On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix, Men’s Health’s style editor Jeff Lack sat down with three-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton at HUGO BOSS' Crown store in Melbourne to discuss the finer points of motor racing, motivation, fashion and fitness
JL: So we want to know a little bit about you Lewis? I got the pleasure of working with you yesterday . . .
LH: Are you the one who posted one of the sneak peaks?
JL: Who would have done that? Um . . . guess I'm not the style editor of Men's Health anymore!
LH: Yeah so yesterday we did the shoot. I got here on Monday night. It's a long arse trip out here that's for sure. We have a medical team and a fitness team and they give you a sleeping regime. So it’s a sleeping plan to get out here with reduced jet lag. I slept the first flight and I had to stay up the whole second flight. I’ve personally never stayed up for 13 hours on a flight. It's usually impossible for me, until this one. So I bought a Nintendo, the new Nintendo Switch. And I played Zelda for eight hours straight! I don't even like the game, but it was the only game they had so I was playing that for ages!
JL: This is part of your new training regime!
LH: Yeah! Ever since I've been here I've had no jet lag, which is great. So it worked. And then I got here, we had Tuesday, which was generally a chilled day. We did some training, running along the riverbank. And then the same yesterday, some training and then we did the photo shoot.
JL: And then he ran home! He didn't want to take a cab, he didn't want to take a car.
LH: Well man, it's all about weight. When you come to the first race, the car is always heavy. Particularly with the new regulations the car is beefed up because they want it to be reliable. So everything is heavy. Wishbones, all these different things and then through the year they basically do a weight loss plan for the car. So there is a target weight for me and the car and they want me to be a certain weight. I have to be 68 kilos, for example, although it’s helpful if I can be 67 this weekend because the car is always heavy on the first race. If the car is one kilo over weight through a race it's worth like 0.03. It varies according to different tracks but 0.03 of a second generally, so over a race it's two seconds that you lose. Two seconds at 200 miles an hour is like 18m or 100m or something like that. So you don't want to lose that time. Sorry, I'm not giving you a chance to ask any questions!
JL: I can just sit here, close by, this is good. We're gonna talk about a couple of things. You're a stylish cat, let's be real. This is legit. Did you have any style icons growing up? Is it something you've been into from a young age?
LH: For me Pharrell has always been the kind of leader. Someone I've always looked at in terms of, I loved his style. When I was younger I was always heavily led by hip-hop and R&B so naturally at the time it was Diddy and those cats. So it was all baggy stuff, and it wasn't till later that I realised that that was not fashion.
JL: Closely after?
LH: Yeah yeah, so I kind of had to switch routes. I go to a lot of fashion shows. I love fashion. I love meeting creative people and I like understanding. When you come through a store like this I try to imagine what they were thinking? What was their thought process when they decided to design whatever it is that we’re wearing. And I love being able to find pieces that make you feel that when you walk out the door you’re like, ‘Yeah I look fly’.
JL: A million bucks!
LH: Yeah, I'm sure it's the same for everyone. You all want to look good, right?
JL: So what's standing out for you in the Hugo Boss collection right now?
LH: Ahh Hugo Boss suits. Hugo Boss is always on point with their tailoring. I have so many Boss suits it’s insane. I've been working with Hugo Boss now since 2006. So it’s a long family relationship.
JL: What about the competition? Let's talk about who your style competition on the grid is?
LH: Honestly I don't think there's anyone! I saw Max trying. He had a D-Squared jumper on and I was like, ‘Oh he's going for it, he's trying!’ But I don't think there's ever been a true style icon in Formula 1.
JL: There is now!
LH: I try and look at things that no one has done before. I want to be the first at everything.
JL: Yeah a big part of your personal style is the art on your body and you'll be able to see a lot more of this in the June issue of Men's Health, just saying, only a little bit more . . .
Crowd: Did you ask him to take it off?
JL: Let's see your favourite tattoo right now? Do you have a favourite? You've got a bunch of them now?
LH: Yeah I have a lot of tattoos. People have asked me how many tattoos I have. I had my whole back done. I obviously have the ones around my neck. My new favourite is the one I just got here on the side. And the words "powerful beyond measure" which is my favourite quote from Marianne Williamson. I don't know if anyone’s read that quote but if you haven’t, go and read it. It's just a very, very powerful message, just basically saying we should all shine as bright as we can and liberate others to do the same, which I think is super dope.
Crowd: WORLD CHAMP
LH: Yeah. And I'm just adding to it and then if I get that fourth Championship then maybe I get another tattoo?
JL: Seems like a fair exchange. It brings me back around to how you stay motivated? You've been doing this for sometime, you've been very successful. What drives you and how do you stay so motivated?
LH: Lots of different things. Each year you get to Christmas when you’re with family and you think about where you’re going to find the motivation for the next year. Knowing that the car is fast and knowing that you have to be fitter. You could easily decide to stop at some point. But I love driving. I love being competitive. I love having to constantly go out there and try and better myself and I feel very, very blessed and privileged that I have the ability to drive the car the way I'm able to drive it. Until the day comes when I get into the car and I don't love it then I'll keep going. But there are only 20 seats. So there are drivers in the past who have hogged a seat just because it's a pay cheque and if there's ever a moment that I'm showing up because I'm getting paid, I really feel that’s the time to stop. But right now I do it because I know it's good.
JL: The passion is there.
LH: I do it because I love it and in my heart I believe I can do it. Then there are my fans . . .
LH: You know Team LH, you know? Growing up in Stevenage I wanted to be a racing driver, but I had no comprehension of what came with being an Formula 1 driver, hadn't thought about the cars, the planes, the flights.
JL: The good-looking Australian women?
LH: Exactly! And all those different things. I hadn't even thought about it. If you asked any kid who’s racing, you just think about the driving. And umm, I completely lost where I'm going . . .
JL: All the things that come with the work . . .
LH: I completely lost where I was going. I don't know what happened?
JL: Sorry I mentioned Australian women . . .
LH: Exactly. That threw me right off! I never thought I'd have all this support and it has grown year upon year and I appreciate it so much. I always say, 'we win and we lose together' because I know the pain I feel when we don't win. My fans feel exactly the same pain. And when we win we share that same vibe. I see them travelling around the world. I appreciate it so much. That’s really what's motivating me. It's in the back of my head when I'm training, when I want to give up. Because we all do that when we go to the gym, you think, ‘stuff that 10th rep’ and then I think to myself, firstly, that 4th title and I know how everyone else wants that too so that's what I'm working towards.
JL: So a lot of people here probably get starstruck by you. Do you ever find yourself getting starstruck? You’re hanging out with all kinds of cool cats.
LH: I don't know why I've never been starstruck.
JL: What about Mr Mandela. You had the privilege of meeting him?
LH: Yeah I didn't feel starstruck with Nelson, with Madiba. I just felt like I was walking into the room of a king. He literally sat there and he looked liked the king. He had this silk shirt on, his arms on the chair just smiling as he did and I walked in and I was like ‘this is not real,’ you know? The queen was you know, just cool, the coolest grandma in the world. I think when I was younger I was a big fan of Will Smith. And I was at Nelson Mandela's birthday party in London and I was sat next to Oprah Winfrey. Everyone was there and the only person I wanted to meet was Will Smith. And I was rushing when everyone stood up to get to Will and I realised I stepped on someone's foot as I was squeezing past the crowd. I looked back and it's Bill Clinton. I'm lucky the security didn't take me away!
JL: He deserved it!
LH: So yeah maybe Will. Prince also, for sure. Growing up with his music, I couldn't believe I was standing with this guy. Well he was a small dude, but such a lovely guy. Such a shame we lost him.
JL: Well, that brings us to the end of our chat. Thanks for sharing your time with us tonight.
LH: My pleasure.
The Mercedes-Benz collection by BOSS is available at BOSS Crown, BOSS Collins Street Melbourne, BOSS King Street Sydney and BOSS Westfield Sydney.