Lewis Hamilton has spoken about his love of motorbikes, and his belief that MotoGP is a more "hardcore" sport than Formula 1.
Hamilton appeared alongside nine-time motorbike World Champion Valentino Rossi for a joint interview on behalf of mutual sponsor IWC Schaffhausen, where both spoke of their admiration for each other and their respective achievements in the two premier motorsport categories.
Rossi departed the world of motorbike racing at the end of 2021 and will take on a new project in the form of the GT World Challenge Europe series this season.
The Italian superstar explained how MotoGP riders look across to F1 with admiration for what the drivers are able to do, as well as saying that the same respect is afforded to MotoGP by the F1 paddock.
Hamilton agreed with the points made by Rossi, and went on to say that he reckons the motorbike class is more extreme than F1.
Hamilton: The fear factor for MotoGP is always present
"[Valentino] spoke about Formula 1 drivers admiring MotoGP and Moto GP riders admiring F1," Hamilton said.
"For us... I personally think that MotoGP is more hardcore – these guys don't have seatbelts!
"When they have a crash, it's big. It's very, very difficult for them to improve safety, so that fear factor is always there and it's been there for years.
"Maybe there's a bit of traction control and lift control but, generally, you can be thrown off. In [F1], it's getting safer and safer and safer."
Hamilton referenced Romain Grosjean's escape from his dramatic accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix as an example of how much safety has progressed in F1, while MotoGP remains "nerve-racking".
"We had a huge crash just recently," the seven-time F1 title winner commented.
"[The] car [was] in flames and [he got] out. So it's gone from a racing series that was very, very dangerous and people were losing lives many years ago, and I think it's going in the right direction.
"But we watch what he does [Rossi] and what they do in complete shock. These guys are doing 360 kilometres an hour at the end of the straight braking into Turn 1 at Mugello!
"And then they have the high-side moments and all that... it's nerve-racking!"
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Hamilton: I wanted to go motorbike racing!
Hamilton added that he had actually wanted to pursue a career in motorbikes, but his father Anthony wouldn't allow him due to the dangers.
"I've always loved bikes. When I was younger, I actually really wanted to ride bikes more than cars!" Hamilton laughed.
"My dad didn't want me to ride bikes. He said they're too dangerous! So he got me four wheels instead of two.
"I think it was the right choice because, if I was racing during the time that Vale was there, then I probably wouldn't have been as successful!"
Instead, Hamilton has to rely on occasional track outings with his own bike, as well as enjoying media events such as the machine swap between himself and Rossi on behalf of sponsor Monster Energy in Valencia back in 2019.
"Since I've been in F1, I have a superbike and, at the end of the year, I like to go out and do some track days," Hamilton said.
"It's fascinating and gives you a different perspective. Obviously watching on TV is one thing, but it's a lot different to an F1 car.
"We had the privilege of doing that car and bike swap day in Valencia, and it was a real dream come true for me to experience a MotoGP bike and to be on track with the legend himself. It was very, very surreal!"
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