As one of the most popular and successful Formula 1 race car drivers of all time, Lewis Hamilton is never far from the public eye. However, outside all the razzmatazz that is the media, there are some interesting, and perhaps, quirky sides to Hamilton that not too many people know. Here are ten facts about the F1 superstar that might surprise you:
- Lewis Hamilton Was A Child Star
Hamilton did not just rise to stardom as an adult; in fact, he was once a child star in the racing world working with a remote control car at the tender age of five. He appeared on Blue Peter where he defeated the British national champion marking his rise towards stardom.
Clearly, Hamilton always had a knack and skill for driving way before he could legally drive and, it is fair to say, racing in the Formula One world championships was his destiny.
- Lewis Hamilton Once Competed In A Pizza-Eating Contest
F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton doesn’t just love to race with F1 cars, he is also open to other competitions including those that do not involve cars. In fact, he once raced Nico Rosberg, a fellow F1 star, in a pizza-eating contest. This is more than enough proof that Hamilton is not just a famous athlete; he also loves pizza as much as we do.
Hamilton and Rosberg have been friends for years and like every friendship, there is no doubt some healthy competition that has built up between them. The years of sharing rooms, travelling together and track racing alongside each other have no doubt had them looking for new ways to prove their strengths. Therefore in 2000, they competed in a pizza-eating contest to determine who loved pizza the most. Hamilton won.
- Lewis Hamilton Has Gotten A Few Speeding Tickets
It’s no news that Lewis Hamilton loves to go fast, but did you know his speeding has gotten him into trouble in the past? In December 2007, in France, and in 2010 just before the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was ticketed for going over the national speed limits.
Perhaps it is no surprise that driving some of the finest cars in the world has led to the temptation to hit the gas pedal a little bit harder sometimes though. And he sure has enough money to settle his speeding tickets!
- He Plays The Piano Well
You might be wondering what Lewis Hamilton gets up to in his spare time but did you know that away from racing, Lewis Hamilton actually plays the piano and plays it well. Away from the stress of his intense racing career, Hamilton likes to use his time off to play and write music.
A fast learner, videos of him playing Queen Hits have surfaced on the internet. He has also performed alongside famous industry stars including Rita Ora… which certainly goes to show that he has a talent for it.
- He Is Also A Movie Star
Not everyone knows this, but Lewis Hamilton also had a career in Hollywood. He played a character in the Disney Pixar movie Cars 2, voicing the British representative in the World Grand Prix. Looking to have a legitimate racing driver in the movie and to the excitement of F1 fans, Pixar employed the services of Lewis Hamilton alongside Michael Caine and Owen Wilson.
Aside from providing the voiceover for the animation, Hamilton also helped with designing his car for the movie, getting it to look exactly as he imagined it.
- His Brother Is Also A Racer
When we hear the Hamilton name, we instantly think of Lewis. Surprisingly however, Lewis is not the only racer in his family, as his half brother Nicolas also competes. Nicolas suffers from cerebral palsy and was very good at virtual racing. Lewis helped him start racing for real with some training and tips that allowed Nicolas to follow in his footsteps.
Today, Nicolas competes in the British Touring Car Championship where he uses a specially modified car which allows him to compete with no disadvantage.
- Hamilton Is The First Black F1 Driver
Lewis Hamilton goes down in F1 history as the first black Formula 1 driver; a responsibility he takes seriously. Understanding the importance of breaking down barriers and achieving goals, Hamilton has inspired racers of all ages and backgrounds through his achievements. He has pushed for diversity in Formula One racing, paving the way for F1 to become a more inclusive sport. In 2008, by signing with McLaren Mercedes, Hamilton became the highest-paid British sportsman.
Hamilton doesn’t just play his part as a role model through racing; he is also a UNICEF ambassador and contributes greatly to improving the lives of children throughout the world.
- He Was Awarded The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire
In 2009, Hamilton was admitted into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) by none other than Queen Elizabeth II herself. This order of chivalry has multiple levels with the MBE being the introductory level.
These honours are bestowed on British nationals and Commonwealth citizens who have significantly represented the United Kingdom.
- His Favourite Restaurant
Like everyone else, Hamilton has a favourite restaurant which he frequents more than others. The UK restaurant, Shanghai Blues, serves Oriental food with a real feel of China.
The restaurant also has live bands that entertain guests on the weekends. It is no surprise that Hamilton keeps going back for more.
- He Is Very Religious
Despite his cocky, bad-boy racer image, Hamilton is actually very religious at his core. Hamilton was brought up in a Catholic household which is why he wears a cross around his neck during his races. In 2007, in an interview with MailOnline, he stated that he believed his talent is God-given and that he is blessed.
So there you have it – a few facts about Lewis Hamilton that not many people are aware of when they’re watching him speed around a circuit. Reading these facts certainly helps you to realise that celebrities are more than just their public personas and gives you an insight into the real man.