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On the move: Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is beginning to understand that winning motor races is only one part of the job for a modern Formula One (F1) driver. As well as personal appearances there are the advertisements, photo shoots, press interviews, and autograph sessions. At the Goodwood Festival last month a 65,000-strong crowd cheered him in the rain while he stood, like royalty, on the balcony of Goodwood House, and he is preparing for a hero’s welcome at this weekend’s British Grand Prix race at Silverstone.
 So how is he coping with being the most famous sportsman in Britain? ‘It’s a bit weird,’ he says. ‘I first noticed it after the Grand Prix in Bahrain. Simple things like going out for dinner, to the cinema or the petrol station are not the same and I get more people coming up to me. I’ve been working for thirteen years and now I’m winning races but it’s a lot more than I expected. The worst thing about it is losing your privacy. I am trying to deal with it at the moment, but I don’t know the best way to do it. I am just trying to keep my head down, keep myself to myself and not do anything silly.’ He claims not really to read the newspaper coverage of himself ‘except to check out the pictures, make sure I still look good’.
With a salary reported to be $40,000 a year (modest compared with that of his teammate, but not bad for a 22-year-old) he has upgraded his ‘off-duty’ car from a Smart Brabus to a rather more luxurious Mercedes GL 4x4 and there is speculation that he is thinking of moving from Hertfordshire to Monaco. Still, he remains relatively careful in his spending. ‘I don’t seem to carry any money in my wallet, I don’t know why. I always have to borrow money from my dad,’ he says. ‘I don’t like to waste money. For instance the last money I spent was on a remote-control car so I could play with my brother and that was about $200, so even that wasn’t so expensive.’
 His success and possibly the fact that he is the first black F1 driver has created a group of celebrity admirers such as Pharrell Williams, the rapper and producer. ‘That’s got to be one of the coolest things, getting to meet people like him,’ says Hamilton. ‘He was a guest of mine for the weekend at the US Grand Prix and I had dinner with him on the Saturday night. I met Beyonce recently, too. She’s fantastic, she invited me to her concert at Wembley, phenomenal.’
If all these things are not to fade, however, Hamilton will have to continue to dominate on the racetrack. Last week Sir Jackie Stewart, the three-time F1 champion, warned against relaxing too much: ‘Three months ago I was asked if Lewis could win the championship and I said that it was possible but unlikely. Now I say it’s possible but it’s more likely. The one thing that all up-and-coming stars have in common is potential. Whether they deliver over the long term is what counts and that’s still to be proven.’
Ever since he famously approached Ron Dennis, head of the McLaren team, as a nine-year-old kart racer and told him he would one day race for him, Hamilton has been raised through the team’s system. In many ways he is the embodiment of a new era in racing: Hamilton says that he rarely drinks and would rather go out for dinner than hit a nightclub.
The intensity of his training is astonishing. High-tech computer read-outs enable the driver and engineers to reduce lap times by fractions of a second, while racing simulators and 3-D virtual reality cars mean drivers can know a circuit off by heart without having driven it for real.
The thoroughness of the training reveals itself not only in Hamilton’s spectacular start to his first season, but also in his quiet confidence. ‘Every racing driver has a great deal of self-belief,’ he says, adding that he is not bothered by the Formula One circus. ‘The big transition is from karts to single-seaters. That’s the biggest step up.’

What, according to the writer, has Hamilton started to realize?

The results of the races do not matter very much these days.
He has many other duties apart from driving a racing car.
Members of the royal family are interested in motor racing.
The public can quickly turn against successful drivers.

What does Hamilton find surprising?

The kind of places where he now has his meals.
The amount of attention he gets from the public.
The length of time it took him to become famous.
The fact that he has already won a number of races.

What has Hamilton done with some of his money?

He has bought a more expensive car.
He has bought a house in Monaco.
He has lost it.
He has lent it to his father.

How does Hamilton feel about meeting famous people?

He is only interested in talking to other drivers.
It is something that he very much enjoys.
He likes to invite them to his house.
It is not as exciting as it was at first.

What does Jackie Stewart say about Hamilton?

He is certain to become champion one day.
He will never become champion.
He has less chance of becoming champion than other young drivers.
His chances of becoming champion have improved.

When he first met the McLaren boss, Hamilton said

he wanted to become the boss of McLaren himself.
he was already very well known as a racer.
he was sure he was going to be a McLaren driver.
he would never go out to nightclubs.

By using the training equipment,

the engineers can go round the racetrack with the drivers.
drivers can practise racing against each other on the track.
the team can decide if a driver is good enough to race in Formula One.
Hamilton can learn about a racetrack that he has not been on.

What effect has his training had on Hamilton?

It has made him believe in his ability.
He worries more about Formula One racing.
He now drives single-seaters.
It has made him think he is better than other drivers.


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Категорія: Мои статьи | Додав: znoenglish (17.04.2009)
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