Monday, 12 march 2018, 08:52 , by Matthew Scott
Lewis Hamilton has labelled tennis icon Roger Federer as an inspiration as he looks to leave his own mark on Formula 1. Hamilton is aiming for a fifth world title in 2018, an achievement which would leave only Michael Schumacher ahead of him.
Schumacher won a record seven world titles in his career, Juan Manuel Fangio is a five-time champion with Hamilton among a three-strong group of drivers on four crowns.
Among that group is current rival Sebastian Vettel, who fell short in his attempts to beat Hamilton last year.
Hamilton has already broken Schumacher's record for most pole positions and the Brit says the continued success of Federer, who won his 20th grand slam title in Australia this year, is also a source of inspiration.
"I always come back to talking to Roger Federer, but he's a great example," Hamilton said.
"He has managed to become the number one again.
"He is a happy family man, he is very wealthy, but still he has this tremendous inner drive to reach new heights.
"Maybe that's really a sign of greatness."
Hamilton also counts young racer Billy Monger as an inspiration.
Monger required a double leg amputee last year after a high-speed crash, but has already returned to racing.
Hamilton believes the British teenager's story echoes Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs in a crash but has gone on to win four Paralympic gold medals in para-cycling.
"For me, Billy is a shining star," Hamilton added. "Everyone knows that he has been through difficult times.
"But how he copes with that is very inspiring for me. He is very mature for his age, I can only marvel at his attitude, absolutely exemplary. His family can be very proud of him.
"This year he starts Formula 3 and has given me some details on his race car.
"Billy reminds me a lot of Alex Zanardi, whom I also look up to. Zanardi is a fabulous athlete, a very strong personality.
"Despite his setback, he has returned to the competition stage and now has, how many were? Half a dozen Olympic medals won.
"Billy knows exactly what Alex has achieved in his career. He has a great future ahead of him and knows that he receives a lot of support. I am very happy that he races again.
"I find it unbelievable that he can go on his way despite the terrible accident. We can all learn a lot from people like Zanardi or Billy."