Lewis Hamilton’s ‘whole life flashed by’ during final lap in Turkey 2020

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton smiles. Mexico City, Mexico. October 2022.

Lewis Hamilton has explained how all his life struggles “flashed by him” during the lap which secured his seventh World Championship win.

The seven-time World Champion clinched his record-equalling title at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, having come through to victory in a dramatic and chaotic race from sixth place on the grid.

Having matched the seemingly-impossible record set by Michael Schumacher back in 2004, Hamilton revealed that he had dealt with a huge range of emotion during the final lap of that race.

Hamilton has been open about dealing with the challenges of racism and self-doubt during his rise to Formula 1, with the British driver dedicating his title win to ‘the kids’ with a now-famous radio message on the cooldown lap as he said: “This is for all the kids out there, who dream the impossible. You can do it too man! I believe in you guys!”

Appearing on the ‘On Purpose’ podcast, Hamilton elaborated on his feelings during one of the most memorable laps of his entire career.

“Honestly, my whole life flashed by me,” he laughed.

“That last lap, in Turkey, my whole life… like all the struggles, questioning whether you were going to make it or not, just all those doubts or the fears, flashed by me, through my eyes.

“I came across the line, and I was like, ‘I did it!’ I want the kids out there to know that you can do it too, you know?

“So that’s why I try like, every day, just to try to be encouraging of kids.”

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Lewis Hamilton opens up on helping younger drivers

At 38-years-old, Hamilton is now one of the elder statesmen of the sport, as he faces off against on-track rivals considerably younger than him – some of whom who are almost half his age.

Asked about how he feels as one of the very few drivers who have the privilege of racing at the very top of motorsport, and whether it can be an isolating experience, Hamilton said he feels there can be a greater connection between the drivers than perhaps they allow themselves.

“Definitely the other drivers, I do feel that there’s more… we have a lot more in common than we think,” he said.

“But we’re so competitive. A lot of us have our defence, like you want to beat the guy. You might like the person outside the car, but you can’t show that, like there’s this whole psychological battle with yourself and you get in the way of yourself a lot of time.”

With drivers in their early 20s making their mark in the sport, such as McLaren’s Lando Norris, Hamilton said he is trying to make more effort to engage with and help younger drivers as he has insight into their lack of experience in handling the unforgiving world of F1.

“So I really feel like, as an older driver, I’m trying to be more like reaching out to youngsters because they’re the future, you know?” he said.

“I’m excited to see some of these younger drivers coming through, [they’re] so, so talented.

“I don’t know if they’ve got the best structure around them, like I didn’t necessarily have the ultimate structure that I perhaps have now. So I just try to be kind of a positive light to them.

“None of them are black. None of them have necessarily faced the same as me, but they face their own challenges, and [it’s about] respecting that within everybody. I’ve tried to create allies, like in having the difficult conversations with some of them. I’m so grateful for a couple of them that really took the knee with me in 2020.”