ABU DHABI — Lewis Hamilton had a very famous fan in tow for the drivers’ parade ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — Hollywood superstar Will Smith.
The pre-race parade is usually reserved for F1’s 20 drivers but the recently-crowned 2018 champion had company on Sunday. Smith, a guest of Mercedes this weekend, climbed aboard the truck before it departed to do some filming of his own.
When Hamilton won the championship in Mexico City, a pre-recorded message from Smith was played over his radio channel saying: “Hey Lewis, congrats man! That’s how you do it, baby! Just like I taught you! That’s how, that’s how you do it! Just like that! That’s how you are supposed to drive!”
Hamilton, who now boasts five world championships, returned the favour to his friend ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Having done his own filming at the beginning of the parade, Smith was soon interviewed by F1’s Rosanna Tennant and admitted Hamilton was helping do something he’s been dreaming of for a long time.
“This is fantastic,” he said. “Lewis and I have been talking about this for probably like five years, since the grand prix in Monte Carlo. That was the first time I ever came and I’m just speechless, I love this, this is so exciting.
“I’m glad to be here to support my man. We’ve been talking about it for so long. I’m here with the world champ!”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 25, 2018
At that point, Lewis asked: “Can you drive?”
Smith replied: “Yeah, yeah, if you need me I’m here! I’ve dropped a couple pounds in the last couple of weeks so if I need to get in there for you…”
He then continued: “This is just such a special honour for me. It’s like… I’m doing a thing called the bucket list. I turn 50 this year and I decided I’m going to do everything I want to do. He granted the old man a wish!”
Hearing that, Hamilton laughed and said: “That’s so weird though because we look the same age so I don’t agree with that!”
When asked by Hamilton what the best thing on his list has been so far, Smith said: “I just did a half-marathon in Cuba. The sky-dive was crazy too. I’m literally celebrating every day.
“You been watching! You been watching! I’m doing everything that I wanted to do this year and watching you walk away as world champ is definitely on my bucket list.”
Hamilton’s championship victory moved him to joint second on the all-time list with Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio, who won five in the 1950s. He is just two away from matching Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven career titles. Hamilton is also catching Schumacher on the all-time list of grand prix winners, with 72 to his name (before the Abu Dhabi race) to the German’s 91.
Hamilton starts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole position.