One day at my office in Miami, my friend Helio Castroneves called me out of the blue and told me to come downstairs. After an initial hesitation, as I was up to my neck in work, I went outside to discover the 3-time Indy 500 world champion sitting behind the wheel of a brand new Ferrari, his fi rst big purchase since he started making money as an Indy driver.
“Buckle up,” he told me with a grin and then proceeded to accelerate along Brickell Avenue at a speed I have not experienced since.
This was an exhilarating borderline terrifying joyride so I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Forbes Monaco cover story Sir Lewis Hamilton (see p. 70) to drive the car of his idol Ayrton Senna. It was in July 2010 as part of a segment on Top Gear when Hamilton climbed into the 1988 McLaren MP4/4 in which the late Brazilian won 8 races and his fi rst World Championship.
At 1200 horsepower, the car was 450 more powerful than today’s F1 cars and was “the last of the turbocharged monsters.”
“I have dreamed my whole life of driving that car. It is nothing like the car I drive nowadays,” remarked Hamilton, who was nine when Senna died.
“I can’t even contemplate what it would be like. I loved the fact that Senna would fi ght for what he truly believed in, he put everything into giving that lap and he had no fear.”
Ten years on, in 2020, Hamilton tied with Michael Schumacher’s seven World Drivers’ Championship titles and has now broken all records with his pole positions, podium fi nishes and races won. Can he go on to claim his eighth Championship title?
I can’t even contemplate what it would be like.