Lewis Hamilton lauded by tennis icon as ‘draining’ F1 schedule claim made

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton arrives at the track ahead of media day in Saudi Arabia.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton arrives at the track.

Tennis great Maria Sharapova drew attention to Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 schedule when discussing the extreme mental demands placed upon athletes.

Hamilton statistically is the most successful driver in Formula 1 history, tied with Michael Schumacher on seven World Championships, while holding outright records including most grand prix wins, pole positions and podiums.

And not only is Hamilton statistically the most successful, arguably he has become the most recognisable and marketable driver on the current F1 grid, bringing with it a lot of sponsor and promotional activities alongside the actual driving side.

Maria Sharapova draws attention to hectic Lewis Hamilton schedule

The explosion in popularity for Formula 1 has only further increased the amount of sponsor work drivers must complete, while pre-race grids are perhaps now more packed with celebrity figures than ever before.

Sharapova, a five-time grand slam tennis tournament winner, is no stranger to the grid, having been present for the final F1 2023 round in Abu Dhabi, the Monaco Grand Prix and before that was at the Miami GP.

There, she got a closer look at all of Hamilton’s responsibilities outside of driving the Mercedes challenger and was shocked by what she saw.

Asked on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast whether tennis is the most mentally demanding sport, Sharapova replied: “I think you may have more opportunity because both golf and tennis, the schedules are so long.

“And this idea of constantly having to show up and having a responsibility and an average amount is probably like 19 to 20 tournaments a year.

“And when you’re not playing a tournament, you’re training. So the pressure of constantly having to perform at a high level and everything that comes with just being an athlete at an event, the sponsor responsibilities, the interviews, the press, you have a schedule of things.

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“At Formula 1, I mean, what Lewis is doing ahead of a race. I actually was in Miami and I saw some of his sponsor responsibilities and I just couldn’t believe the amount of events and interviews. And then how do you wake up and want to do your job? Beat someone when so much of your energy is drained?

“I think it just shows you when there is that individual and that star that wins over and over, how special it is because of everything else that they’ve also had to be responsible for.”

Hamilton has now gone without a grand prix victory for two years, as he puts his faith in Mercedes to ensure their W15 challenger can put him back in the hunt for a record eighth World title.

Read next: Lewis Hamilton’s worst seasons in F1: Where does winless 2023 campaign rank?