Formula 1 is racing at its most elite level. That means the rewards can be great for the drivers, but the pressure to deliver is truly intense.
Bearing all that in mind, it is no real surprise to discover that most of them love to unwind by indulging in various hobbies. Having interests outside of the racing track is surely essential if they are to cope with the demands of Formula 1 and maintain their standards.
The fact that F1 drivers have hobbies may not be surprising, but what they actually are is often a bit of an eye-opener. Below, we will look at some top drivers and their off-track interests.
The British driver has been more open than some of the others about what he likes to do when he is not behind the wheel of a racing car. He enjoys a number of other sports in his spare time, including golf, skiing and surfing, so clearly keeping fit and active is very important for him.
Hamilton is also something of a style maven; attending high profile fashion industry events with various girlfriends. The seven-time champion likes to look good, although what sparked that passion is not known.
Then there is an apparent casual interest in gambling. He is certainly on record as having played poker at least once, but he may well have become more of a regular player since then.
Dutch star Verstappen is the King of Formula 1, usurping Hamilton’s long reign right now. He has won the title twice so far, a third is imminent and is almost certain to add to those triumphs before his career ends.
That is if he can tear himself away from racing simulators. The Dutch-Belgian driver is known to love simulator racing and owns a motor home that has its own racing simulator built into it.
He is a part of the successful online Redline team, so clearly the thrill of racing is something he cannot get enough of! At least he will have a way of continuing to experience that adrenaline rush when he eventually gets to the retirement point.
Top Formula 1 drivers earn considerable sums of money, so investing it is the best way to avoid spending too much or losing it to tax payments. There is one driver who knows a bit more than the rest about how to invest it though and that is Sergio Perez.
Perez revealed a couple of years ago that he is an avid stock market speculator. The interest seems to have been sparked through the internet, as he stated that he uses the CNBC mobile app every day for checking up on how his various stock investments are performing.
That kind of investment is one that carries a fair amount of risk. The stock market can go up and down like a seesaw, but it is possible that this is part of the appeal for Perez.
In the same article, he said that his emotions went up and down along with his investment prospects and that this intriguing hobby even reminded him of Formula One racing. The Mexican driver also enjoys golfing in his down time, which may be a much-needed source of relaxation.
Then again, he has suggested a future career as a professional, so maybe not!
Many fans consider this two-time Formula 1 champion from Spain to be magic, and they are more right than they realise. Performing magical tricks is what Alonso likes to do to unwind from the stresses of the racing track.
He is clearly proud of his abilities with a wand, as he often does these tricks to amuse other drivers before and after races. Talking to the Formula 1 podcast called Beyond the Grid; Alonso said that his love for magic began as a result of reading books about the subject.
However he also gets tips and new tricks from wizards apparently. The appeal must be the pure escapism of it.
The last unusual hobbyist on our list is the Ferrari racer Charles Leclerc. The 25-year-old from Monaco has multiple passions, including chess and playing the piano.
That is the outside interest he is most widely known for, as he has his own channel on YouTube where he uploads musical performances for his 500,000-plus subscribers. Apparently the hobby began in earnest during the Covid-19 lockdowns, although he had a piano as a youngster.
Music may be a useful post-race emotional outlet, whereas chess is all about exercising the mind. Staying mentally sharp is vital for a top level sportsman so it is easy to see the appeal.
All of these Formula 1 stars have hobbies that might seem odd at first glance, but actually make perfect sense.