Lewis Hamilton column: Racing Moss, Stiller filming & Spain aim

Lewis Hamilton Column
Spanish Grand Prix
Venue: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Dates: 8-10 May
BBC coverage details here

It has been three weeks between the last race in Bahrain and this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix but it does not feel like I have had much of a break. I have been flat out.

After Bahrain, I had a couple of days off at home and did some training, and then I flew to Rome to do some filming for the new Zoolander movie.

I play myself in the movie, appearing in a scene at a fashion show - but we started filming at 10pm that night and went straight through to six o'clock the next morning.

I had not met Ben Stiller before, but he came to meet me at home before the shoot and we stood and chatted for a bit, and then we hung around together on set, which was pretty cool.

I was super-tired after that because I had a training session that day as well, and then straight after finishing the Zoolander filming I went straight to Majorca to shoot an advert with Mercedes.

That night I then flew back to Italy for some more filming the next day, this time with Sir Stirling Moss at Monza.

From there, it was back to London to pick up my brother and take him for a nice weekend in Los Angeles.

I had some meetings while I was there but that was a couple of days genuinely free, just doing some training and hanging out. We went to a theme park and it was nice to spend some time with Nic.

I then had to come back to London for some more work with Mercedes before going back to the US, to Las Vegas for the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. We had fantastic seats and the after party was really fun, the whole night was a great experience.

Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton with retail magnate Sir Philip Green at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight
Sat alongside British fashion tycoon Sir Philip Green at the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight

From there, I had to go to New York, where I attended the Met Ball, a charity fundraising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Costume, with Sir Philip Green, which is a really cool evening followed by some great parties.

Sitting back now and talking about all this, it sounds kind of surreal, and often when I am doing it I have to pinch myself. But it felt a bit more normal this time around; I'm not quite sure why.

I had some more meetings the day after that and then I flew back to England on Tuesday evening, spent Wednesday at the Mercedes factory and then flew with my engineers here to Spain for the weekend.

A step back in time

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks, as you can see, but without doubt one of the coolest things I did was the event at Monza with Stirling Moss.

Mercedes took two versions of the 1955 F1 car, the W196, the open-wheeler and the 'streamliner', and Stirling and I drove them on the old Monza banking, which they used for grands prix until 1961.

Lewis Hamilton driving a vintage Mercedes F1 car at Monza
Lewis Hamilton drives a vintage Mercedes F1 car at Monza

I think that might be my favourite car of all time. I just love the sound of it - I'd love to have a road car that sounded like that.

I'd never driven it on the banking before and it was fantastic. It's really fun to drive.

There is a bit of play in the steering, so the car moves around a bit, but going on the banking in it was just mega.

People don't normally drive those old cars fast, but I wanted to get a feeling for what Stirling went through in the old days, so I went for it a bit. It felt good - but so different from what F1 is like now.

Now, it is a sophisticated science. Those cars are like bath tubs with wheels, although of course they were state of the art at the time.

I'm sure if I had been around back then, I would have been crazy enough to be a racing driver then as well.

Driving around the banking with Stirling alongside me was really neat. I was looking over at him, and I could almost picture it in black and white. It felt like I went back in time, like I could have been Fangio.

Hamilton signs the bumper next to the 'scratch'
Hamilton signs the bumper next to the 'scratch'

That wasn't it for the day, though. Mercedes also had an old F1 safety car there and I took that out on the banking, too.

I could push that a little bit more and some of it was heart-in-mouth stuff. The banking is really bumpy - and then it closes down into a little narrow stretch and there is a bump where it rejoins the pit straight on the modern grand prix track.

I hit that and we properly took off, and I damaged the front bumper. It was a really fun day.

Back to business

It's back to the day job this weekend and I hope when we take to the track in Barcelona we can pick up where we left off in Bahrain because it has been a really good start to the season for me.

This has never been one of my strongest races - last year was the first time I won it, and even then my team-mate Nico Rosberg was faster than me and I had to fight him off.

I've had a difficult time with the fans here in the past, because of the awkward relationship Fernando Alonso and I had when we were team-mates at McLaren in 2007.

Things are much better between Fernando and me now, though, and it feels like the support I have here is growing as the years go by.

I would hope that after winning last year, their acceptance of me will be better than it has ever been so far this year.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wins his fourth race in a row in Spain

I expect it to be a close fight with Nico and the Ferraris this weekend, but I think the car will be strong. This is the race where everyone tends to bring a big upgrade package, and we certainly have some new parts on our car.

I have been really happy with the way I am driving and the results have been flowing as well.

Particularly the last two races in China and Bahrain I have felt really strong and controlled.

I just want to try to continue driving like I have been because last year it was too close here and in Monaco and I aim to have a bit more of a cushion this time.

Lewis Hamilton
The two-time world champion relaxes on the water during the Formula 1 break

You can follow Hamilton on Twitter @lewishamilton and you can see exclusive content on his website www.lewishamilton.com

Lewis Hamilton was talking to BBC Sport's Andrew Benson

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