TOM EATON: Lewis Hamilton’s hypocrisy moves into the fast lane
Formula 1 driver says he is feeling ‘sad’ because the ‘extinction of our race is becoming more and more likely’
Lewis Hamilton, who has spent his adult life cheerleading for obscene conspicuous consumption and burning more carbon than you and I could ignite in 10 lifetimes, is worried that humans will go extinct if we don’t stop wasting resources.
You honestly can’t make this up, and I haven’t: the Formula 1 driver really did say that in an Instagram post on Wednesday, in which he revealed he was feeling “sad” because the “extinction of our race is becoming more and more likely”.
He went on to explain that farming was “the largest pollutant we currently have ... far more than our travel industry combined”, before adding: “We were taught that eating animal products was good for us, but we’ve been lied to for hundreds of years. I want my life to mean something, and honestly up until now my life has had no meaning.”
A possibility is that, being a competitive sort of bloke who likes pushing the boundaries of what is possible, he has decided to become the most hypocritical human on Earth.
Now, there are four possible reasons why Hamilton might have posted this.
The first is that he doesn’t know how to read, is astonishingly naive, and has been systematically gaslighted by his former bosses at McLaren and his current ones at Mercedes.
It is possible, for example, that he was told that Formula 1 cars are powered by the laughter of newborn babies and that the stuff coming out of their exhausts are clouds of dandelion seeds.
It is possible he believes that he and his team are transported all over the world every few weeks on the backs of huge swans. It is possible he believes he is earning a minimum wage, and that conservationists and schoolteachers are also worth the R7bn he has in the bank.
Option two is that, being a competitive sort of bloke who likes pushing the boundaries of what is possible, he has decided to become the most hypocritical human on Earth. After all, it takes a world champion of dickish self-righteousness to mourn the death of our planet while simultaneously acting as a shill for oil giant Petronas and, until recently, whisking yourself around the world on a private jet.
The third option is that, at 34 years of age, Hamilton is clocking in bang on time for his midlife crisis and is having his Zoolander “Who Am I?” moment, staring at his reflection in the gold taps on his jacuzzi filled with champagne.
This can be a hard time, especially when you realise you’ve been “lied to” by the meat industry. Because if people can lie about meat, what else might they be lying about? What if driving a car round and round a big wobbly oval to make Bernie Ecclestone even richer isn’t the central point of human existence? What if there’s, like, more?
Hamilton’s fans are reportedly worrying about his emotional state given his realisation that “until now my life has had no meaning”. But I think he’ll be fine and R7bn can buy a lot of therapy. And if that doesn’t work, he can always venture beyond the city limits of Monaco and meet gritty, authentic, hardworking people who make do with only one helicopter and two masseuses.
And then there’s option four, which is that Hamilton is simply lining up his next R7bn: just more than a month ago he launched Neat Burger, a vegan fast-food restaurant.
That Instagram lament might have been authentic, but I understand why people might be incredulous when it comes to someone who has spent his professional life being an eager corporate yes-man suddenly going all heartfelt and honest to his millions and millions of customers, sorry, I mean fans.
If Hamilton and Neat Burger help save the planet, then fair play to him. But until then, you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to take advice on how to put out cigarettes safely from someone selling napalm.