According to Lewis Hamilton he ‘never really used to go out’ until 2015. That certainly changed last year and despite winning the world championship he was accused of putting his globe-trotting lifestyle before his racing commitments.
Just how busy Hamilton was away from the track during 2015 is illustrated in the data assembled by F1 Fanatic in the interactive map below based on his Instagram posts.
Hamilton made at least 14 separate visits to the USA during the year involving around two dozen transatlantic crossings in his private jet, only a small number of which were necessary commutes to and from race weekends from his Monaco base.
Hamilton attended fashion shows, charity fundraisers, music concerts and film premieres. He watched the NASCAR championship decider in Miami, the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match in Las Vegas and the Wimbledon tennis final (though famously he was unable to take his place in the royal box due to a dress code error).
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But did this have an effect on his commitment in the cockpit? Hamilton conceded that after wrapping up the title at the Circuit of the Americas he wished the season was over. Once it was he quickly headed State-side once more.
Hamilton indicated his performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix – his worst result of the year – was affected by a celebrity rendezvous on the morning of the race. Having been invited to watch Ridley Scott filming The Martian at a nearby studio, Hamilton later revealed to the BBC in an interview he “didn’t sleep until like one o’clock and then I woke up at 4am” on the morning of the race and as a result he “felt terrible” before the start.
When the race began he immediately lost his advantage from pole position, then went off while trying to pass his team mate and later collided with Daniel Ricciardo. He finished sixth behind Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
While former team principal Ron Dennis tutted at his jet-setting, Hamilton has embraced the greater freedom offered to Mercedes. As the maps below show, he is taking full advantage of it.
However the opportunities for him to do so will be reduced this year as the 2016 F1 calendar has 21 races instead of 19, including six back-to-back events.
And if Hungary showed he has reached the limits of how far he can exploit that freedom before it begins to affect his performance, he may feel those limits even more keenly if he finds himself with a tougher title fight on his hands in 2016.
Follow Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 world tour place-by-place
Planet Hamilton: The world according to the world champion in 2015
NB. Some locations are approximate.
2015 F1 season
- How a secret Mercedes engine mode helped pressure Vettel into a race-ending puncture
- Over 100 driver penalties issued in record-breaking 2015
- Part-time racer? The facts of Hamilton’s ‘jet-set lifestyle’
- A unique atmosphere: Going to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2015 season review