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'Poor' Hamilton hungry for Monaco win

2014-05-23 10:02

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Lewis Hamilton says his poor upbringing gives him the edge over his rich-born team mate Nico Rosberg. Ironically, in May 2014 Hamilton earns much more than his team mate. Image: AP/Luca Bruno

ALAN BALDWIN

MONTE CARLO, Monaco  - Lewis Hamilton, leader of the 2014 Formula 1 championship, has suggested his less-privileged past made him hungrier for success than Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg who grew up among Monaco millionaires.

They are separated by only three points after five races and Hamilton was adding to the "mind games" ahead of Sunday's (May 25) 2014 Monaco GP in an interview with Formula1.com.

Hamilton said: "Let me tell you this: I come from a not-great place in *Stevenage and lived on a couch in my dad's apartment. Nico grew up in Monaco with jets and hotels and boats and all these kind of things."

‘HUNGRIEST GUY IN THE COCKPIT’

Asked about a suggestion in the German news media that Rosberg was "too soft to stand up to Hamilton's killer instinct", Hamilton added: "So, the hunger is different. I want to be the hungriest guy in the cockpit of all 22 of us (drivers)... if I were to come here believing that Nico was hungrier than me then I might as well go home.

"I've got to be the hungriest - to win the championship you need to be the hungriest."

Hamilton, who spoke earlier in May 2014 about visiting malnourished children in Haiti as a Unicef ambassador, has come a long way since he lived in social housing and his father held down a number of jobs to pay for his karting career.

His paternal grandfather migrated to Britain from the Caribbean.

Hamilton, who undoubtedly has more in the bank than Rosberg,  is now also a Monaco resident but spends much of his free time in Los Angeles with singer-girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and was ranked in May 2014 as the most marketable athlete in the world by SportsPro magazine.

He's topped the UK’s Sunday Times list of Britain's wealthiest active sportsmen with a fortune estimated to be worth R1-billion.

Rosberg won from pole in 2013 in Monaco, the Mediterranean seaside city he has known since boyhood as son of 1982 F1 champion Keke.

Hamilton has won the previous four races of 2014 with Rosberg second in each, though he won the season-opener in Australia after Hamilton retired. He knows a win in Monaco will deal a huge blow to his team mate.

‘IMPOSSIBLE TO BE BEST FRIENDS’

The two were team mates in karting and remain on good terms, even if that looks likely to change as the season progresses. Hamilton revealed he had stored his safe in Rosberg's house while his team mate said there would "always be something in his fridge' for Hamilton.

Hamilton said: "When you're so competitive it is impossible to be best friends - but then it stays respectful. We will always have the years in karting, that kind of foundation of a long time ago."

Despite that,  Hamilton was clear that the best result for him on Sunday would be "finishing first, (Ferrari's) Fernando (Alonso) finishing second and (Red Bull's) Sebastian (Vettel) finishing third.”

* Stevenage is a town about 50km north of London built immediately after the Second World War as one of a number of English "new towns" intended to repair and rebuild communities. Most are now less-privileged.

2014 Monaco GP:
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First practice

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