Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton hails ‘inspirational’ Serena Williams

Three-time world champion says tennis ace is ‘greatest athlete we have’

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Lewis Hamilton is drawing inspiration in his quest to clinch an unlikely fourth world title this weekend from arguably the greatest women’s tennis player in history, Serena Williams.

Hamilton eulogised his close friend and the American world No. 2 as “the greatest athlete we have of our generation today” ahead of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Briton is 12 points behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ standings going into the Yas Marina Circuit season finale,

But he’s hoping the “mesmerising” impact the 22-time grand slam champion has on him can help galvanise his bid to dash Rosberg’s hopes of a maiden global crown.

“I was actually with Serena last week in LA,” he said at a pre-race media conference. “She came out to Mexico [for the grand prix in October], which for me was a real honour to have someone of her power, someone who has achieved so much. Growing up watching her career, absolutely being inspired by her and still today by her drive.

“She’s maybe the greatest athlete we have of our generation today and I am so very proud to have had her there and be friends with her.”

The 31-year-old added of Williams, who holds the record for the most grand slam titles (38) in singles and doubles of active men and women players: “We generally don’t talk; we generally have a lot of fun when we are around each other. We’re always laughing and joking and enjoying life away from sport, so it’s generally not something we generally talk about, although because she’s been to F1, she’s generally really interested in cars now and she has asked me a lot of questions about how it feels and all the technical things about Formula One, because she was there, she perhaps didn’t understand everything that was going on, it was her first grand prix [in Mexico].

“But yeah, I’m absolutely mesmerised by what she has achieved and definitely inspired by her as an athlete and as a human being and so I am trying to learn from her. Every now and then she’ll give me a bit of that magic in her words.”

 

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