F1 star Lewis Hamilton has given one of his most revealing interviews, discussing the inspiration he takes from Kanye West, why being linked to Insta-famous women like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner is bad for his brand and his passion for music.
The three-time world champion spoke at length with London daily business newspaper City A.M. about his off-track interests and the perception they take his focus away from performing for Mercedes.
It's a suggestion the 31-year-old flatly rejects. "It doesn't matter what the pundits say - 'Oh he's off travelling and partying' - I turn up and I win," Hamilton said. "Don't talk to me about what I can and can't do. I define who I am, I'm not defined by what people say. I might be in 10 different countries in a week, but I'll turn up at the track and kill it."
Music has been one of Hamilton's great loves for most of his life - he plays the guitar, drums and piano and can often be found in the recording studio late at night.
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He's worked with several high-profile hip hop producers and received advice on how to approach getting into the industry by Kanye West.
"I went to see him at his house," Hamilton said. "And he goes 'You know, you're just like me, me and you are very much the same.
"He said 'I'm big in the music world but I'm trying to do what I love in fashion and people don't like it. You're big in your racing world but you love your music, and people will probably struggle to accept that. You need to do what you love and not give a f*** about what anyone thinks'.
"Ultimately we shouldn't feel like we need to shrink ourselves for other people to feel comfortable. Kanye's outspoken, to say the least. I love that. He's electrifying in everything he does. I wish I could be that outspoken, I really do. But I'm signed to all these brands that have an idealistic image that they wish to be connected with, so I need to be careful."
As one of the world's richest sportsmen with endorsement deals with the likes of IWC, Bombardier and L'Oreal has to be ever-conscious of how he presents himself.
That includes being linked to an ever-growing list of women since his high-profile split from pop star Nicole Scherzinger, including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Barbara Palvin.
"It's not good for the brand, but I don't really care," Hamilton said. "What the tabloids and gossip sites write makes no difference to my life, and it's not going to stop me winning races. Since school I've always been into girls, and there are some beautiful girls out there and that's definitely a good thing. I certainly can't complain."