tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg September 2, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: you arecharlie: at your best when you are challenged? what would make a very invigorating and challenging race for you? lewis: the challenging races are we started.en we do not have the best equipment. we would start at the back of the grid and in the race, i would pick up people one by one. that is generally how i learned to overtake.
it would come from the back every time. when i got to formula one, i would have races where i would start in the back and come through. i would come through and finish second. those to your the most exciting me areecause -- those to the most exciting races because it is like a chess match each time. one driver is a bit crazy. i'm not than a say who it is that they make their cars as white as the road. as wide as the road. knowing which one you are coming up to and going up against. then -- that argue there is more technology center has ever been. it takes the scale out of the drivers hands. lewis: most of the comments that
, i think people do not have the knowledge of what is going on. it is different. we do have a lot of technology and it but operating that technology is another task in itself. i would not say that it is less talent -- challenging. what you have to learn today with all of the switches and mechanics that we have, it is more challenging. back then it was a little more physical but today it is a lot faster. it balances out. we have a lot more going on and a lot more control. back then they do not have that. we do not have manual gears. i would not say that is the
case, it is more mental today. --rlie: but you would prefer lewis: i am more old school. car in 1989. charlie: if you could make this happen and be in a race with him with those cars at that time? lewis: same car. that would've been great. charlie: what would it be? tois: for me, i can related -- relate it to watching michael in those years. pointbehind him at one and i am driving behind him and i don't want to think this guy.
i'm going to sit back and enjoy it. i would imagine it would be the same. i would be happy to be behind him. one -- won 7.el senna is the guy you want to be. lewis: definitely. there have been a few championships but as a kid, senna was the first guy i noticed. he is the one who caught my eye when i was five years old watching the races on the weekends with my dad. i started to follow him and read books. likeched his videos and any kid would be a football player or athlete, they are
magnetized to one of them. that is how i was with senna. i followed him and loved his scale and aggressive style -- skill and aggressive style. i believed he was right in many ways. it was a cool balance and cool approach. won seven championships. dominatedre ferrari several years in a row. his teammate would give him a win. charlie: they would lay back? lewis: no. he had done a better job that weekend and just before the finish line, he let michael pass. i don't agree with that. they say we are a team and we are teammates. you have to could championships. you have to work towards helping the team win.
michael had the better of him in many scenarios. even if you didn't, the team disadvantaged him. charlie: so me go was in front of you? he would never give it up. lewis: no, i would never want that. i want to own it. me, i would want to be better and fight another day. selfish. would be would win byi giving it to me. believe you are the best driver in formula one and you believe you have the best car. lewis: it is not just because of that it is the work ethic.
i don't want to have it easy. recognized as the best because the way i overtake, the way i drive the car, the way a do something different than any other driver. charlie: one year after you joined formula one, you became the world champion? lewis: yes. charlie: two years. then you didn't win for a while. lewis: i didn't. most drivers to get to formula one they come to a another team. the pressure that was on us as a family having to perform every single weekend, we had to get those results. strategizederent moves. the way we came across and alsonted ourselves and representing them.
towanted to be a good report mclaren. they were good people who worked hard. charlie: the family did? lewis: yes. we really worked on that. i won the championship that -- i year and a new that knew there was a seat moving. make me, they won't stay a second year. if there is a seat available, i might get it. and ithe championship knew i had the test coming up. i was studying like crazy and the manual. nothing can prepare you for when you sit in the garage and struck you in. you have 20 mechanics around you it, you areleave
driving a multimillion dollar car. they may not give you another chance. howlie: you mentioned competitive it was for you. when did you know you weren't like the other kids? as you went from 15th to first you didn'tem all, have the best car. lewis: i just did it. hadlie: did you think you the best skill then? lewis: no. wheel,r i'm behind the that is when i feel i belong. i was never the most confident person outside the car. was timidoutspoken, i and shy. when i get in the car with my place on, it is the one
where a knew my dad was proud of me. i struggled at school. i was missing days of school and i was trying to catch up. i struggled. i struggled so much to catch up. i couldn't keep up with the workload especially when i was missing a thursday and a friday. i missed half the curriculum every year. i knew as long as i performed on get good, i would grades and reports whenever i could. charlie: now that you have performed so well in the car, in the cockpit, has a given you confidence in other areas of your life? lewis: i think so. when i got to formula one, i was never prepared for the interviews.
they were throwing curve balls that you all the time and i had no way how to respond. there were definitely a lot of robert holes along the way. it has been a learning process. true the firstit years you were there that you kept placing second or third. finally when you didn't place, you didn't know where to go. lewis: that's not true. i have grown up being further behind and there have been years mclarenirst year i met who was the two-time world champion.
i remember sitting and standing -- studying. i wanted to match the sky. in may wassomewhere the speed to catch up with this guy. before the first race in his office, he said don't be surprised if you are happy second behind. you don't know what that did to me inside. it just boiled me inside. not because he was undervaluing me but he was not expecting me to answer to his special new guy. charlie: you said you expect to be beaten? -- your life is not about expecting to be beaten? lewis: no. he didn't beat me in the first and afteri finished
that i think they beat him and then third base. -- in the third race. charlie: you won the championship? lewis: i lost it by one. then i had a big disastrous off which lost me 10 points. then my car broke down and lost it by one point. i won in the second year by one point. charlie: that could crush you? lewis: it did, it destroyed me. mentally, that was the biggest not i had ever taken. in one sense you have to remember it is your first year. the pressure i put on myself was
the biggest. i put too much pressure from my dad and for my team and my expectation. championship, i have not been in this position. it has been my dream since i was a little kid and i fumbled and make mistakes. it slipped through my fingers and i didn't know how to handle it. you get out of the car and i take it so personally. the pain in my heart was unbearable. you get out of the car and you are in front of the cameras. you forget that behind those cameras is a million people watching. time, i was not prepared to suck it up. and the nextough year in the last race, i had to finish fifth to win the championship. the guy was right ahead of me.
there was nothing i could do to get close to him. there was four or three laps left and i couldn't do anything for the life of me. raining.en i took him at the last corner and i came across a line thinking that i had lost. my heart was the same. saying in the radio was the world championship. -- champion. then i burst into tears. charlie: that was what you have been dreaming since you were five years old. lewis: yes. that was in brazil. i have the biggest climax really. ♪
champion. lewis: everyone has dreams. charlie: but you pursue this? i have my family. all these friends i grew up with . their dads left and started new families. my dad's -- dad stuck around. charlie: he gave you everything he could possibly give you? lewis: absolutely. what myhers do that but father did, i could never pay him back. todaytime i'm in the car with the opportunity he has created, i'm going to grab it with my hands and ever taken for granted. charlie: was it your family that the persistence you had? lewis: my dad was persistent
that i be catholic and go to church. other than that, my dad did not really push it on us. after that, i found it myself. it became my compass and guiding tool and to help me be and do what i am today. very candid are a and honest guy who understands himself. there came a point where you had to make a break from your father. lewis: yes, that was one of the hardest moments ever. my father had been managing me throughout my whole life. i could never have a better manager than my dad. knowsason being is he what i have been through and my values. values mean more to me than anything else. when it comes to presenting your
client, it is always hard to. -- heart. there is an incentive to make was all about powertrain and what we have been working for. point,, i was 23 years old and had moved to a country. i was living in switzerland which my dad had advised me to do. a period of and in time when i wanted to make my own money and my own mistakes. if my dad would continue to betor me today, i would not able to do that growing. i really had to do it. it started getting difficult
because it went from a father-son relationship to a different relationship. there is no hugging. no let's chill and watch tv. it was just work. i missed that and i told him i just wanted him to be my dad. just come to the races and i will make you proud. that was incredibly hard for him to take and to break away. it had to be a heartbreak and it took years for us to recover. years were just difficult as a family and a kind of destroyed the family a little bit. that is all my dad lived and breathed. it was like, what do i do now? it is not that i don't need you. charlie: charlie: you -- you
wanted some sense of being in your own life? i know what it's like, i've been there. i would say that to my cousins. trust me, i've done it. in some ways it is good to make the decisions and learn yourself. charlie: how hard was it for him to take it? lewis: i cannot put into words how difficult it was for him or must have been for him. he did not take it well and he did not know how to take it. that bridged the gap between s like -- us like the grand canyon. charlie: this was his dream? he was very stubborn. i'm not going to come to you and i'm not going to come for me.
i am very much more a giving person so i didn't spend the spend a lotying to of time together. it was like when building a house. charlie: we build a relationship? lewis: yes. charlie: did it affect your racing? wass: yes, the worst year 2011. i lost a lot of weight to stress. you have to have a level head and have to be focused at all times. from february to november. staying on point the whole way without losing focus, i lost my way big time. charlie: he must've looked at this and said, i'm not there. lewis: absolutely. he would say let me
help and i would say no. as difficult as it is, i have to go through this. way, i haveind my got to go through this as horrible as it is. and i did. i finally got my head here. year.d my first -- championship. and in 2013, i moved. charlie: where is it today? it is always lingering around us. he still wants to manage.
last year he came to six races. he was incredibly supportive. he qualified and made a mistake. andame and gave me advice then he came to a few races after that. we have been spending christmas together. charlie: he said to me that it telling himul you not to come to the race. you really needed to be your own man. you had to live the life that you wanted to leave. he was playing this dual role.
he was living his dream. i can't imagine. lewis: i won't know what that buts like until i have kids it was hard to tell him that. whether it is right or wrong, i and the whole point of standing on your own two feet. we were a solid unit. no one could break us. we were good, a big strong family. obviously, my stepmom is white. we are in the family.
my dad is the darkest in the family. have you seen cool runnings? charlie: yes. lewis: cool runnings is my favorite movie. scene to arrive on the do the practice, everyone is like what are these people doing here? and we didn't have a trailer. this bent car in the back of the boot. and justuld turn up like in the movie things were rusty. that's how it was for us. it was funny.
people do not want us there at the beginning. your dad told me stories in go karts saying you're not supposed to win. lewis: i have parent comes to me. -- i had parents come to me. they would say, you just don't have it. as a kid, i was eight years old. would you say to you surviving all about? -- what would you say to all that? lewis: as human beings, we
harness energy. i harness all those experiences. the teachers were negative. i just kept it bottled inside. say this.ld always i would have aggression and want to push the sky over. once they do your talking on the track. that apply to everything in my life. applied to everything. drive a fourld poster bed. the first go kart was like that. he went to a store and repaint of the whole thing and made it look brand-new. with remote control cars, he
would sit there after work. take such pride in his work. he would spend hours in the shed. i don't know what came across him. he would spend the whole night. charlie: you needed him to be there at that time? even ad have been rougher road for you. lewis: i needed him in the beginning when i got to formula one. it was hard. my family was there and even still today, they are still there. it is different now. you have the kind of life you missed. lewis: every weekend i was
racing. you had relationship with women later in your life. i didn't have my first girlfriend until i was 18 and then i went into a long relationship. charlie: how would you describe it? you went right into a long relationship. i was in that one for fell head and then over here's for a another girl. he knows the pressure in the distraction.
he knows everything there is to know. of distraction. he said that to me. i worry about him distracted. you heard that? lewis: yes, definitely. it is a strange relationship we had had. met othert really than shaking each other's hand in 2010. he didn't have a great opinion of me. he didn't believe what i was doing was right. it duringhis was those years you weren't at your best?
it was his baby at the time. russ had one this -- these championships at the time. he came and sat in the kitchen and had a cup of tea. he showed me a proposal of where the team is and where they are going in the steps they are going to take to get there. but it've stayed there was good money and good environment. there was no worlds i really wanted to go. to testlly wanted myself as a driver, i had to try different card. world champion top drivers for years. also, i am not just another driver.
i want to go somewhere else to prove myself. our can go somewhere else and be a part of it. michael was at a ferrari. i wanted to have that. i wanted to get that experience said thatingle person was the worst thing you can do. mclaren went down, we went up. then all those people said i told you so. lewis: exactly. [laughter] when i say the word for --, what is it mean to you? when i say the word for ari,
--lewis: such an iconic brand. there is a bit of a motion for anyone. i would definitely mercedes is now in my dna. charlie: is there anything that is part of you that says, in some part of my life i would like to be racing the red? lewis: i was just looking. will see if there's anything we can learn from it. i look at the on board lapse. how does it feel to have that red carpet around you?
feltnk of how different it and there is a huge difference in the way you have to drive the car. the rules are the same. we have a different characteristic. andg able to harness that to extract its potential, that is one of the most challenging things. i wondered if it was worse. nothing is as good as i have now. if i were to finish my career, would i feel that i missed something? i don't think i would. you had the thought?
it is a beautiful team. charlie: every car has a personality. mclaren has a personality. how would you define the difference? that is a really hard question. says you are at one with the car. it is like you are strapped to a rocket -- rocket. you control this rocket? it is like a raging role. and fast. and sexy there is so many-one. in, they are strapping you
you go out. the speed you do is amazing. from car to car, it is different. you create a bond with the card and you have to trust it. there is a bond that you create with the car. i would imagine it is a bit like the horse whisperer. you don't know what they are saying to the horses but i speak to my car. charlie: come on baby, come on baby. [laughter] like i trust you and i respect you.
if you give it back to me, we will do just fine. charlie: what is it like to hit the wall? the journey towards it is kind of exciting. what makes it exciting? lewis: you lose control. it is like a roller coaster ride. i've had big crashes. in a split second you can go from 170 20. sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.
theravance races where i lost it. geforce you pull is just crazy. been once or twice or i have gone towards it. hit the wall and they knew it would hurt. you rethink, i made -- do you ever think, i may not make it? lewis: no. i don't let that into my head. i don't know what it is. they tell me you were the kid who had no fear?
still, today i do that. you are the most fearless driver on the track. charlie: you think, i want to have the fastest lap. that is what you are thinking. i want to outsmart everyone. you want to show them who is the boss. we talk about the confidence being the best. you want them to know. every driver feels they are the best. they'll believe they are the best best race driver in the
charlie: why do you think you are as good as you are? lewis: i think it was a gift. i think it was a gift from a higher power. gift.not just a it was a gifting opportunity that if we looked hard enough to build their was no limit to how high is. my dad pushed and pushed as a kid. it isnot matter if driving or whatever it is i'm no focus thathave this i don't know where it comes from. >> think he appreciates everyone
time ago that he had something special? there was a determination in his eyes. he was forever wanting to do certain things. he was extremely good at driving this little car up and down the highway. the next best thing would be taken take him to a remote controlled car club. that happened every weekend. we would prepare every weekend for those who went remote control car racing. charlie: is there something you
can point to when he operated that remote? club, there were about 50 people. luis was the youngest. up on the tree like everyone else. you are able to drive this car backwards and forwards. i just thought this kid had something us -- special. loses the sort of guy who will try everything at once. he is normally good at everything he tries. is that?how much this idea of having the coordination and annexed factor. the competitive desire to win it all?
i wouldn't say he has great natural talent. youink it depends how develop that talent. we could analogy that all be brain surgeons, it is all about how much you want to be the best. from the time he said he wanted to be a formula one racing driver. all he ever said until he got there. some kids they want to be a doctor or with one -- policeman,. opportunity got the , lewis said he would do everything in the power to race
to the best of your abilities. he said i would work several jobs. charlie: if you accept the trade-off? >> he did. his skills were more mechanical. he went to school, worked hard. much in that you would make some critical. when you thing changed have someone as precocious as you have to look after that one individual. it was clear that he had something special and i used to work on british rail.
i started off at the bottom. for me, the way her -- where religion where we came from it was like having someone in the box and working their way out. at that time i was in this very good job but it wasn't good enough. and we couldn't afford it at that time. i did various jobs. charlie: what did it cost for him to race? it is not so much the initial outlay. it used to earn $30,000 worth