22 July 2009
Is Hamilton set to follow Rossi's lead..?
Reigning F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he would love to try his hand at different forms of motorsport – confessing a desire to put his talents to the test on a MotoGP bike, in a rally car and across the Pond in NASCAR.
The McLaren-Mercedes star has endured a miserable time of things so far in 2009, grappling with the Woking-based outfit's woefully uncompetitive MP4-24 for little on-track reward and next-to-no hope of successfully defending his hard-fought drivers' crown – though there have of late been a few chinks of light at the end of the bleak tunnel he has been striving to find a way out of since the car's launch back in February.
Little wonder, then, that the Stevenage-born ace might take to dreaming of other adventures, and whilst he clearly has no intention of hanging up his grand prix helmet for a long time yet, the nine-time grand prix-winner has revealed that he is 'into all kinds of sports, a bit like Michael Schumacher' – and would willingly take the plunge in other motor racing disciplines.
Record-breaking multiple MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has flirted with car racing in recent years, testing Ferrari's F1 machine on several occasions and participating in a number of high-profile rallies, the latest being the season-ending round of the 2008 World Rally Championship in Wales. Hamilton acknowledged that he would be interested in conversely mirroring 'The Doctor' in swapping from four wheels to two.
“If Mercedes-Benz wants to go to Le Mans one day and take me, I'll do that,” he told British newspaper The Sun. “I'd love to try a MotoGP bike, but not particularly race one. I would love to try one of Malcolm Wilson's rally cars – and one day I might try NASCAR.”
The most recent top flight exponents to switch to NASCAR have been 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and erstwhile Williams and McLaren grand prix-winner Juan-Pablo Montoya, though neither with any consistent success and the former ultimately running out of funding to continue.
The brash, noisy, US-based stock car series is a world away from the high-tech, image-conscious arena of F1 – perhaps the very factor that makes it so appealing – but Hamilton did draw the line at competing in the celebrated Indianapolis 500 at the legendary 'Brickyard'.
“To do the Indy 500, you have to be going at it,” he explained. “It would be unreasonable for me to expect to get in the car and go and win it. You have to have a good season in that kind of thing, so I don't have any particular desire to do that.”
Three-time F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet suffered multiple leg and foot injuries in attempting to qualify for the 1992 Indy 500, though the Brazilian returned to complete the job the following year, qualifying 13th but being classified just 32nd after encountering engine problems in the race.
Tagged as: Valentino Rossi , Lewis Hamilton , Mercedes , Ferrari , Mclaren , NASCAR , bike , Jacques Villeneuve , rally , Malcolm Wilson , Juan-Pablo Montoya , Indy 500 , Indianapolis 500 , Brickyard
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