SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Four times world champion Lewis Hamilton says Formula One is not worth dying for but he feels ‘God has his hand over me’ when risking all on the racetrack.
In a podcast interview published by Formula One on Wednesday, the Mercedes driver discussed the strength of his faith — along with a wide selection of topics ranging from his hatred of school and his dyslexia to the frozen sperm and $700-a-day modelling career of his pet bulldog Roscoe.
Formula One, said the 33-year-old who will be favourite for a fifth British Grand Prix win in a row this weekend, had given him a life and a purpose but had also ‘broken’ him.
“It’s broken me and built me, broken me and built me,” explained Hamilton.
“When you go through it, you put so much into it, it breaks your heart and kills you when you fail, when you stumble, when everyone’s watching when you stumble,” he said.
“But when you get back up and when you succeed it lifts you up. You fall and you break a bone, you heal and you keep going. That’s what I mean by it.”
Hamilton, who is Roman Catholic and has a cross tattooed on his back as well as ‘family’ and ‘faith’ on his shoulders and a sacred heart on his right bicep, has always been open about finding strength in religion.
“I go with a couple of my close friends, we meet, we go for breakfast and then we go to church together. We leave most often feeling enlightened and empowered. It’s like a re-centring,” he said.
“Sometimes you leave, and you are like ‘I didn’t get that today’, but most of the time you leave and you are like ‘Wow, I know where I am going’.”
The most successful British F1 racer, who came from an under-privileged background as the grandson of Caribbean immigrants to debut with McLaren in 2007, said he still loved racing but not at any cost.
“I wouldn’t say F1 is worth dying for,” he said. “Your dream, passion, ambition and goals can be worth dying for.”
Hamilton said he was well aware of the dangers of his profession.
“Anything can happen any day, but I feel God has his hand over me,” he said.
“Nothing is a given and there’s nothing that’s written that says I am going to live until 100 years old, or that I will live to see my next birthday. I’m just going to make sure I get everything in between now and the next day.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Hugh Lawson