F1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton speaks with Men’s Style about watches, music, tatts and hanging out with Kanye.
Let’s talk watches – you’re an IWC man, what do you wear?
I wear the Big Pilot. My favourite model is the Top Gun Big Pilot.
You must own a few – do you mix them up given the occasion?
Yes, it depends on whether I’m wearing a suit or a blazer – sometimes you go with the leather strap over the bracelet. I try a few on first to see whether it goes with my look. It also depends on if I’m wearing jewellery and what sort. I like rose gold and platinum.
We saw you doing some ‘acting’ in an IWC promo with Rosberg – do you enjoy that sort of thing?
Obviously I’m a driver but it’s cool to work at something else – the challenge of trying to do it well even though it’s not your strength. I did a cameo in Cars 2 a couple of years back and if any opportunities like that come along again, I’d jump at them.
We notice you’ve been rocking a luxe streetwear look lately -what’s your taste in fashion?
More edgy urban, I’d say. I like Givenchy, Balmain, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Margiela. I have a lot of Hugo Boss suits. I’ve been working with Hugo Boss literally since I joined Formula One They’ve got great quality fabrics, which I quite like, and maybe I’ll do something with them on a personal level one day.
Away from the track you’re big into making and listening to music – would you ever view it as an alternative career?
No, I’m not seeking a career from it. Formula One has always been my priority, since I was very young. It’s literally a hobby, man. It’s a really cool outlet and a peaceful place for me to go where there are no cameras.
Name some Influences…
Old-school influences are people like Prince. I love Aretha Franklin’s stuff… her voice and writing. I love Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and the old Bob Marley. Of new stuff I love The Weekend, Frank Ocean, people like that…
Were you brought up in a musical household?
My dad used to play in a band so I grew up a lot around music. And then I used to DJ in my room. I saved up and bought a Technics 1210 and I used to DJ at friends’ parties as well.
We see you hanging out with quite a few musicians – Kanye, Pharrell. Are they friends?
I’m very fortunate I’ve met quite a lot of people in the music business who have become friends. I mean, yeah, I know Kanye, we hang out, and there’s a few of those I’m fortunate to hang out with and listen to their stuff, creatively, in a space where no one else gets to hear it and that’s quite unique.
You also have a fair few tattoos now – how do you decide what you’re going to get inked?
I’m actually looking at tattoos right now in an ink book that’s in front of me. It’s not something l rush into, I take my time and Iook at a lot of imagery. All my tattoos are related to something I’m passionate about. I’ve picked a lot of religious images to use, with the cross on my back and Mary and Jesus on my right ann. In the evenings I’m online looking for new ideas and new concepts of things I might end up getting inked.
You’re not addicted to it?
I’ve never been addicted to anything in my life. People talk about addictions to smoking or whatever… I don’t have any addictions. I’m very free-minded and I’m very much in control of my mind. I just love it. I got my back tattooed and I love my back so much more than I ever did when it was just plain.
Most F1 drivers say that when life off the track is settled, performance on the track is better – is that the case with you?
Ummmm… That can often be the case, it definitely sometimes helps. I won’t say that’s the case on that side of my life right now, but I can still perform [laughs].