-Welcome to the show.
-Thank you. -Dang. -Uh, it is so good
to have you here. And I think
for many of my viewers, I have to situate you
and who you are, because it’s a little bit crazy. You are a four-time
Formula 1 world champion. Formula 1 is one of
the biggest sports in the world. You’re a race car driver, but oftentimes when
I have to explain it to people, they go like, “Formula 1?”
They go like, “What is that?” -“What is it?” Yeah. -Yeah.
And I go like, “It’s NASCAR, -but they turn the other way.”
-(laughs) And, like,
is it strange for you? Is it a bit surreal
being in a position where you are in a sport
that genuinely is… Hundreds of millions of people
watch this around the world, but in America,
there’s many people who have no clue what you do. Uh, I wouldn’t say it’s strange. I think, you know, here, the… People grow up
and the drivers grow up -to do NASCAR or IndyCar
-Right. So, um, just like it’s NFL,
for example. Here you have… -That’s– ours is soccer
in England, so… -Right. Um, and then we only have
one race here, and we’ve not had a race here
for many, many years. Um, there was a gap we had
I think up until 2007. There was Indianapolis,
and then not till 2012, so… But it’s growing here,
but yeah, I’m educating. Every time I meet someone,
I’m telling them something new. And particularly,
uh, when I talk about, like,
the weight that I lose. They’re like, “Wow.” How much weight do you lose?
‘Cause people don’t know. Like, well, the most
I’ve ever lost in a race is ten and a half pounds
in an hour and 45 minutes. -And that was, like, Malaysia
and Singapore. -Right. And so every time
I tell that to an American, they’re like, “Wow,
I need to be a racing driver.” (laughter) You know,
I think one of the reasons F1 is growing in America
is because of your presence. You-You’re not
a regular racing driver that’s only on the track.
You’re out and about. Um, people love your story. So what-what I think
a lot of people have been really attracted to
when it comes to your story is the journey that you are on. So, I mean,
you grew up in a sport -that is really reserved for
very rich people, right? -Yeah. But you did not
grow up rich at all, and your dad
made your career possible. Like, how did that all begin? How hard was that journey
getting into F1? Uh, it was incredible. I mean, I grew up
on my dad’s couch and in a normal council estate, uh, and it was a weekend hobby
for me and my dad. We kind of stumbled across it. -We started racing RC cars
when I was four. -Right. And he thought I had really good
hand-to-eye coordination, so he bought me a go-kart. It was really old,
from the newspaper. And we arrived at the track
for the first time. We were not welcome.
We were the only first… -the only black people there.
-Right. And, um, you know,
and it was very, very expensive, so my dad had four jobs
just to keep us going. He was going to London,
doing his normal job, which was I.T.
at a railway station. And then he would come home. He’d be putting up
for sale signs, vending machines,
anything he could find a little bit of cash to…
’cause it’s so expensive. -Right.
-Uh, but I was lucky. I got signed when I was 13,
so that’s really… But the goal and my dream
started when I was five, was to be like Ayrton Senna, -which you know much about.
-Right, right, right. And, um, and kind of
we never lost sight of that. But my dad…
what my dad didn’t want us to do is to struggle as he did. He’s from Grenada.
Came to London and, you know,
struggled, really, um, finding money,
finding a good job. And he…
Also, my brother’s disabled, so he’s like, “I don’t want my
kids to struggle like I have.” So he worked to the bone
to create an opportunity for us. Right. The two of you
were a team. I mean, you’ve got your dad
teaching you how to race cars. You get signed at 13, and that’s really the beginning
of the journey. Because many people
have said in the world that F1 is
the pinnacle of driving. I mean, these are
the fastest cars in the world. You know, this is zero
to 60 in– What is it now? Is it a second now? What-what
are you at now? What is it, two? -What is it?
-It’s still, like, two. Oh, still two. Of– I’m sorry.
Still two seconds. Zero to 60 in two seconds. You-you have this machine
that you are controlling, and you are driving against the
fastest drivers in the world. You went from nothing to being
a four-time world champion. Every single day
is a challenge for you. And now you’re gonna be racing
in Austin, in America, and you could win
your fifth world championship, which-which is record-breaking
on so many levels. Do you sometimes take a moment
to pause and go, like, -“This is– this is surreal”?
-Oh, every day. I’m, you know–
I get to travel the world. I get to see and meet so many
different peech– people. And, um, racing
the Formula One car is just the greatest thing, man. Uh, I remember
from the first day that I got to drive
a Formula One car in 2006. Um, and when I entered
Formula One, I was 22. I’m 33 now. And my goal was always
to emulate this-this older,
you know, legendary driver. He was a Brazilian
who died in the sport, ’cause it is a dangerous sport. -And he was three-time world
champion, as you know. -Right. And so, two years ago,
I-I equaled him, um, which was kind of just
an incredible moment for-for me. And then, since then, I’ve
kind of been trying to carry on the baton from him,
because, as I said, -he was the guy
I always wanted to be. -Right. And you-you’re still
the only black F1 driver. And it’s always surreal
and interesting, ’cause, like, when the camera
goes, you know, down the paddock, they’ll show,
like, all the drivers, all the drivers. And,
just generally, I mean, like, F1, in many ways, is
sort of like equestrian sports. You can see what a person
looks like when they’re in it. You’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,
you-you do– you ride the horses.
You ride the horses. You ride–” Like, everyone’s got that look.
And then it gets to you, and it’s like, “Uh, I’m sorry,
sir, how did you get in here?” Like, and a lot of people
complained about that initially. -They were like, “Is he bringing
hip-hop to the sport? -I know. “Is he bringing– is he gonna
put, like, a sound system in his car?
Is that what’s happening here?” -That’s exactly how it is.
-But, like, you’ve-you’ve shown that you can still be yourself and be a professional
racing driver at the same time. Has that been
an important journey for you? It really has.
And it’s been really difficult to break that mold.
You know, they-they– There was this saying
that you have to– This is what a racing driver
does. This is how they look. And this is how they talk. -Right. -And to break that mold
has taken a long time. I’ve been– As a– I’ve been
here now– it’s my 11th season. Um, but I think,
in today’s world, you have to transcend. You
have to do something different. You have to, uh,
show your uniqueness -and, um– and not shy away
from that. -Right. And that’s really something
that I’ve really worked hard on. Um, and now it’s accepted.
When I do all this traveling, which is a lot more
than any other racer ever does, and then– and they’re like,
“Oh, he’s gonna be distracted.” And I turn up and I win.
And then they’re-they’re, “Oh, well, that was
good for him.” So… Uh, one of the things
that’s-that’s really fascinating is that difference
that you bring, right? The way you dress has been one
of the key things. You’re always in the magazines
for your fashion sense, and now you’ve taken that
to the next level. You’ve teamed up
with Tommy Hilfiger, right, and I think it’s… the thing is
TommyXLewis, which I say is -“Tommy by Lewis.”
-Tommy by Lewis, yeah. This says, “TommyXLewis,”
and I feel like we need to get this sorted out,
because, like, iPhone says it’s not “X,”
it’s “ten.” -And then, you guys say
it’s not “by,” it’s “X.” -Yeah. And then, like, we got to agree
on what this is. But the fashion itself
is being really well-received. -You had a show in China…
-Yup. …which was phenomenal. Like, you had everyone
from Gigi Hadid there. You-you have the world now
looking to your clothing, and they’re going, like,
“You’re a fashion designer.” How do you go from racing cars
to designing clothes? Like, they don’t… ‘Cause, like, racing drivers
are very, like, very, like, -(with European accent): “Yes,
we turn then we drive.” -Yes. “Then we go straight.”
-Go straight and turns. “Then we come back.” -That’s a racing driver.
-True. And then, you’re like, “Yeah, like, the shapes
and everything.” Like, where did that come from? Honestly, it’s been
an incredible experience. I met Tommy here in New York,
um, like, five years ago, and every time I saw him
he was like, “I love how you’re dressing. We
should do something together.” And I… and I…
I was like, “No way. Tommy wants to do something
with me?” I didn’t truly believe
what he was saying, but, uh.. I’ve had the same thing.
I had H and M say, like, “Yo, you dress really well.” So I mean, we’re both…
we’re both in the same boat. -But, yeah, yeah, carry on.
-(applause and cheering) That’s how we roll.
That’s how we roll. So, yeah. So Tommy Hilfiger says
he likes how you dress. -Yeah.
-Yeah, yeah. So, obviously,
the partnership came up, and I was able to bring them
to the team, so they’re the team sponsor. And, uh, and the opportunity to design
my own clothing collection. So, uh, I really took it on
as a… an internship really,
because I get to learn -from an icon like Tommy.
-Mm-hmm. Um, and I did a lot of homework. I’d been going
to a lot of fashion shows. Well, fashion’s just something
I’ve always been into. And also, just discovering
the looks that I like and discovering
how I want to feel… -how I want to dress
and express myself. -Right. So, um,
and it’s going really well. It’s sold out, and when I was
in Tokyo, it sold out there. I think in the States,
for the first, uh, couple… well, few weeks it came out,
it was a large… Like, 77% of sales,
men’s sales, -was my collection, so it’s
going good. -That’s amazing. -Yeah. -You also have, uh,
really been advocating for, and you implemented it, in
having models who are diverse. You… Like, when I saw
the runway show, -it was everyone who looked
like everyone. -Yeah. It was really beautiful and
different to see on a runway. -And that wasn’t a mistake.
-No, absolutely. So I like to get involved in everything, and I micromanage
everything, so, um, so… What music we’re gonna play. -So I did the music, the
playlist for the show. -Right. When we had the…
It is the men’s show, so, um, it was just going
to be men, and I was like,
“I really want it to be mixed.” I do want women to walk
and dress in these clothes, ’cause, you know,
today’s world, -women do wear men’s clothes.
-Right. And I think diversity
and inclusivity is every… is such an important thing…
message to get across today. And so, that’s what I wanted
to do with my clothing. It’s fantastic, man.
Congratulations -on everything you’re doing.
-Thank you. Excited for the race. The Formula One U.S. Grand Prix
in Austin will take place on October 21, and the TommyXLewis collection
is available now. Lewis Hamilton, everybody.