Lewis Hamilton, who won last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, dreams of one day racing the Daytona 500. (Andy Wong/AP)
Three-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has short-term goals and long-term dreams. Firstly, he’s got his eye on winning a fourth F1 title. After that? The 32-year-old Mercedes driver said he’d like to “one day” enter a NASCAR race, “like the Daytona 500 maybe.”
The British driver made his comments on Thursday, ahead of the Grand Prix in Bahrain, when asked about fellow F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s decision to skip the Middle Eastern race to enter the Indianapolis 500.
Hamilton said (via Fox Sports), “I wouldn’t miss out any of the races in Formula One [to compete elsewhere],” but noted after his F1 career winds down he still pictures himself racing.
This isn’t the first time Hamilton has discussed a try at NASCAR. He also said he’d be interested in entering a MotoGP race, where the world’s best motorcycle racers compete. Hamilton expressed specific interest in riding a MotoGP bike, which is capable of making turns so sharp and fast the rider’s shoulder nearly scrapes the ground.
Spanish biker Maverick Vinales (25) was fearless as he rode to victory on his Yamaha at the Argentina Grand Prix on Sunday. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)
NASCAR would likely be a safer option, although not necessarily easier.
“You think, it’s a car and you just have to drive it,” former NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya told Parade magazine in 2013. Having also raced on the F1 circuit, he’s able to compare the two.
“Each one behaves so differently from the others that to learn to drive them is a hell of a challenge,” he said. “You know, in F1, the cars were unbelievable. Nothing drives like an F1 car. But the racing was terrible, because the cars are so even, and they’re so air-dependent that it’s not easy to pass.”
Montoya continued: “In NASCAR racing, the cars aren’t as good as you want them, but the racing’s unbelievable. Something that’s cool is the new cars, Generation 6, are a huge improvement over the old cars. They handle so much better.”
If Hamilton one day enters a NASCAR race, he won’t be a total novice.
In 2011, he tried out Tony Stewart’s car at the Watkins Glen International road course in New York.
“I never in a million years thought I’d have the opportunity to drive a NASCAR,” Hamilton said (via the Associated Press) before climbing into Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet. “I don’t know what to expect. I know in NASCAR, you blow engines. We very rarely do that nowadays.”
Hamilton proved a natural, however. He “wowed the crowd,” the AP reported, as he peeled out of the pit road.
“I just feel like a kid. It’s good to feel like a kid again,” Hamilton said after taking the car six laps. “It’s one of the coolest things I’ve done outside of racing Formula One.”
Source : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/04/13/three-time-formula-1-champ-lewis-hamilton-interested-in-entering-nascar-race-one-day/