After claiming his fourth world title and realising a boyhood dream to emulate his Formula One hero Ayrton Senna all in one season, Lewis Hamilton tells Claire Bloomfield what it takes to be a champion, and how he would like to be remembered when he finally decides to walk away from the sport.
“First of all, you’ve got to have a killer instinct to be a world Champion. I have met lots of drivers who were talented but they didn’t have that edge. You also need mental strength and mental stability to be consistent in your performances.
“I think that is something you can improve on but you’ve got to have a good foundation to start from. Then, you need the talent to work with. I think we’re all born with greatness in us.
“It’s also about being fortunate to find out what you like and what you’re good at and having good people around you to push you through.
“I get to work with different people every year on the training side. I also try to mingle with athletes from different sports and then try and take on board some of the techniques they use in their training.
“I’ve never struggled with motivation before a race. All you ever have to ask yourself is, ‘how much do you want to win this championship?’ When you have a goal, then you’re willing to give everything to achieve it.
“I get to work with different people every year on the training side. I also try to mingle with athletes from different sports and then try and take on board some of the techniques they use in their training.”
“Since I was a kid, my dad has always emphasized the idea of doing all of the talking on the track – and that is literally what I always do. Outside of this, I just try to keep myself to myself and work as hard as I can and be respectful to everyone that I work with.
“I’ve got a good working relationship with Valtteri Bottas but the only time we have a lot of interaction is during our debriefs. Aside from that, he is very focused on his task and I’m very focused on mine.
“I like to think that I’m a very easy teammate to have in a working sense – but in terms of the competitive side, I’m obviously a very difficult teammate.
“I remember the day that Ayrton Senna died. It’s really weird, it’s like a movie in my mind and I am looking at myself. It’s crazy to think that now I’ve equaled his record and in doing that, it has just reminded me how amazing he was because it’s taken me a long time to get to where I am now. Ayrton was a loved icon both in Brazil and around the world and I am in awe of that.
“I’m loving and enjoying racing more than I ever have before. I always want to be remembered for someone who has a good heart, represented his country in F1 in the best way he could and lifted the flag for Great Britain as high as it could possibly fly. I hope to make this country proud.”