Hamelin was touched by Hamilton’s kindness. A sporting hero to so many in his personal proper, in that second, the five-time Olympian was simply an overjoyed fan.
“At first I assumed no, it’s in all probability a fanpage. But it surely was actually him,” Hamelin stated. “He’s an idol for me, so for him to take the time to reply to me and tweet about it … it simply made me assume he’s not solely an important athlete on the observe to have achieved what he has, however he’s additionally an important human.”
The native of Sainte-Julie, Que., shall be trackside for this week’s Montreal Grand Prix, as Method One returns to Canada for the primary time since 2019.
Hamelin, who tied long-track speedskater Cindy Klassen’s Canadian Winter Olympic document along with his sixth profession medal — together with 4 gold — and Hamilton, F1’s all-time chief in victories with 103, have dominated their sports activities in contrast to few others.
The similarities don’t finish there. Each sports activities are about racing on a razor-thin edge between glory and catastrophe.
Brief-track speedskating, Hamelin stated, is the world’s quickest sport on a flat floor that doesn’t embody technological assist corresponding to a motorbike, a automobile, or klap skates (in long-track speedskating). Skaters navigate the tight 111-metre observe at a gravity-defying 60 kilometres an hour, nearly face-to-backside in a tightly packed group.
“The passes are so tight and also you rely in your opponents to complete the race in your two skates, if there may be somebody doing a loopy move or one thing harmful, you generally is a sufferer of what he’s doing, a little bit bit like in F1,” stated Hamelin. “You’re doing all of your factor in your automobile and impulsively one thing occurs, a foul move, a silly transfer from somebody, and in the event you go into his automobile, effectively your race is finished.
“By way of studying the opponent, like once you need to move … and understanding the observe, learn how to be environment friendly, learn how to be quick, learn how to be defensive, to not be handed by different skaters behind, it’s all in the identical mindset and the identical means of skating. I discover quite a lot of similarity between the 2 sports activities.
“It’s like us skating on a rink — however in a automobile at 300 kilometres per hour,” laughed Hamilton, who’s an enormous fan of this season’s new helmet-cam in F1 broadcasts.
Athletes should be fearless in each sports activities to succeed, Hamelin added.
“For those who’re scared to go in a flip in short-track, you’re by no means going to hit your better of one of the best you can give on the ice, and there’s another person that may give it 100 per cent, and can take your home, and it’s the identical factor in F1,” he stated. “As quickly as you’re afraid of going right into a flip or passing somebody, effectively, you’re out of the game.”
Hamelin, who has pushed a Lamborghini on a closed racing circuit, has been a Method One fan since fellow Quebecer Jacques Villeneuve, the F1 world champion in 1997, was Canada’s king of auto racing. Hamelin and his brother Francois, additionally a retired short-tracker, and their dad attended the Montreal race most years. They nonetheless watch the races each weekend on TV, texting one another to debate the highlights.
He likes Hamilton not just because he’s been such a dominant driver for years, however for a way vocal the Brit is about quite a few social points.
“He’s behind quite a lot of nice causes,” Hamelin stated. “He’s not scared of claiming what he’s serious about the world.”
Earlier this week, Hamilton defended Sky Sports activities F1 commentator Naomi Schiff, who was bullied on Twitter about her credentials. Schiff, whose dad and mom have been Belgian and Rwandan, was an expert race automobile driver.
“She’s been an important asset since becoming a member of & we should always welcome extra consultant broadcasting with open arms,” Hamilton tweeted. “Nonetheless have a protracted method to go to alter these attitudes in sport.”
Hamelin stated life has been busy since he retired after the world championships this previous spring. There’s been loads of media obligations since he capped his illustrious Olympic profession with a gold within the 5,000-metre relay. His sponsor Crimson Bull flew him and Crimson Bull’s different Beijing and Tokyo Olympic gold medallists to the Monaco Grand Prix in late-Could. Hamilton was eighth there.
He’ll be on the Montreal race on Sunday when the sequence makes it celebrated return to Canada after being cancelled two straight years as a consequence of COVID-19.
The next weekend, he and fiancé Genevieve Tardif are lastly getting married after the pandemic cancelled their marriage ceremony plans two years in a row. They’re travelling to South Africa for his or her honeymoon.
Hamilton, in the meantime, shall be hoping for a podium end in what’s been an off-year for the 37-year-old Mercedes driver. Hamilton has only one podium in eight races, and is sixth within the drivers factors. He was fourth final weekend in Azerbaijan, complaining of utmost again ache afterward.
Hamelin stated he’d love to satisfy the driving force, and even perhaps give him a token of his appreciation.
“It will be an honour for me to offer him one among my helmets.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed June 15, 2022.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press