Lewis Hamilton has spoken for the first time since the death of Formula 1 great Sir Stirling Moss.
Moss, widely regarded as the greatest driver never to win the title, passed away on April 12 and was rightly lauded by the motor-racing community.
Six-time F1 champion Hamilton recalls a particular day in 2015 when he and Moss drove vintage Mercedes Silver Arrows around Monza, and the feelings of being transported back in time to the era when his British compatriot made his name.
"I’ve been with Mercedes since 1997, so over that time, particularly once I got to Formula 1, I’ve got to experience a few of the cars, and there was that particular day when I got to spend a few hours with Sir Stirling in Monza," said Hamilton, speaking in an interview on Mercedes' Youtube channel.
"It’s mind-blowing when you think of how it’s all evolved. The technology back then was amazing but so basic compared to what we have today, and just having conversations with people like him who – clearly we have something in common. We love racing, we have quite a bit in common actually, so we get on like a house on fire."
F1 has changed considerably since Moss' time in the sport, with Hamilton shocked by the attitudes towards safety in the 1950s and early '60s.
Hamilton added: "He would tell me things like, there’s no seat belt in the car and not a particularly comfortable cushion, and your legs are spread because the pedals are separated by quite a bit, by almost a metre.
"He would say, ‘you hope that if you crash, you fall out. You’d hope you’ll get thrown out’ and it’s just a different way of thinking to what you would think today.
"You’d want to be safe and today it's all about wearing a seat belt and about that protection. Back then they were like ‘you don’t want to get stuck in that car because you’ll get burnt alive, crushed or whatever it is’."
Hamilton returned his thoughts to the afternoon spent driving the banking at Monza side-by-side with Moss in cars from an era long consigned to the history books.
"I remember driving along the bank of the circuit at Monza and I didn’t want to wear a helmet because obviously the helmet we have today is much different to back then," said Hamilton.
"Back then they basically had on almost a hard builder's cap with the goggles, so I wore my cap and I got the feeling of the air going past my face and [I was] just trying to make it as realistic as possible.
"I could see him to the right and I felt for a brief moment that I was in his time, and I was driving alongside just such a legend. God rest his soul."
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