Lewis Hamilton might be the best Formula 1 driver ever, but if he had his way as a child he might have chosen a different path.
Motorsport was always going to be the goal for the Briton in his younger days, but only an intervention from his father saw him chase that dream on four wheels rather than just two
Hamilton’s haul of seven F1 world titles can be matched only by the legendary Michael Schumacher, while he also holds the records for the most race wins, podiums and pole positions.
But had his father not intervened, then it might have been MotoGP records that had fallen to the racer from Stevenage.
He admitted as much at a recent event where he was speaking alongside motorbike racing legend Valentino Rossi. The duo,
who boast 14 premier class world titles between them, were invited to speak by their sponsor, Swiss watchmaker IWC.
Asked about a test in Valencia where both motorsport stars swapped machines and took them out for a spin, Hamilton revealed that his goal as a child was to race motorcycles.
So getting the chance to ride Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike was a real treat for the Briton. “I’ve always loved bikes – when I was younger I actually really wanted to ride bikes,
more than cars actually,” he said. “My dad didn’t want me to ride bikes though, he said they were too dangerous. So he got me four wheels instead of two.
“I think it was the right choice, because if I was racing at the same time as Vale was there, I probably wouldn’t have been as successful.
But then, since I’ve been in Formula 1, I have a Superbike and at the end of the year I like to go out and do some track days.
“It’s fascinating – it gives you a different perspective. Watching it on TV is one thing, obviously it is a lot different to a Formula 1 car,
but I had the privilege of doing a bike and car swap day with Vale in Valencia, and it was a real dream come true for me, to experience a MotoGP bike and be on track with the legend himself. It was so surreal.
“Had the younger version of Hamilton got his way, F1 fans would never have witnessed him achieve all he has within the sport.
He has become world champion seven times, and that figure might have been eight had he not lost out to Max Verstappen in cruel circumstances at the end of last season.
While it may be too early in the current campaign to tell, Hamilton’s chances of a title push in 2022 appear to be slim with his Mercedes car struggling for competitiveness compared to Ferrari and Red Bull.
Those teams have shown the most pace so far, with Charles Leclerc looking the most likely challenger to Verstappen’s throne after two races so far.