ever have a fan — so to see that people around the world have been able to relate or have enjoyed watching what I’ve done over these years, it’s amazing.”

[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.]

Are you enjoying the aftermath of your fifth world title?

For me, it’s really about trying to make sure that you enjoy the moment because it comes and goes real quick.

I’ve been here [with Mercedes] six years, so before you know it, it’ll be my seventh year, my eighth year … This is my thing: It’s already my 11th year in Formula One, so it’s crazy how fast it goes! I’m trying not to wish the time to go by.

2018 was a thrilling season, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel pushing you hard all the way. Did you always believe you would come out on top?

I always believed that if we put the work in, we could do it. I knew that I was working hard towards my goal, I knew that everyone I was working with was working incredibly hard towards the goal, and we had a car that we could do something with.

But it took hard work, real great communication and pulling together in order to come out ahead of another team who really had their stuff together this year.

lewis hamilton
(Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport)

How do you stay so motivated?

I think it’s in my DNA; I’m just super-competitive. I can find motivation in so many different things: It could be my younger brother, who constantly goes out and pushes the limits and does the unimaginable with the disability, cerebral palsy, that he has. It could be a kid that I meet, who’s also gone through some things. Inspiration is definitely something that you can feed off.

But it’s really just about looking inside myself and seeing how I can be better, where can I be better, what can I do better next year, how can I raise the bar and not go backwards.

During the Formula One season, you travel all over the world. How do you plan for that?

I don’t have a routine in anything I do. I like it when everything is different. I like to try and make it enjoyable: OK, I’m going to this country. So I start getting to figuring out what to do, just trying to do things a little bit different each time. I naturally have music with me; music is something that helps you pass the time — a good book, too.

lewis hamilton
(Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport)

So you just try and stay as relaxed as possible?

Yeah, and I like to sleep a lot; I rest as much as I can on flights. It’s important to make sure that you’re breathing properly. You’ve also got to make sure you’ve got the right hotel. Good food, good nutrition, all those different things are super important.

Is there anywhere you particularly like visiting on the Formula One circuit?

Australia is cool: It’s a long, long trip. Before I go I usually have a family get-together because I’m not gonna see a bunch of them for at least a good few months. So that’s kind of the one that they ship you off and you go off to try and conquer the world, basically.

Places I really like? I love being in Bahrain and in Abu Dhabi: The Middle East is really beautiful. The weather is amazing every day, the hospitality there is really second to none. I would say that’s probably the top place that I get to visit.

And which fans do you most look forward to driving in front of?

I’m biased, but the Silverstone Grand Prix wins hands down for me, but that’s because it’s the British Grand Prix — but even the other drivers would tell you they don’t see that electricity anywhere else. There are other places where it’s great, like Brazil, but it’s not the same as the British Grand Prix: That is the most electrifying weekend of the year!

Marriott Bonvoy members can redeem points for amazing experiences to get close and personal with the team this season, including Hot Laps, race hospitality, driver meet & greets and more. Click here for more information.

The Ritz-Carlton, part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio of extraordinary hotel brands, is the Official Hotel Partner of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. With modern luxury at its heart, the Ritz-Carlton currently operates more than 95 hotels and over 45 residential properties in more than 30 countries and territories around the world, creating indelible memories for all guests.