Lewis Hamilton believes that he has done more to promote Formula 1 than any driver has in its 66-year history.
Hamilton enjoys a significant celebrity presence away from racing as well as being on track, and was recently named as one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world.
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has often praised Hamilton for doing his bit to promote the sport away from the track, with many other drivers opting to stay away from the limelight.
Hamilton said that he does not feels he owes F1 anything given the amount of effort he has put into promoting it since making his grand prix debut back in 2007.
“I’ve been here for 10 years, given my blood, sweat and tears for the sport. So, I don’t feel like I owe it anything,” Hamilton told CNN.
“I actually probably promote the sport more than any other driver ever has.
“I’m at more events talking about Formula 1 more than any driver ever has, probably all the other drivers put together and more.
“I don’t feel like I have any more of a responsibility. I’ve got some incredible fans and I give as much time as I can to motivate them and energize those who do follow me.
“So I don’t know what else I have to give.”
Hamilton recently admitted that he felt like he was racing under a “dark cloud” after a tough start to the season that has seen him already slip 36 points behind Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship.
Although Hamilton did praise Rosberg, he was quick to say that the German should enjoy his success while it lasts.
“He’s done a great job. I’ve not been there to really be in the fight with him,” Hamilton said.
“He’s had pretty much a breeze for the last three races. Good for him.
“But he should enjoy it whilst it lasts, because you never know how long it’s going to last.”