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Hamilton interview: Slams Mercedes & talks about near-death experience

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton held nothing back in a revealing interview on the popular YouTube show Hot Ones. Speaking to presenter Sean Evans, Hamilton candidly discussed his ongoing struggle with the performance of his Mercedes W15 car, highlighting the feeling of constant conflict with his car during races.

Since the introduction of new regulations in 2022, Mercedes has seen a significant drop in performance and struggled to secure podium places. Hamilton’s last victory came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

In 2024, Mercedes will be the fourth fastest team on the grid, behind Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. Both Hamilton and his teammate George Russell have often spoken about their lack of confidence in the car.

Constant battle with the car

When asked by Evans when he feels most conflicted with his car, Hamilton immediately responded: “Right now! His laugh underlined a deep-seated frustration. Hamilton went on to explain that the conflict is most intense at the start of a race, when the car is loaded with fuel. He described the delicate balance required to control tire wear and fuel consumption, which often leads to the car’s capabilities being underutilized.

Hamilton has previously criticized Mercedes for not heeding his warnings about the car’s design. This persistent problem contributed to his decision to leave Mercedes after eleven years and join Ferrari in 2025. Hamilton is currently eighth in the championship, trailing Russell and a whopping 127 points behind leader Max Verstappen.

Racing quirks: No drinks, no pee

In a curious aside, Hamilton revealed two personal quirks about his racing routine. Unlike many drivers, he does not drink from the car’s hydration system, often forgetting to use it and choosing to remove the 500 ml of extra weight. He also revealed that he was unable to relieve himself during the race, a common practice among other drivers.

He talked about a particularly uncomfortable experience during the Singapore Grand Prix, where he had to relieve himself behind the safety car due to extreme bladder pressure.

Hamilton recalls terrifying near-death experience: surfing scare in Hawaii

Off the track, Hamilton has told of a terrifying near-death experience while surfing in Hawaii with the legendary Kelly Slater. The incident took place at the infamous Pipeline, known for its dangerous waves. Despite Slater’s warnings, Hamilton ventured into the huge six-metre waves and soon found himself in trouble.

Hamilton said he was caught in the ‘kill zone’, facing a series of four waves that left him fearing for his life. He described the moment the powerful waves pulled him underwater, breaking his board in half and leaving him gasping for air. He had to dive underwater several times to avoid being overpowered and almost ran out of air before he managed to swim back to safety.

A passion for surfing

This wasn’t Hamilton’s first foray into surfing. In 2019, he joined Slater at his state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in California, known for its sustainable, man-made waves. Always eager to learn new skills, Hamilton expressed his gratitude to Slater for the opportunity to surf in such an innovative environment.

Hamilton’s stories, both on the track and in the surf, highlight his adventurous spirit and relentless pursuit of new challenges. Whether he’s battling his car or braving huge waves, Hamilton continues to push himself to the limit, even if that doesn’t seem to be the case when racing an F1 car.

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