Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children (SHORT VERSION)
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says people are often “flabbergasted” at the level of intelligence seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton shows, adding there is “no chance” a driver could live their life partying and still become a successful Formula One driver in its current form.
F1 has moved on dramatically from the boozy, partying lifestyle from the past, with James Hunt summing up the time period perfectly with the motto: “Sex, breakfast of champions” sewn on his racing overalls in the 70s.
Drivers nowadays have strict diets, training and PR schedules to watch out for, but not just that, Wolff believes there now needs to be an added bonus of intelligence too.
At the age of 36, Hamilton sticks to a plant-based diet, often posts videos of his workouts on social media, which includes intense gym work and daily runs wherever he is around the world, often alongside his physio Angela Cullen.
But Wolff believes there’s another key quality about Hamilton that has helped him pick up seven-world championships and break multiple records in his time in the sport.
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“When you speak to Lewis or Max [Verstappen] or when you speak to Sebastian Vettel, you would be surprised how switched on they are,” said Wolff speaking to the Daily Mail. “Not Oxford University degrees but just smart.
“There is no chance to live the James Hunt life anymore. People are flabbergasted by how intelligent Lewis is sometimes.
“You couldn’t be a Formula One driver now and be unintelligent. There are many examples where great talent failed because it lacked intelligence. Some that didn’t even make it into Formula One.
“In my junior racing career, there were one or two that definitely had the skill but didn’t comprehend the all-round environment.
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“One works in go-karts now as a mechanic. He still loves his job, but I think he should have been Austria’s greatest driver. There was an unbelievable guy who used to beat Lewis but got into drugs.
“Today, to make it as a Formula One driver you can’t leave any blanks. It is not just about driving fast.
“You’ve got to be a little bit of a daredevil, but courage isn’t all. You need to be so much more complete, as driver, athlete, and personality.
“You need to be intelligent to engage in all the discussions, you need to be socially intelligent to play the paddock, the opinion-makers, the decision-makers, to play that to your advantage.”
Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by 12 points in his quest to become a record-breaking eight-time world champion.
Formula One heads to Mexico City this weekend, with just five races remaining of the 2021 season. Qualifying gets underway at 8pm BST on Saturday evening with the race at 7pm on Sunday.
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