Lewis Hamilton is a brave man. He’s an F1 driver after all, so taking Eau Rouge flat and brushing barriers at 150mph are just part and parcel of the day job for him.
Surprisingly, though, even a man of his stature can look up to the bravery of others.
“When I see Niki [Lauda], I just think he is such a legend,” says Hamilton. “He comes from a time when people were still dying every year. The safety today is great, but I hope danger is always gonna be there, because otherwise anyone can do it. It’s what separates the men from the boys.”
Hamilton’s love of danger means he has immense respect for MotoGP riders. A biker himself, he admits that: “even riding on the highway can be scary. But the speeds they do are crazy”.
When asked if he could ever see himself racing in MotoGP, Hamilton explains that it’s probably the only sport that could top F1 for thrill factor. “Once you’ve driven an F1 car, every other car is a step down,” he says.
Even so, Hamilton says he would trade speed for character. He concedes the sound of today’s F1 cars isn’t particularly exciting, and remembers his first experience of F1 back when he was 11 years old almost purely because of the noise. “I remember [Michael] Schumacher going past with the V10s; the noise vibrated through your stomach.