Harvard engineers are looked down on

There are not many drivers in Formula 1 who reflect in public on more than what they are professionally concerned with: their existence as racing drivers. Of those Formula 1 drivers who do it, none has such a great charisma as the Briton Lewis Hamilton, 32, the only pop star of the racing series who could win his fourth world title this Sunday at the race in Austin, Texas .

"The things that a racing driver accomplishes off the racetrack increase his size on the track," said Hamilton in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Saturday edition) about his motivation to ponder questions of world politics, environmental protection - and vegan nutrition . In a way, he sees himself as the successor to the Brazilian Ayrton Senna, who died in an accident in Imola in 1994. "Ayrton was always the person I looked up to, who I felt we might be related because I can identify with him."

A fan of Merkel's refugee policy

And so in the SZ interview, Hamilton also talks about the politics of the German Chancellor and comes out as a fan of her refugee policy. "I love Angela Merkel," says Hamilton. "Opening the borders when nobody else acted: I found that inspiring." He thinks that the right-wing national protest party AfD was elected to the Bundestag "not so cool". In principle, Hamilton welcomes women in top political positions: "In my opinion, women have better judgment than men. They do not think with their ego. They are fundamentally more selfless." Incidentally, he would "very much welcome" women competing in Formula 1. He asks: "Why aren't more young women involved in motorsport?"

In the colorful entertainment scene of Formula 1, Hamilton sees himself not just as an entertainer, but "rather as a source of inspiration. Of course, I could just sit in the car and race. That would inspire a bit. Or I can do more and give people that." Reach your hand to really make a difference. " He doesn't have clear answers to the big questions of politics. "But I can rely on my feelings. When I work with my engineers. They all studied at the best universities in the world. In Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard. When I sit in front of the computer and work with numbers, then have." I don't have the brainpower these guys have. But as soon as I'm in the racing car, I have the same brainpower. "

"The bigger problem is influential people who claim climate change doesn't exist"

Hamilton describes the certainly not outstanding ecological balance of Formula 1 as a "difficult topic". However, he points out that "the impact we Formula 1 drivers have on the environment is negligible compared to the major polluters . Okay: We fly around the world to race. We drive cars privately. And then on the track. Of course, we also pollute the environment. But think of Leonardo DiCaprio and his really great environmental foundation. If he has money worldwide collects for a good cause, how does he get there? He also flies by plane! The bigger problem is influential people who claim that climate change does not exist. " He is thinking of the US President Donald Trump.

Lewis Hamilton, whose grandfather Davidson emigrated from Grenada to England in 1955, "would not wish in a million years that my father had been rich. Or that we had to fight less for survival. My childhood experiences define me as a racing driver today : That we had little money. That I had to drive the damn go-kart. That there were a lot of people who looked down on us back then. "

One of the people who inspire him himself is Hamilton's World Cup rival Sebastian Vettel, who is 59 points behind him in the overall standings four races before the end of the season. "Driving against a champion like Sebastian, against one of the best drivers, if not the best in the field, forces me to raise the bar even higher."

Read the full interview with Lewis Hamilton on SZplus: