UBS Perspectives caught up with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS racing driver, Lewis Hamilton, to find out what it takes to be number one in the world – and the parallels that can be drawn between his extraordinary career and the principles of strategic wealth management.
With fractions of a second often deciding the first three spots, the stress that any Formula One driver must endure is immense. Few know this better than Lewis Hamilton, who has put himself under intense pressure from a very early age.
"I had a steering wheel in my cot when I was a baby," he laughs, "so I guess I was just destined to drive." For a man who has achieved so much, so fast, Lewis is surprisingly humble. At the age of 10, he approached McLaren team principal, Ron Dennis, for an autograph and declared, "I want to race for you one day." Ron suggested that they speak again in nine years - and Lewis became the youngest-ever driver to secure a contract that would result in a Formula One drive.
While the driver is always in the spotlight, Lewis is quick to credit his team with much of his phenomenal success; a sentiment that will resonate with all wealth management clients who rely on – and form close ties with their client advisors. Just like UBS’s clients, Lewis is supported by a group of similarly dedicated individuals – strategists, technicians and statisticians – all experts in their field. "It’s a journey we are all travelling together,” he states,
without hesitation, “so it’s really important that we are respectful and try to nurture that relationship.”
Wealth management may seem like a world away from Formula One racing yet both rely on knowledge, speed, precision, instinct and passion. What motivates Lewis, day after day? His response is emphatic: "I have been given a great opportunity and I never want to squander it. My motivation is that I just want to be the best, in everything that I do."
“I have been given a great opportunity and I never want to squander it.”
Asked about the Singapore race, he answers enthusiastically: "For my whole life, I’ve been racing at normal circuits. I love street circuits, but at night it’s even better. The Singapore track is actually really cool; it’s very long; lots of corners. And it’s very physically challenging."
How does he cope with everyday driving on the road in a street-legal ‘normal’ car? Shaking his head, he explains, "Doing calculations on the road is so much harder than doing it at 200mph. I do 200mph much better. It’s funny how the brain works," he says, smiling.
Making any kind of decision in an instant is always exacting – particularly if your life depends on it. How does Lewis keep a cool head while taking risks under such pressure? "I don’t really give it a second thought,” he answers, without
hesitation. “Honestly, I think that for some people it’s a calculated risk and they really have to think about it, but for me - I just do it.”
Barreling into a corner at 160mph is a little different to negotiating the world’s financial markets; however, there are some similarities with wealth management. Backed by a dedicated team that exists to look out for your best interests, it becomes easier to make the kind of smart, measured decisions that produce exceptional results.
This year marks the third anniversary of UBS’s Global Partnership with Formula One. This relationship underscores the values that we share so passionately: a commitment to the very highest performance and success through teamwork.
Within moments, Lewis is back on his feet again and being ushered to yet another appointment in his hectic day. Before he leaves, we venture two final questions: What’s the best part of his job? He smiles, "That’s easy. The driving." And the hardest part? "Being among crowds of people."
Snug in the cockpit of his Mercedes ‘Silver Arrow’ on the grid, a 631-horsepower engine centimeters from his head, he is finally alone - and able to focus on winning another monumental race. UBS Perspectives wishes him every success for the rest of the season.