Lewis Hamilton

A whiff of Formula 1

It is a clear winter's day in January 2011. Its engine roaring, you pilot your McLaren MP4-12C into the hotel driveway. You jump out of the 600 HP car and head for the welcome warmth of the Schweizerhof lobby. A slight exaggeration, perhaps. What is true is that you are Lewis Hamilton. Your German friend and Formula One colleague, Adrian Sutil, is waiting for you at table 21 in the Restaurant Galerie.

After a friendly embrace and much slapping of shoulders, you sit down and fall to talking shop about the forthcoming Formula One season. Following your sensational World Championship title in 2008 – you were the youngest driver at the time – and fifth and fourth rankings in the two ensuing years, you've been working hard with the McLaren team to fine-tune the new silver bullet; you're all keen to get back onto the winners' podium.

Dessert is served. A delicious end to a very pleasant get-together with your friend. What you cannot yet know is that

your friendship is destined to cool rapidly in the coming months, a fact that the sensation-hungry media will go to town on...

Almost exactly a year later, in January 2012, the heady smell of Formula One once again hits the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber team driver since 2010, has been invited to attend a photo shoot by sponsors Certina. The Swiss sports watch brand shows imagination by setting the Japanese in the historical ambience of the Schweizerhof. His work done, Kamui stays to have a meal at the hotel’s Restaurant Galerie.

He's one of few from his country not to like sushi, having instead a strong liking for Swiss cuisine. It's just as well: he drives for a Swiss racing team and is considering applying for a residency permit in Switzerland. He gives the game away by writing in the guest book:

«Maybe I should move to Zug, where other Formula One drivers live...»