There’s an electricity crackling through the air, excitement all around, and anxious anticipation consumes the throngs of fans, photographers, film crews and hangers-on gathered at Monza’s Formula 1 paddock gates. “Here he comes,” one excitable snapper opines. Like thunder approaching at speed a mighty roar can be heard as, sounding like an angry velociraptor on a charge, a glossy dark red, silver and black MV Augusta superbike hoves into view.
Sitting astride his mighty ride, the black-helmeted dude in the shiny red silk bomber jacket (garishly embroidered with a winged insect and colourful flowers!) comes to a halt. Composing himself, he applies front brake pressure, hooks first gear and twists the accelerator grip. The roar from the 1000cc monster is deafening as clouds of white rubber smoke engulf the rider and all those watching.
Controlling the beast with one hand, our mystery man turns to his right to acknowledge the cheers from the captivated crowd, raising his left hand high into the air. A two-fingered V-for-victory salute can be seen emerging from the smoke.
The fans go wild!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Lewis Hamilton is in the house.
Off the bike and straight to the fans, Lewis – a Mercedes driver in the land of the prancing horse, remember – is utterly adored by the attendant throng of F1 faithful. Screaming his name ever so loudly, desperate faces contorted in appeals for the signature of the Silver Arrows man.
Boy oh boy, what a buzz, what a thrill to witness these scenes. A bonafide superstar giving the fans what they want. Love him or loathe him, Lewis is the man.
Smashing pole position, a crushing Sunday race win, cocky and confrontational on the podium… one can’t help but get caught up in it all.
Then he posts his Princess Diana poem...
Oh dear, oh dear, just when you thought he’d nailed a perfect weekend he does it again. Makes you question the man and wonder about the whys, the whats and the wherefores?
“Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want published on the front of the New York Times,” as ‘The New York Times Rule’ so eloquently commands, is something we would all do well to heed, especially those in the super-bright spotlight of the collective public eye.
I guess it’s just all part of the show. The mighty racing driver, so crushingly fast, so imperious in his car, so desperate to show the hidden depths of his creativity, the tortured artist lurking beneath the surface of a sporting icon.
There’s just no need. When a shed-full more wins are in the bag and a few more drivers’ titles secured, Hamilton will call time on one of the most stellar F1 careers ever. Time he will then have in abundance to be a singer, a songwriter, a film star, an artist, a fashion designer, a poet!
Still that’s all by-the-by. So long as Lewis keeps driving as he is now and arriving in the way he did last Sunday, we can forgive him his bizarre excursions into the world of the wannabe wordsmith.
By way of contrast and in case you were wondering, Lewis’s team mate, Valtteri Bottas, arrived at the Monza paddock gates just 10 minutes before the Englishman’s show-stopping performance began.
He didn’t stop for a single selfie, he ignored all appeals for an autograph – hell, he didn’t so much as even acknowledge the crowd’s existence. I’ll say no more.
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm and pantomime boos from the thousands of Ferrari’s adoring tifosi below fill the air as Hamilton takes to the podium's centre step.
The baying Italian hordes can carp all they like, we know very well they’d love Lewis to be dressed in red.
No chance – the silken bomber jacket will have to suffice!