Ever wanted to know your favourite Formula One driver better? Ever wanted a glimpse inside their lives outside the cockpit and see what really makes them tick – away from the race track? You can with the help of our series, The Secret Life. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is our latest target, as he reveals a fondness for eating sweets over a race weekend, a flair for Tex-Mex cuisine and a fear of our eight-legged friends…
Q: Are you the kind of guy to have a ‘Plan-B’?
Lewis Hamilton: Well, do I have a ‘Plan-B’? Generally in my private life I’d say that I have a ‘Plan-B’ because then either way you are happy. In a way it’s like you plan to do one thing, but you know that if we don’t do it let’s try to be positive and do something else. And have as much fun!
Q: What is your favourite high?
LH: Spending time with my girlfriend.
Q: Who is your dream date?
LH: When you think in terms of a female person, as the question suggests, I’d say my girlfriend! In terms of sitting down with someone to pick their brain I would say Muhammad Ali. I would like to sit down with him and talk about his life and his experiences, and hear him talk the way he does.
Q: Which film makes you cry?
LH: Oh, there are many films that make you feel involved. At least I get involved, as I love movies and sometimes get really into them. Maybe a film like ‘Man on Fire’ with Denzel Washington. I didn’t literally cry, but I was emotionally very much involved.
Q: What are you afraid of?
LH: I’m not afraid of anything except spiders and snakes. I know that it’s a silly fear, but I simply don’t like them. The first one has too many legs and the second one is too sleek for my taste.
Q: What was the last book you read?
LH: Well,well, the last book I read… The last book I read was ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini. It’s about life in Afghanistan. I’m not the kind of guy who surfs the bestseller lists for books. This one a friend gave to me. Personally I prefer to read more factual books, probably to learn something about an animal for example. It is great to have knowledge. The more knowledge, the more power!
Q: Name five things that you hate?
LH: Onions. I was just thinking the other day about something I really dislike, but I’ve forgotten. Wasting time, traffic, I dislike when everybody is in a rush but not me, when people are aggressive, and I hate dishonest people.
Q: Have you ever dyed your hair?
LH: I’ve never done it and I don’t plan to.
Q: What was the first CD that you’ve bought?
LH: It was Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.
Q: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
LH: Not yet. But who knows…
Q: What did your teachers say about you in your school report?
LH: My teachers wrote that I talked too much. That I was a lovely lad, but I didn’t pay enough attention. My mind was always on racing.
Q: Who were your childhood heroes?
LH: I didn’t really have childhood heroes as such. Sure as soon as I saw Ayrton Senna racing he was kind of a…well, not a hero, because I don’t want to look at people as heroes, the same as I don’t like it if people look at me as a hero… an inspiration. But so were Linford Christie and Muhammad Ali. There have been quite a number of people who have been inspirational, but no heroes. If I was asked for a hero then it would be my dad, because he has done more (for me) than anyone.
Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
LH: No, I don’t feel guilty for any of my pleasures. I know what you mean but I don’t feel guilty for it. I love sweets but I don’t feel guilty. I eat sweets throughout a race weekend.
Q: Do you collect anything?
LH: I don’t really. But then I’m kind of collecting watches. To really collect them you have to buy them, but I haven’t purchased them. How big is the collection? It’s a good size for me!
Q: What do you miss most from home when you’re travelling?
LH: Food, homemade food. But in terms of not being at home, it’s just my bed.
Q: What was your worst buy?
LH: I’ve never had any worst buys. I always put so much thought into everything I buy. I never buy anything at the click of my fingers, and it takes a lot for me to convince myself to buy. Then when I buy it, it is because I really wanted it.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
LH: With milk and sugar.
Q: Your ideal non-race Sunday morning?
LH: Lying in bed with my girlfriend watching movies.
Q: What was your first car?
LH: My go-kart when I was eight.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing mistake you’ve ever made?
LH: I don’t know, there are so many, but I’ll tell you one. I walked into a lamp post, in front of cameras. I was trying to hide from photographers and tried to look where I was going, and then…bang! It was in the papers.
Q: What is the best thing that you can cook?
LH: Chicken fajitas and chicken rice.
Q: When was the last time you were really angry?
LH: When I was billed for something stupid, just because people think that you have money so they bill you – it’s ten Euro, but we’ll make him pay 100 Euro. I don’t like people to take advantage. You do an honest job and pay for honest work. It was just a couple of weeks ago and I was so angry. A short time ago, I did an interview with someone and that person assumed that say Monaco – the glitz and glamour, the hotels, cars and all that stuff – was something my family had. The fact is I come from a very small place, and after being very poor, I know the value of money. So when people are dishonest and try to rip you off, it really, really frustrates me, as I would never try to do it to them.