Lewis Hamilton's stardom could distract him from winning a hat-trick of Formula One world titles, according to David Coulthard.
The 31-year-old has become as well known for his lifestyle as for winning consecutive F1 world championships, and his third in all . He travels in his own private jet, mixes with rap stars and is seen on red carpets as much as on the F1 podium. “It seems crazy to question whether Lewis can win another title, given that he’s won the last two but you have to ask where his energy is going,” said Coulthard on Tuesday during an event in London to promote Channel 4’s presenting team for the F1 season, which gets under way in Australia on 20 March.
“He splits his time between F1 and being a global star – the car and the music. We’re all waiting to see when the album will drop.
“There’s no question that Lewis is fit and focused when he’s at the racetrack. But he does have a full-on social life away from grand prix racing. And throwing in the American dream. We all know it’s not easy jumping on and off aircraft. Is this the year that’s going to take its toll? I don’t know. I hope not”.
Expanding on the distractions facing Hamilton, the former McLaren and
driver, who won 13 grands prix, made it clear he was not being overly critical of the 31-year-old. “There were fewer questions about
. You knew they were going to fight for every single piece of opportunity. But Lewis seems to be ‘right, I’m going to go away and win a grand prix, I’m going to win a championship, then I’m going to go away and do something completely different’. And we’re not used to that,”
Coulthard said. “That’s why we’re asking the question. It’s not a criticism. It’s an observation, in admiration. That he’s been somehow able to find this happy place, of driving quickly and going off and doing other things. The bottom line is I’m jealous. He’s faster than I was and he gets to go to some really cool parties.”
Coulthard will be one of the main players in Channel 4's lineup, who include fellow former F1 drivers Mark Webber and Karun Chandhok, and the former Williams test driver Susie Wolff.
The 44-year-old is clearly relishing the season ahead and is sure Hamilton will remain one of the leading players.
In that regard, he also has sympathy for Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg. "I suspect Lewis still has enough energy and enthusiasm for racing. He's a very natural racer. When he's in his car he's lost in the world of racing. He's very much in the moment, when he's in the moment. How long his career goes is in his hands. It could go for another 10 years,"
Coulthard said. "It must be frustrating for Nico. I remember being in a similar situation with Kimi Raikkonen, who seemed to be either driving the car quickly or sleeping in the truck. Like I was, Nico must be thinking: 'Why can't I beat a guy whose focus seems to be elsewhere'."
Coulthard added: “Nico is a family man, he’s got a young child, a dog, he’s going to spend his time going back and forwards to Monaco and Ibiza, wherever he spends his time. Which one is going to be the more successful? Clearly, Nico has been able to beat him, especially at the end of the season. Did Lewis mentally lift off? Is he only about championships? Or will he fight for every single victory. There are so many questions. That’s the thing.” Guardian Service