Lewis on Brad, Baku and Brazil

·3-min read

Lewis Hamilton was buzzing in Baku on Friday, not because of any magic fixes Mercedes had introduced to his struggling car ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but to matters off the circuit.

The seven-time world champion confirmed he was closely involved in a new film starring Brad Pitt, describing his collaboration with the two-time Oscar winner as "pretty epic".

And he spoke of "the great honour" at learning "yesterday like everyone else" that he had been made an honorary citizen of Brazil.

Hamilton said he had to be careful not divulging too many details about the as yet unnamed movie project which has been acquired by Apple's streaming service.

Reports this week in Variety magazine say it centres on Pitt as a retired F1 driver making his return to the track.

"I don't plan to be in it," Hamilton told a press conference ahead of the start of practice later Friday for Sunday's eighth round of the world championship.

"It's been a long time in the waiting. I've been working on the script, which is fun, spending time with Brad which is pretty epic.

"My responsibility is that the cast and crew are diverse."

He acknowledged that previous feature films about F1 have more often than not failed to do the sport justice.

"You look at them and can't say they are spectacular. We want to show how great this sport is and keeping its true heritage."

The heritage, culture and diversity of Brazil was also at the forefront of his mind after becoming an honorary citizen of the country with which he has such a deep affection.

"It's very surreal, a huge honour, I was surprised when I heard like everyone else yesterday.

"Brazil is always a place I've loved as a kid, following Ayrton (Senna) I was naturally drawn to the country.

"I won my first Formula One championship in Brazil, and had such an epic race last year."

Turning to matters closer to home, Sunday's race, he looked incredulous when told at the press conference there was a feeling Mercedes will be more competitive this weekend.

"Where's that feeling coming from?" asked Hamilton, on the exact day 15 years ago that he won the first of his 103 grand prix in Montreal.

- 'Surreal' -

After the Silver Arrows' well documented issues with 'porpoising' or bouncing Hamilton has mustered only 50 points after the first seven races, with teammate George Russell garnering 84.

The underfire German constructor introduced significant upgrades in Barcelona last month with Hamilton saying the new direction the team was going "has been positive so far".

He said the rocky start to 2022 with the new technical landscape was "an experience that has pulled the team closer than ever before, that's what happens when faced with adversity".

Russell, who has scored points in each race so far this year, believes post-Barcelona they now have a car they can get "much more out of".

"Sometimes you have to take a small step back to take three steps forward," he added, before heading off to opening practice.

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