Don’t expect to see Hamilton in virtual races

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton 2020 pa

Lewis Hamilton has been doing his own virtual racing, but don’t expect to see him getting involved in the current competitions.

With the real-life racing on hold, several Formula 1 drivers have taken to virtual racing in a bid to pass the time and also keep their skills sharp.

Lando Norris and Max Verstappen were among those to lead the way, and since George Russell, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and Sebastian Vettel have all followed into the world of virtual racing.

But while Hamilton is trying to beat his lap times on his own virtual setup, courtesy of Sony, he won’t be getting involved with any of the competitions.

Speaking to in a Mercedes video, he said: “I’m not interested in driving simulated racing.

“But Gran Turismo and Sony just sent me this whole set-up. I grew up playing Gran Turismo, and spending hours earning the money to buy all these cars, and it was really a great opportunity to do something with them.

“So I’ve been working with them the last couple of years, and I got to do this challenge, beat my time kind of thing. I’ve been racing myself, trying to beat my own laps. It’s been frustrating as hell, because my laps were pretty decent I think!”

“Honestly, it’s one of the coolest things. Naturally growing up playing F1 games I couldn’t wait until I had my car on there, and once I got to F1 I didn’t play any racing games, particularly like F1 – I don’t know why.

“But in this game fortunately I didn’t have to work to earn my car, because it would have taken me [a long time]. They sent me some credits and I bought the car. It’s incredible to think that it’s come a long way, and the car that my team and I have helped evolve and build over the years is in this game that people can earn and get to go and drive.”

Putting in the simulator hours has become an important part of being an F1 driver. That being said, the six-time World Champion Hamilton “very rarely” does it.

“I never drive simulators, very, very rarely,” he admitted.

“With simulators it’s very, very difficult, because the movement is never perfect. It’s something they constantly try to improve on. Obviously if you’re at home with a simulator the seat doesn’t move, and your mind is telling you that the car’s moving, but you’re not getting any cueing of movements.

“You have to kind of override your mind and I don’t really like doing that and going through that process. Then you get in the real thing, and it’s completely different.

“I don’t find it personally any benefit doing the simulation thing, but the actually fun gaming side of things, when you get to play with friends and people online, that’s a plus stage.”

Although Hamilton isn’t taking part in the online games, he did say he has “played Call of Duty with Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc.”

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