Hamilton: Drivers aware of the risks

Date published: October 11 2014

Lewis Hamilton says danger is inherently part of motorsport as he learnt a young age when a fellow karter died…

Lewis Hamilton says danger is inherently part of motorsport as he learnt a young age when a fellow karter died.

Formula 1 is dealing with the aftermath of last Sunday’s terrible accident at the Japanese GP that has left Jules Bianchi fighting for his life.

The Frenchman remains in a critical condition having suffered a diffused axonal injury when he hit a tractor after sliding off the track.

And while the FIA and the teams are looking for ways to ensure that such an accident never again happens, Hamilton admits that danger is part of racing and that all the drivers are well aware of that.

“As racing drivers, we are never under any illusion about the risks that we are taking. We are travelling at serious speeds and this is a serious business,” he wrote in his latest BBC column.

“I am aware of the dangers that come along with my job. But I don’t get in the car fearing it because that wouldn’t work. You can’t go into a corner thinking “if I brake too late, this could happen” or “the brakes could fail” or whatever.

“You have to be strong in your mind and believe in only positive things. But whenever you get in the car you accept all sorts of things that can happen.

“When I was nine years old, I saw a young driver die when I was racing in karts. A good friend of mine who was a good friend of his stopped racing, but that has never been something that has entered my mind.

“That was a very traumatic time for me as a kid. Even now, I can remember standing on the bank beside a track with him with our suits on just before a race, all laughing and joking. And then the next thing I knew I was at his funeral. It was the first time I had ever been to one.

“It is very hard to put that out of my mind at the moment, after what happened to Jules. Things like this really open up your view a bit. Bad things happen to people, but the world keeps going, which is really sad in a way.

“But it does not make me rethink wanting to be a Formula 1 driver.

“I love this sport. It is the thing I do best, the thing I feel most comfortable in, where I feel most me, without any restrictions on what I can do. When I get in the car, I feel free. The exhilaration of racing is something you cannot match anywhere else.

“It is more than a passion. It is our lives.”