New Mercedes driver - and ex world champion - Lewis Hamilton was in Singapore to support the Peter Lim scholarship, before he returns to say goodbye to McLaren
“I couldn’t care less.”
That was Lewis Hamilton’s response, without hesitation, when asked what he thought of rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s post-season row, with Ferrari insisting their Spanish driver should have been the rightful world champion.
Instead, Hamilton’s focus is on ensuring a smooth exit from longtime employers McLaren and, from next month onwards, settling in at Mercedes.
“I’m going back (to McLaren) on Friday to speak to the whole team, about 1,000 people, just to say a big thanks for all the hard work and wish them all the best for the future. I’ll be competing against them but (McLaren) will always be my home, always be where I grew up.”
The British Formula One racer admitted that moving on from a team he spent 14 years with has its challenges.
“For all of us, we move around, from job to job, we experience different things. You guys have experienced plenty of these but this is going to be my first time.”
To relearn everything, he said, and to improve the much-criticised Mercedes car are the priorities now.
“If I’m able to go there and turn it into a good car, that would be the best feeling one can have.”
The 2008 world champion was making a brief appearance at ITE College West this afternoon in support of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship. He shared with students his success story and related how a little help can go a long way for a budding sports career.
It wasn’t always this glamourous for the F1 star either. His childhood go-kart, the tool he honed his trade in, wasn’t just second-hand. “I think it was passed around five families.”
Students were eager to get an insight into a driver widely considered to be one of the most talented in the sport today.
When asked about how he deals with defeat, Hamilton advised that it’s important to “take a step aside” to review the big picture without being unnecessarily demoralised by it.
Additionally, though, there is something we ordinary folks might never comprehend.
“There is not a single driver I’m racing that I feel is better than me – this (mentality) really helps.”
Hamilton, who was here for less than 24 hours, also met 33 scholarship recipients from three ITE colleges.
This sports scholarship was set up by billionaire and avid sports lover Peter Lim in 2010. Other renowned personalities who have flown into Singapore to lend their support include Real Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho and the Manchester United trio of Gary Neville, Edwin van der Sar and Nani.