Lewis Hamilton once said he’s “not really interested” in racing games and hates sim work at the factory, but everything changes when his hero Ayrton Senna is involved.
During the lockdown it was revealed that the seven-time champion spent much of his free time playing Call of Duty with fellow pilots Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton has long been against sim work, saying he doesn’t see any benefit for real-world racing, and also doesn’t partake in track walks in preparation for race weekends.
But that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had, as the Mercedes driver touches down in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix and heads straight to buying a SEGA Genesis.
Hamilton would have been three years old when the console launched in 1988, but it clearly helped shape his early love of Formula 1 and racing idol Senna.
The Briton has long adored the iconic Brazilian, wearing his first race helmets as a tribute to the triple champion, who is still regarded by many as the greatest F1 driver of all time.
Hamilton is certainly in that camp, having grown up playing Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II, of which he managed to find a copy in Canada.
He was once speechless in Montreal when he equaled Senna’s record of 65 pole positions. and the icon’s family presented him with a used racing helmet immediately after.
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Such is his affinity for man and country, Hamilton also recently became honorary citizen of Brazil, a country in which he sealed his first world title in 2008.
Senna’s name is perhaps most associated with the Imola and Monaco Grand Prix, but his relationship with Hamilton has to do with Canada, where the Briton won his first race.
Flashing back to his childhood, sitting cross-legged in front of the screen, Hamilton was seen in full concentration mode playing the SEGA game, recalling his first television appearance that also involved a remote control.
The Stevenage-born superstar made his television debut in 1992, appearing on Blue Peter at just seven years old.
The serious-faced young man is seen dominating his competition in a remote control car race, hinting at things to come soon.
Hamilton later moved on to karts and continued to win, all the way to the top, where he became the most successful driver F1 had ever seen.
Who knows, though, without Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II, we may never have heard of him.
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