Lewis Hamilton has opened up about why he has joined a consortium that is bidding to buy Chelsea Football Club.
Reports emerged this week linking Hamilton to the bid, in which he was said to have partnered with tennis player Serena Williams.
The choice of Chelsea came as a surprise to some, given that Hamilton has long been thought to be an Arsenal supporter, but the seven-time World Champion has explained his background with the sport.
"I've been a football fan since I was a kid," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com, ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
"I played football from probably from the age of four till I was 17. I was in teams. Every year I played in the school team, every year through through my childhood. [I've] been to numerous games."
Is Hamilton an Arsenal or Chelsea fan?
"When I was young, around the corner from where I lived, I used to
play football with all the kids and a couple of my close friends at the
time. I really wanted to fit in," Hamilton continued.
"I was the only kid of colour there, but I knew that the kids all supported someone different. One was Tottenham [Hotspur], one was Man U [Manchester United].
"I remember switching between these teams when I was younger, and getting home, and my sister punched me several times in the arm, saying, 'You have to support Arsenal'. So I remember at five, six years old that I then became a supporter of Arsenal."
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Hamilton saw "great opportunity" in Chelsea bid
Hamilton says he has been to watch Chelsea play on several occasions, and sees the opportunity to bid for the club as "something so great".
"My Uncle Terry is a big blues fan, so I've been to so many games with him to watch Arsenal and Chelsea play," the Mercedes driver explained.
"And ultimately, I'm a sporting fan. It is the biggest sport in the world, and Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world and most successful.
"When I heard about this opportunity, I was like, 'Wow, this is one of the greatest opportunities to be a part of something so great'."
How the process happened for Hamilton
Hamilton and Williams are said to have pledged up to £10 million each as part of the investment team of Sir Martin Broughton, who is heading the group looking to buy the London club.
Reflecting on the process of how the bid came about, Hamilton admits that Broughton's values aligned with his own.
"Naturally, I heard about it [the sale of Chelsea] on the news. Everyone's obviously aware of it," he said.
"We were contacted, and Sir Martin took the time to speak to me on the phone and explain his and his team's goals for if they were to win the bid, which was incredibly exciting, and it was very much aligned with my values."
Hamilton says that it brought back memories of collecting football cards and stickers as a child, as well as playing the game himself.
"I was trying to be the best player I could be, and actually play for a team," the Briton commented.
"So I was trying to try out for Stevenage Borough when I was younger, but then I ended up following the racing. [I] could have only ever dreamed of being part of a team and an actual integral part of a team, so that's for me the most exciting thing."
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