Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children
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The racing star is set to take to the track today after admitting he was surprised to qualify second at the Mexico City Grand Prix. Although beaten to pole position by team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton qualified one place ahead of Red Bull title rival Max Verstappen, who he trails by 12 points. Verstappen has since dismissed any suggestion he will crumble under the pressure of competing with Hamilton for his first F1 world championship.
Hamilton is attempting to take his eighth F1 title at 36, having scored his first in 2008.
But, for the first time, Verstappen, 24, is at the sharp end of an F1 championship.
Pressure, speculation, jibes and crumbling nerves are all part of the F1 journey.
These things all happen on the track as much as they do off it.
Last year, F1 star Kimi Raikkonen mocked Hamilton in a social media post, hitting out at the racer’s fashion sense.
Raikkonen created a meme that showed Hamilton side-by-side with a shirtless James Hunt, who won the 1976 championship, smoking and drinking.
Hamilton is dressed head-to-toe in a chequered outfit: a bucket hat, a short sleeve shirt opened at the collar and shorts, accompanied by pink socks and white high top trainers.
The caption of the photograph reads: “Evolution of a Formula 1 driver.”
He went on to compare his own rock-and-roll style by posting a photo of himself looking slightly inebriated with a cigarette in hand.
He wrote: “Not all hope is lost yet!”
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Last year, Hamilton was snapped several times riding a scooter around, often partnered with flamboyant outfits.
Raikkonen, 42, has become known for enjoying the wilder side of F1, appearing to hold Hunt as an example of how drivers should behave.
In 2007, he even entered a snowball race under the name of Hunt.
He also wore a helmet at the 2012 Monaco race designed to resemble the one worn by Hunt during his memorable 1976 season.
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Hamilton lives a clean and healthy life both on and off the track.
A committed vegan, he doesn’t drink alcohol.
He is so keen on the diet and its benefits that he invested in vegan restaurant chain, Neat Burger.
The Daily Mail compared and contrasted the differing lifestyles of Hamilton and Hunt.
Noting their pre-race rituals, Hunt often threw up, “sparked by nerves and on occasion the result of a drink and drugs binge,” while Hamilton, “Listens to music before he drives and researches his way away from the track”.
On women, in 2018, Hamilton said his love life was “non-existent” because he had no time for it.
Hunt famously claimed he had slept with 5,000 women in his lifetime, including 33 British Airways air stewardesses.
A keen fashionista, Hamilton in 2020 partnered with Tommy Hilfiger to launch a fashion collection that was entirely vegan.
Hunt, meanwhile, once refused to sign a clause in his McClaren contract for the 1976 season that stipulated he wear a suit and tie to functions.
The Mexican GP starts today at 7pm GMT.
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