Lewis Hamilton Talks Miami Grand Prix, Fighter Pilots, and Tom Brady?
It starts like the premise to a joke: Formula One GOAT Lewis Hamilton and football GOAT Tom Brady are playing golf when Brady turns to Hamilton and asks, “Have you ever been hit by a ball?”
“Oh, God,” Hamilton says, “I got hit right in between the shoulder blades.”
But this is not a joke; ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday, May 8, Hamilton is out and about, and that includes a charity golf event, where he is paired with recent Florida transplant and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB1 Brady. It’s here where the odd couple sits down with Men’s Health ostensibly to talk about their shared love of green pants, which they both wear, and of the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert,” which both have around their celebrated wrists.
(To be clear, Hamilton was not hit by a golf ball between his million-dollar shoulder blades in Miami; as he unrolls the story, it involves an uncle, a foggy day, and a one-in-a-million shot. “That hurts,” seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady says sympathetically, in what we must emphasize is still not a joke.)
But Hamilton deftly transitions from the perils of extended family and outdoor sports to the topic at hand: the IWC watch trusted by pilots since the 1940s, and now presented in a whole new look. Its massive 46-millimeter ceramic case and dial have been daubed the palate of the West, but the trusted Swiss automatic movement remains as durable and resilient as ever.
“A fighter pilot is always something I’ve been fascinated with, and I always wanted to be some sort of pilot. I thought they were the coolest beings on the planet,” Hamilton says. And as he elaborates, the reasoning is clear: It’s the precision. It’s that same precision that excites him in racing, from the competition itself to the seeming banality of a car in the garage taking shape, piece by perfectly fit piece. It’s the same feeling he gets, he says, visiting the IWC headquarters in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and witnessing the 500 or so pieces which comprise a watch carefully assembled under magnification by master craftsmen and technicians. “All balanced perfectly,” he says. “There’s a lot of synergies between that and what I do in my sport.”
Read more: Best Luxury Watches for Men
Miami is the fifth event of the 2022 F1 season, and it’s a fair summary to conclude things have not gone Hamilton’s way this year. Despite his seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (a tie for most ever with driving legend Michael Schumacher), Hamilton has finished well down in the standings to date. The winningest driver of all time has yet to win a race, finishing no higher than third while limping in 13th at the most recent event, Italy’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on April 24.
In Hamilton’s recounting, the physical preparation is there, including the grueling two-a-day workouts six days a week, which include morning cardio and an afternoon strength training sessions. Nutrition, which ensures his body weight won’t fluctuate (necessary due to the extreme fine-tuning of the car), as well as the pre-race acclimatization for a hot, sweaty event like Miami, during which dehydration can be a factor, is also in place.
Even the mental component, which ensures razor-sharp decision-making in literal life-and-death situations, is firing on all cylinders. “I don’t think there’s a secret,” he concludes. “I think it’s a combination of many factors in life. It’s about finding a way to find your center, tapping into your chi. And otherwise it’s just that single-minded focus on being the best you can be, and that discovery process of how good you can be.”
He continues, “I just feel like there’s nothing we can’t do, and there is no limit to how good we can be—we ultimately limit ourselves, these invisible barriers we have built up in our own minds. So it’s about facing those head on and finding ways of knocking them down.”
Hamilton and Brady shift to talk on their respective charities, for which the watches they wear will be auctioned off and the proceeds donated. They chat about their first meeting, “seven or eight years ago,” Brady guesses, at an F1 race in Montreal, and then again at a Met Gala of years past. “I’ve been super inspired by [Hamilton] and his amazing ability as a driver,” Brady says. “But what he stands for, what he means to the sporting community, and the global sports community — he has a serious responsibility toward that, which i recognize we all should.”
As the pair’s time comes to a close, we ask Brady if he’s got any advice for Hamilton on Sunday (an absurd question, but we persist).
“I’m not giving him any advice,” Brady says. “He doesn’t need it from me.”
“I always welcome it though,” Hamilton counters.
And then the clouds part, the music swells (at least in our head), and Brady delivers as stirring a halftime speech as only the greatest football player of all time can conjure. “I know the season hasn’t gone the way he wanted, but I have no doubt it’s going to be one of his most memorable seasons because of what he’s going to achieve and overcome from it.”
Brandy continues, “The hardest things in my life have always been the best things, because I’ve learned the most and had to dig the deepest, saw who supported me the most, saw who came to my assistance and helped through trying times. That’s how you learn more about yourself. Everybody wants to win every time. But it’s [the hardest] moments when you learn about yourself, you learn about the people you’re surrounded with, and thats’s only going to make you better and better in different areas of life.”
It’s uncertain how Miami will end. Hamilton seems centered and prepared, but anything can happen in a race. Whether he rejoins the winner’s circle or continues his wandering in the desert, he’s learning—and with his IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert,” he’ll be able to mark precise time until his return.
Read more: Best Watches for Men
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