Lewis Hamilton may be the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time, but had he been successful as a child he might have chosen a different path. Motorsport was always going to be the Briton’s goal in his youth, but only an intervention from his father saw him pursue that dream on four wheels rather than two.
Hamilton’s seven F1 world titles can only be matched by the legendary Michael Schumacher, while he also holds the records for most race wins, podiums and pole positions. But if his father hadn’t intervened, perhaps the MotoGP records would have fallen into the Stevenage rider’s hands.
He admitted as much at a recent event where he was speaking alongside motorcycle racing legend Valentino Rossi. The duo, who alone have 14 first-class world titles, were invited to speak by their sponsor, the Swiss watchmaker CBI.
Asked about a test in Valencia where the two motorsport stars swapped machines and took them for a spin, Hamilton revealed his goal as a child was to race motorbikes. So getting the chance to ride Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike was a real treat for the Brit.
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“I’ve always loved bikes – when I was younger I really wanted to ride bikes, more than cars actually,” he said. “My dad didn’t want me to ride a bike, he said it was too dangerous. So he bought me four wheels instead of two.
“I think it was the right choice because if I had raced at the same time Vale was there I probably wouldn’t have been so successful. But then, since I’ve been in Formula 1, I’ve a Superbike and at the end of the year I like to go out and do track days.
“It’s fascinating, it gives you a different perspective. Watching it on TV is one thing, obviously it’s very different from a Formula 1, but I had the privilege of doing a bike swap day and cars with Vale in Valencia, and it was a real dream come true for me, to experience a MotoGP bike and be on the track with the legend himself. It was so surreal. “
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