Lewis Hamilton has recounted when he accidentally got drunk after quitting a bartending job he held as a teenager, needing his dad to come to the rescue.
Hamilton was appearing on Fox Sports Australia in the run-up to the Australian Grand Prix, with presenter Mark Howard asking the seven-time World Champion about an excursion he’d taken to Byron Bay to take in some sea and surfing.
Howard asked Hamilton whether he’d taken some time to visit a famous pub venue called ‘Cheeky Monkeys’ with Hamilton laughing that he had not managed to take in a visit.
As might be expected of an F1 driver who has been immersed in motorsport since childhood, Hamilton said that he had never been one to spend much time in the pub, but that he once held a job as a bartender on minimum wage as a teenager.
“I’ve never been into pubs,” he said.
“I worked at one when I was like 17, as a bartender. I think I was getting like £3.50 an hour or something ridiculous like that.”
Howard laughed at Hamilton’s answer, jokingly pointing out, “things have gone in the right direction!” to a wry smile from Hamilton.
“Something like that,” Hamilton replied, revealing that curiosity about the drinks he was serving almost got him in trouble on the day he quit the job.
“It was minimum wages. It was good experience,” he said.
“But the best part of it was when I quit on my last day and I cleaned up the bar.
“I was like ‘what are these drinks that I’ve been giving everyone?’ so I tried everything. My dad had to come pick me up, I was absolutely hammered! I tried a little bit of everything!”
While Hamilton has been to Australia on numerous occasions, and all the countries F1 visits throughout the year, the hectic nature of a Formula 1 schedule means that F1 personnel and drivers rarely get the time to properly immerse themselves in the cultures of the countries they visit.
Hamilton revealed that, without making a proper effort in advance, it’s almost impossible to get time to just be a tourist and enjoy a country – something he had done in order to visit Byron Bay for a longer period of time.
“It has to be a real conscious effort to really try and plan way, way ahead,” he said.
“Because, otherwise, the team just book up things and so then, it often is a hop-in and hop-out to most of the places.
“So I’ll say, in these 15 years, there have been times… I once went to the Gold Coast, for example, but I had two days there. So this time was the first time I had four days where I really got to kind of drive around, rode around on bicycles, and stopped in cafes for coffee.
“I went to the local supermarket and just did some grocery shopping, just trying to get a bit of a vibe of how the Aussies live and spend their weekends there, or their breaks there. It’s somewhere that I could definitely live! So yeah, I really enjoyed it and I just love the surf life and the community as well.”
Hamilton will likely have more off-track activities planned now that Formula 1 is into a one-month break, with the action resuming at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix come the end of April.