Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2018

Hamilton explains topless podium celebration

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he stripped off on the podium after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix because he wanted to draw attention to his ‘Still I Rise’ tattoo.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Hamilton. “I wanted to show ‘Still I Rise’ and I think it was the perfect moment because that’s really how it’s been this year.”

Hamilton said he had taken inspiration from the Maya Angelou poem as well as from Billy Monger, the Formula Three driver who returned to racing this year after losing parts of both legs in a crash last year.

“I really would encourage anyone who doesn’t know what ‘Still I Rise’ is, it’s a poem, please go and read it,” said Hamilton. “It applies to anybody who’s stumbling and falling.

“Like Billy Monger, he’s been an inspiration to me this year, which I’m sure he’ll find really strange because he probably looks up to me in the sense that he wants to be in Formula 1. But what he’s done, and so many people who’ve gone through difficult times, that’s really what ‘Still I Rise’ is all about.

“I’m trying to be as big a spokesman I can be about it. So that’s really why I did it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Hamilton explains topless podium celebration”

  1. Automatic yellow card? Lewis sure knows how to play the game, Liberty should pay him a promotional fee, he’s their No 1 asset.

  2. @ I like where he did it.. ;)

    Next up, playing keyboards with G N’ R?

    1. @budchekov +1 Not quite what the hosts were expecting maybe.

  3. I keep the same words on a note on my desk and like a lot of people hold them dear, but I can show them at the office with my shirt on. I’m not going to clutch my pearls too hard though. I feel like tattoos are the norm for millennials and those younger now, and I suppose they are there to be seen other than by one’s spouse or masseuse.

  4. I am conflicted by Lewis.

    He has worked hard to be the best in his field and isn’t scared to be himself and I admire anyone with the balls to defy convention.
    Sometimes though – he can really seem like a bit of a ……..

    1. Yeah, a game changer..

    2. My litmus test is ‘would Jeremy Clarkson approve?’ The Shoey? Yes? Body tattoos and Maya Angelou? No.
      So a good podium result all round.

      1. A whole new “what would JC do?”

      2. Having worked with Jeremy Clarkson for years, I think you don’t understand that what you see is a carefully crafted character. You have next to no idea what the real man would or would not approve of, and his character approves or disapproved of whichever is funnier that week

        1. @William Jones
          That may be true, but obviously I’m talking about what the ‘Jeremy Clarkson’ persona would approve, not what the ‘Real Jeremy Clarkson’ thinks, which, as you say, I’ve no idea about, but I’m willing to accept is probably more real than, say, the Real Donald Trump… :o)

      3. Sorry there @david-br, but I think the simple fact it’s about a Poem, and would require someone to go and read a bit, would automatically set off alarmbells for JC.

        To me, it is actually great to see this. I really dug the moment. Why? Because it was not a “Manly gorilla beating on his chest showing tattoos” moment, but instead it was him taking an oppertunity to show the world what motivates him. It was made better by Vettel and Verstappen both hosing him down with rose water.

        The explaining of it, referencing reading, a poem, and how he feels motivated and inspired by a guy like Billy Monger and by the poem only makes it even more of a great moment IMO.

        1. @bascb Couldn’t agree more.

      1. Hard not to cringe sometimes, isnt it?

        1. He’s like Senna in that respect

  5. Can anyone ever imagine Ron Dennis allowing this when Hamilton was at McLaren? Credit to Mercedes as well for giving him this freedom. Not a fan of what he did, but hey, to each their own.

    1. I think we should please ourselves more often and not try to please others so much. We are a nation of people pleasers but we should live our lives how we want to live them. Why do some people think they can dictate how others conduct themselves. They should mind their own business and get on with their agenda and stop interfering with others.

  6. “Still I rise” was what he was showing!

    I don’t know if he realised that to most of the audience it looked like he stripped down to show the cross on his back in an Islamic country.

    1. Yeah, I think he got carried away here. But I have to say I do admire what he brings to the sport. In the car and out of it.

    2. @todfod Good point. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    3. Yeah, i also thought it was a bit in-your-face-ish @todfod . Have to say i’m generally surprised (in a positive way) nobody seems to be making a fuss about it, actually.

      1. @mrboerns – what can they do? Ban F1? :-) That would be counterproductive to their aim of hosting F1, and would probably end up making many fans happier!

        1. @phylyp They could fine Lewis for it (in theory – in practise, I think it is only enforced in shopping malls sporadically, and in mosques for obvious reasons). He’d probably think the press from it would be worthwhile, and it would make the conservative elements of the nation more content. I’m sort of surprised they didn’t, given the cultural expectations to keep torsos covered in public applies to men and women alike in the UAE.

    4. Is the cross not a holy symbol to Muslims? They do after all believe in Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection.

      1. Are you sure? I was under the impression they believe Christ to be a prophet and nothing more. Could be wrong though.

        1. Not generally in the crucifixion or resurrection.

          1. You’re right, they believe someone else was crucified in his place and so when he turns up later, it wasn’t because he came back to life as he was never dead.

            Honestly makes a lot more sense, why in the Bible does Jesus ask God why he has forsaken him, when it earlier reveals that Jesus knew the plan

          2. why in the Bible does Jesus ask God why he has forsaken him, when it earlier reveals that Jesus knew the plan

            Will Jones – pretty much because the “new testament” part is not written by a single author but by several who relate more or less the same events from their own points of view. So some mentions different things than others. Since none of them were written before centuries after “the fact”, it’s all interpretation and 3rd hand stories anyway.

    5. If he did it to show the cross in that hell hole area of the world then God bless him. Careful though the camel huggers will have you for spying.

      1. Agree 100%, Markp.

        1. Nothing like a bit of casual racism to brighten the morning.

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        26th November 2018, 13:22

        Except Matthew Hedges has already been pardoned with immediate effect. And the ‘hell hole’ you describe is home to thousands of very happy British expats making a living in hospitality, law, real estate and starting families in a country largely devoid of gun and knife crime.

        I lived in Dubai for 5 years investing and running nightclubs no less. Never had anything but great times and no trouble with the law.

        No place for rhetoric like this here @keithcollantine

        1. Hear, hear.

  7. No problem with this myself. Would have been funnier if he’d have removed his toupe though.

    1. Does he wear a toupe? I’m not sure. I thought he had a surgical hair transplant.

  8. They may as well have given Button some more penalty points today.

    1. That was meant for the Alonso thread.

  9. My first reaction was “He’s just showing off!”. But then I thought – hang on, he’s got good reason to feel pride in his achievements and take strength from his inspirations. He’s a 5 time champion. Like him or not he’s claimed his place as one of the all-time greats. We get so used to people towing the corporate line that its shocking when Max attacks, Alonso sunbathes, or Lewis strips.

  10. Mark in Florida
    25th November 2018, 21:14

    Still I rise, isn’t that the catchphrase for Viagra? I found the whole episode rather tasteless.

  11. I had no problem with it, but when was he “stumbling and falling”?

    1. (@matthijs) in karting he took a lot of flak. those racial slurs last a lifetime. I’m ex SA so I know exactly how he feels.

      What I do feel though is that he is such an ambassador for the sport that I wish he hadn’t done what he did because most people will just misinterpret it.

      It looks like a christian dig at an islamic audience which I feel absolutely sure it wasn’t.

      In my opinion it takes great courage and inner strength not to react.

      1. showing great courage and inner strength.

  12. What is with the whole Will Smith thing? Is he from Stevenage or something?

    1. an aging actor seeking the limelight. I would say raining on someone else’s parade.

      1. Will Smith seeking limelight? Lol

    2. Are Will Smith and Hamilton friends? Or is the Middle East a popular market for Will Smith’s films? Liberty being media-savvy, they’re probably making the best use of an opportunity.

      1. Before Hamilton had a championship he had Nicole Zingerburger hanging around. Five championships deep I was expecting more than the Fresh Prince from the 90’s.

        1. He is now doing what he wants not whats expected so is now confident to show he bats for tge other side. All power to him.

  13. A man of ethics and compassion.
    Lewis is a Champion in life and on the track.

  14. Hm, I wonder why the picture was changed, the earlier one had all 3 drivers in it.

    1. @phylyp Probably to show the subject of the article (the tattoo) more clearly.

  15. What is a problem, a sportsman takes of his top after winning an important event… why does this bother people?

    Now if a sports woman took the top of it would at least be interesting, but this is nothing to mention.

  16. I hope he does not do this again.

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