Lewis Hamilton About Possibilities After Retirement And More

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

With his multi-year Ferrari contract starting next season, Lewis Hamilton made it clear he doesn’t plan on retiring from Formula 1 in the near future. Even with that debate cleared out for now, the Brit spoke out about the topic in his recent interview with GQ Magazine. What are Hamilton’s prospects after he stops professionally racing, and does he think about those possibilities already?

Well, firstly, we have to set one thing clear — Hamilton is a seven-time world champion, holder of many records, including the one for most wins by a single driver. He is a figure that will go down in the history of motorsport for many reasons, and absolutely deserved. But also, which is the thing many fans seem to forget sometimes, he’s been in Formula 1 since 2007. That’s a really long time for an athlete on the highest level to keep up with their sport.

Many things can and will change throughout such a long career, and sometimes including the sportsman’s view on just that: “When I first got into Formula 1, it was wake up, train, racing-racing-racing-racing, nothing else. There’s no space for anything else. But what I realised is that just working all the time doesn’t bring you happiness, and you need to find a balance in life. And I found out that I was actually quite unhappy.”

“There was so much missing, there was so much more to me. And it was crazy, because I was like: I’m in Formula 1, I reached my dream, and I’m where I always wanted to be, I’m on top, I’m fighting for the championship. But I was just not – it was not enjoyable.”

Thanks to, among other things, his dating life in Los Angeles back then, he got the first glimpse into the creative industries. In Hamilton’s own words, it helped him open both eyes and realize some things: “It’s almost like being in a snowglobe – that’s the racing world. And there’s so much more outside of it that you just don’t have time to explore. I think if you go to an office every day and do the same process every single day, eventually you just zone out. You have to find something else that can soothe you, can keep your mind going.”

Today, fans like to call Lewis a fashion icon and for countless of them, he’s an inspiration and a role model in numerous ways. However, that’s something he himself had to grow into — with creative experiments. His hair, tattoos, clothes, jewelry… all of it can be perceived as a form of art and self-expression. Persistently, he pushed against many prejudices, perceptions, and how racing drivers were viewed by the public. Of course, he accomplished that not only by his creative side, but also empathy, sense of justice and more great values of his.

“As I explored my creativity and also how to express myself, I experienced a lot of pushback in the media. People just judging me: ‘This is not how a racing driver behaves.’ ‘This is not what a racing driver does.’ ”

“I actually feel for some of the drivers just before us, in the early 2000s. There was clearly more to them, but they weren’t able to show that. But if you look at our world now, there’s drivers expressing themselves differently.

“Bit by bit, I’ve had to work overtime to outperform,” he says about making people change their minds and consider a different point of view.

You may wonder why we’re talking about this in connection to his plans after retirement. The answer is simple – this is a big part of who Lewis Hamilton, either as a public figure, or a person, is. And whilst his racing career will come to an end eventually, this won’t. Because whether someone likes it or not, the seven-time-world champion is becoming bigger than the world of Formula 1 – and after his main focus shifts from racing, the perception of him as an actual mainstream celebrity and personality will only evolve.

Now, talking to friends in a similar situation can always help. And Hamilton isn’t an exception in this: “I’d spoken to so many amazing athletes, from Boris Becker to Serena Williams, even Michael Jordan. Talking to greats that I’ve met along the way, who are retired – or some that are still in competition – and the fear of what’s next, the lack of preparation for what’s next. A lot of them said: ‘I stopped too early.’ Or: ‘Stayed too long.’ ‘When it ended, I didn’t have anything planned.’ ‘My whole world came crashing down because my whole life has been about that sport.’”

“Some of them were like: ‘I didn’t plan, and it was a bit of a mess-up because I was really lost afterwards. There was such a hole. Such a void. And I had no idea how I was going to fill it. And I was in such a rush initially totry and fill it that you fill it with the wrong thing. And you make a few mistakes. And then eventually you find your way.’ Some people took longer. Some people took shorter. But it just got my mind thinking about: OK, when I stop, how do I avoid that? And so I got serious about finding other things that I was passionate about.”

The things Lewis got passionate about were many, but noteworthy are fashion, music, and film. Could he turn these creative hobbies and passions into something more?

“The difficult thing is I want to do everything. I’m very ambitious. But I understand that you can’t do – actually, I take that back because I don’t believe in the word can’t. To be a master at something, there’s the 10,000 hours it takes. Obviously, I’ve done that in racing. There’s not enough time to master all of these different things.”

In 2022, the Briton started a film production company called Dawn Apollo Films. Plus, his major side project is a Hollywood film about racing he’s producing, working with such names like Brad Pitt and the team behind the popular Top Gun: Maverick — including director Joseph Kosini and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. If this succeeds, it could be an enormous achievement and a step forward in his career outside of motorsport.

As mentioned before, Lewis Hamilton is also a big fan of fashion. It dates way back, when he attended his first fashion show in 2007.

“I come from a racing world where me and my dad were really the only people of colour. And then when I went to the fashion world, it was so mixed, so diverse. I loved it.”

Eventually, between 2018 and 2020, Lewis got an amazing chance to design five collections for Tommy Hilfiger, who has been involved with Formula 1 for a long time: “I got almost like an internship experience, getting to work with these designers, in the background. I got to just be really hands-on, massively engaged. And then I would go to races, and I was just really free.”

Perhaps in the future, we’ll see Lewis Hamilton establish a fashion brand of his own, or at least more collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and other designers. For now, we probably have to settle down to watching him turn all Grand Prix into his personal fashion show with the stunning outfits he wears.

As we learned thanks to his rapper nickname XNDA, who appeared in Christina Aguilera’s 2018 song Pipe, Lewis is also into music. With his creative sense, it’s not impossible we’ll maybe hear some of his own music in the future.

“My mind is always moving. I have really, really vivid dreams; I have to wake up and write them down. I’ll have visions of something I’m designing. Or sometimes it’s music. Sometimes I have a song playing in my head. I’ll get up and go downstairs, play it on the piano, record it, and it becomes a part of something that I’m doing.”

“Music keeps me alive,” he says in the interview.

And so with all these options laying ahead of the seven-time world champion of Formula 1, it leaves us wondering what path he’ll choose. Though, as was said in the beginning, he definitely has a few more good years in racing, and so it’s likely his focus will remain on that.

When asked by the GQ Magazine “what’s going to take the place of racing”, he replied: “Well. I think it’s gonna be film and fashion.”

So, here’s the answer we were all waiting for. And as for myself, I believe that Lewis Hamilton has a huge potential to make it big in those industries – just as he managed to build an influential name for himself in motorsport.

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