Lewis Hamilton has been nominated for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award for the second time in a row. Laureus.com had a chat with Hamilton to find out what this nomination meant to him and what fans have to look forward to in the 2016 season starting this weekend:
You’ve been nominated again for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award. What does that mean to you?
Lewis Hamilton: I feel very privileged to have been nominated. You know it’s such a prestigious Award. It’s great to see what Laureus do in their work and you know it’s something that all the great athletes aspire to win one day.
You’ve been nominated along with Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Jordan Spieth, Stephen Curry, Novak Djokovic. With yourself in there, that’s a classy group?
Lewis Hamilton: Yes, when you mention all the different names, when you look at all the list of the great athletes, I feel very privileged to be amongst them. Just that in itself is an Award, to be recognised among those who are doing so great in their sports.
Was there a particular highlight for you in 2015?
Lewis Hamilton: The whole year was a highlight. I enjoyed every single race; the way it started out until the end. I think naturally the race in Austin [where Hamilton clinched the world championship] was the highlight, just the way it unfolded, the way it happened, with the weather, going up and down. You know what I love about racing is the uncertainty of the outcome.
The Mercedes Formula One team have been nominated for the Laureus Team of the Year Award. What can you say about last year’s car and the team and the support they gave you?
Lewis Hamilton: I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13. It’s a long, long time. I’ve been with Mercedes definitely longer than most drivers and it’s been a privilege to see Mercedes evolve, see the success over those years, and now to be a part of that success and to see them constantly evolving, innovating, moving forward. Where you travel the globe and you see Mercedes Benz in every corner of the world, in every street, then to know that you are one of their representatives, it’s very cool.
What about the new car and looking at the challenges of 2016? Does it still excite you as much? What’s your mood, your feeling going into the new season?
Lewis Hamilton: I feel super. I feel younger than I’ve ever been to be honest. I got back in the car and it was super-easy. The car feels great. The way it’s evolved, it’s another step. It’s the big sister of last year’s car. It’s a bigger and more beautiful and more powerful version of last year’s car. I think there are a lot of challenges we have this year. One, the season’s longer, two, the other teams are getting closer, if not with us or ahead of us maybe, we don’t know yet, and the challenge is of trying to raise your bar and be better. When you look at a season like last year, it’s the best year we’ve ever had and so how do you beat that? After 2014, we didn’t think we could beat that and then 2015 we did, so we will see.
You say you like to have competition. Ferrari look like they’re going to be competitive with you. Does that thrill you?
Lewis Hamilton: Absolutely. When I watched Formula One growing up, wheel to wheel battles, other teams having the opportunity to win, that was what’s exciting. One team winning was not exciting; I used to sleep through that. So I want that for the fans because ultimately I have always been a fan of the sport and still am today, So I really am excited and hoping that we do see lots more racing.
Formula One resumes this weekend on the 20th of March at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at 07:00 am.