Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he is not being distracted by his extra-curricular projects after being faced with similar accusations to those levelled at tennis star Emma Raducanu, who has also been warned over her off-court commitments in recent months. Hamilton is enduring the toughest year of his F1 career to date after failing to win a single race since the beginning of the season, with Mercedes having failed to produce a title-challenging car for the first time in a long while.
Hamilton has ramped up the focus on his off-track ventures over the last few years, with his newly-established film and television production company Apollo Dawn Films making headlines in recent weeks. The 37-year-old’s other commitments include spearheading the Mission 44 project to boost diversity in motorsport, while he also owns a stake in the Denver Broncos NFL franchise.
The Brit is adamant that F1 remains at the top of his list of priorities, though, with talks over a new deal at Mercedes reportedly set to get underway in the not-too-distant future.
“It is not that they [other projects] are less important,” Hamilton told GPFans. “My priority is with my job here with the team. When you are racing on a weekend, there is time in between to do the work there and the work with Mission 44 for example.
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“I am still able to steer the ship on that. I have a great group of people who are leading and doing what I have asked for and pushing it in the right direction. I know what is being overloaded, I know what is being distracted and I will never let that get to that point so it is just about balancing.
“I say no to so many things, I get asked every day to do so many different things and I am able to push back and say no. If I know that that is going to affect my preparation or get in the way of my training or time with the team or have any possible impact on my race weekend, it is a big no.
“That is with friends and relationships. This is what I am focused on. At the moment, I don’t have a relationship, I don’t have any kids. This is, in part, my baby, as is Mission 44. Those are the things I am cherishing and trying to put energy into.”
Hamilton’s comments on prioritising his sport were previously echoed by fellow Brit and rising tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, who insisted that tennis would still be her main focus when asked if her increasing number of endorsement deals would do any harm to her on-court progress.
“I have made it a priority,” said Raducanu. “I made it very, very clear to every single person in my team that I was not going to cancel one training session or practice session for any off-court commitments.
“That was a non-negotiable for me. I wanted to make sure that that is my priority and it is. so that everyone’s clear about that. But it’s just managing my time with the commitments around that.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Hamilton will be able to break his winless streak in F1 by ending his run of sub-par results before the campaign draws to a close later this month. He will have just two more chances to do so in Brazil and Abu Dhabi as he looks to round off the year on a somewhat positive note, with bitter rival Max Verstappen having already wrapped up the Drivers’ Championship title at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix.
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