Tonight was a really great evening at Tazmania Ballroom. I saw that Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton was in town, and I figured that if he was here on a Tuesday, then it's a near guarantee he'll be at Taz. I didn't want to wake up in the morning and see statuses that I didn't get the chance to meet him, so I headed out and bumped into some friends at Taz. After playing some ping pong (I used to play for county in the UK, first time playing properly in 7 years - was good fun!), Lewis arrived. I'm not really a fan of taking snaps with celebrities, or bothering them so much, because at the end of the day they are still people who just want to enjoy themselves, but thanks to Glecy Vhee and the great staff at Taz, I was able to meet Lewis and chat with him for a bit.
Firstly, I have to say my experience was that he was a genuine and warm person. I said something of the following in our brief encounter "Lewis, my name is Dan and I'm a fellow British race car driver. In 2009, upon watching your amazing performances in Formula One and becoming obsessed with the sport, I decided to drop my studies and become a race car driver. I first spoke to your father in that year, after I broke into the British Grand Prix paddock actually, and was totally inspired. My father re-mortgaged our house to put me through a season of Formula Ford where I won races, and then I was picked up by the RSF and put into Formula Renault. I beat Kyvat in the UK Finals Series, but then without further sponsorship I moved to Hong Kong with 800 British Pounds with a dream to make it to the top. I've won my last 11 races and managed to test the WSR 3.5 car, beating the European Champ on my first and only morning in the car."
Of course, being in a loud club in a VIP area, it can be quite challenging to get a message across, but Lewis responded in a really warm and engaging way, saying to keep on pushing through and that it will be worth it in the end. Inspired by my girlfriend Siu Nga Chong who had asked if F1 racers mentored younger race drivers (akin to that of experienced yoga teachers taking on less experienced 'apprentices'), I asked if he would be interested in doing such a thing - so I passed my business card to him and he gave me a very firm handshake, looked me straight in the eye and told me to keep pushing.
I'm not really one to get starstruck when meeting celebrities, but afterwards I realised the significance of this event. It made me think back to something I've not often given much credit. Without Lewis Hamilton, I would not be a racing driver today. It was he who got me so passionate about the sport, and who gave me my first belief that if I had the talent, I could get to the top of motorsport (in whatever shape or form). Now, he may or may not ever get in touch via my business card, but I feel very sure that this will not be the last time I meet Lewis, and I dream that one day I can have the pleasure to race alongside him just as I have done so in my dreams.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to not only meet one of my heroes, but for the experience not to disappoint me, but surpass my expectations. I wish Lewis all the best in the 2016 Formula One World Championship. Tomorrow I'll be re-doubling my efforts in my path on the motorsport ladder...
#Believe #BelieveInLH #F1 #Racing #Motorsport