LONDON – World Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is pondering a momentous year, one in which he has not only become the most successful racing driver in history.
It’s something he did in the midst of a global pandemic that has turned everyone’s life upside down – including his.
More used to jetting around the world, this year Hamilton has “lived like a hermit,” as his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff describes it, in between races that so far have been almost exclusively in Europe.
This change, Hamilton says, has been been a mixed blessing.
“Finally being in one place for a week after a race,” he says. “I’ve just not really ever had that, and it’s been good in many ways. But, you know, pretty challenging also.
“There’s been times, just to keep your head above water, it’s definitely been a challenge. But I know it’s the same for so many people around the world.
“I’ve had lots of different things to focus on. I’ve managed to find myself very comfortable on my own. I’ve managed to find peace and being centred and just being happy.
‘’And I’ve been able to focus on weaknesses in training.”
Hamilton’s has been a virtually solitary life away from races specifically because of the risks of coronavirus.
Realising catching it could derail his title challenge, he has pretty much removed himself from society and says he has “sacrificed more than I have in my whole life”.
“I’ve never really been home [before],” he says. “In my winter, I go to the mountains [in Colorado], which I really see as my main home, because it’s a house and it’s full of love and memories from people, the family that come every winter.
“Where I live in Monaco, it’s been somewhere I go back to and I’d call home but it lacks those memories. I’d be there for short periods of time. So it’s not been the easiest.”
The “bubble” he has created to keep himself safe has fundamentally included only one other person – Angela Cullen, a New Zealander who is Hamilton’s physio.
Cullen keeps out of the limelight, but is often seen by Hamilton’s side at races, and has her own room in the motorhome Hamilton has been living in at the European grands prix.- BBC Sport