Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has been included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.
Launched in 1999, the Time 100 has been acknowledging those who make important contributions around the globe, releasing an annual list since 2004. For each person selected, special guests are asked to write a portrait feature. Here is what 1978 F1 champ’ and US racing legend Mario Andretti offered on Hamilton:
“You could tell Lewis Hamilton was special from the very start of his Formula One career. Here was someone who was given, at the age of 22, one of the best cars anyone could ever have, and a year later he had won his first world championship.
“Today he is at the highest echelon of the sport. If he were to retire tomorrow, he would still be among the very best champions who have ever lived. And I think he’s just getting started. The sky is the limit for him.
“What makes Lewis different is his attitude. He exudes confidence, but he is serene. I would have loved to race against him, because it would have been a great challenge. It doesn’t seem like anything can rattle him, and that really plays on your mind as a competitor.
“The most fascinating thing about Lewis is his life outside the sport. He’s curious: he has spent a lot of time learning about different cultures, and his own background has helped broaden our sport’s appeal. Me, I raced on six continents, and I can describe a lot of airports. But one day Lewis is at a fashion show in China, and the next he’s cuddling with tigers in Mexico. I’m not sure I could have done all that and kept focused. But he does, and he is.”
Having recently told CNN he felt like the best ambassador F1 has ever had, Hamilton took to his Instagram account to say he was “honoured” to be on the Time 100.
Truly honoured to be in the 2016 @TIME 100 Most Influential list #TIME100