Lewis Hamilton Admits Random People Try to Race Him at Stoplights

A day in the life of an F1 driver, apparently.
Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Miami Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Miami Grand Prix / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

One of the many side effects that come along with being a professional athlete is dealing with fans out in public. For Lewis Hamilton, a world-famous F1 driver, those interactions occasionally tilt more dangerous than in other professions.

Hamilton is set to appear on Thursday's episode of Hot Ones, and on Wednesday a teaser of the conversation he had with Sean Evans was posted to the show's YouTube page. In the teaser Hamilton revealed that random people who pull up next to him at stoplights and realize who he is sometimes challenge him to a race. The Mercedes driver also admitted that, when he was younger, he may have taken them up on that offer.

"What kind of reaction do you get when someone pulls up alongside of you and then sees that it's, you know, Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel next to them?" Evans asked.

"I've had people be at traffic light and want to race," Hamilton said. "Definitely when I was young, I'd felt like... Let's smoke this fool."

If anything it marks an interesting contrast between professional drivers and other professional athletes. The opportunities for the average person to challenge a pro athlete on their field is pretty rare; chance encounters with LeBron James on a basketball court where he can be challenged to a game of 21 are nonexistent, for example.

But in theory anyone could be out and about, doing errands, and pull up next to Hamilton with the opportunity to challenge him to his sport. It doesn't sound like he would take anyone up on that anymore, but it is a fascinating difference in fan interaction.

The 2024 season will mark Hamilton's last with Mercedes. News broke ahead of the year that he will be joining Ferrari in 2025 to replace Carlos Sainz Jr. Hamilton hasn't won a race since the 2021 season but with seven top-10 finishes in the first eight races this season, that ignominious streak could come to an end. His next opportunity to do so will come on June 9 for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Liam McKeone


Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his teamโ€™s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.