Lewis Hamilton is often put up on a pedestal as being F1’s box office asset. To testify, it’s hard to think of another driver with enough pulling power to nab a seat on The Ellen De Generes Show – one of the juggernaut’s of US chat-show television.
Hamilton joined Tyler Perry and Maren Morris on the bill – yeah, I had no idea either – and had just ten minutes of screen time where Ellen’s mission statement seemed to be to simply promote the US Grand Prix.
Lewis obliged, highlighting what F1 was all about. This wasn’t an interview for the entertainment of F1 fans, nor was it something that Sky or Channel 4 would have any interest in showing, even if they had the required rights. Heck, Hamilton even had to explain that F1 has “high-tech” cars.
Despite this, I still found the interview intriguing. This was a crucial shop window for F1, as was the US Grand Prix as a whole, particularly given the presence of Taylor Swift during the weekend.
I’m reliably informed that she’s quite a big deal.
When the very fundamentals of the sport are being explained, it puts into context just how incredible the spectacle is. Two second pit-stops are what we, as F1 fans, have become accustomed to. For Joe Bloggs – who spent an hour and a half at his local garage waiting for Dave to replace his two rear tyres last week – it is positively unbelievable.
Hamilton’s right; F1 cars are just like “planes upside down.” Having watched F1 for years, you reach a point where you feel like you can see the downforce. From the outside looking in, it must seem like magic.
My point is, it’s important as F1 fans, not to lose sight of how outrageously brilliant our sport is. Sure, it has it’s problems and not every race can be as epic as the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, but let’s look on the positives that had Ellen’s audience gasping as Lewis explained them.
Who knows, you may even speak to an F1 super-fan in the future whose first race was the 2016 US Grand Prix after watching The Ellen Show that week. Let’s all have that guy/girl’s enthusiasm to the sport!