The mood in a rather serious F1 press conference dominated by the effects of porpoising on drivers and cars was lightened when Lewis Hamilton spoke of his new-found passion for retro computer consoles.
During the seven-time world champion’s childhood, Nintendo 64s and Sega Mega Drives were must-have items, with games like Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat and Sonic the Hedgehog all the rage.
And ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, the Brit has taken a trip back in time. After initially digging out an old Nintendo 64 from the cupboard, he ventured to a retro games shop in Montreal in search of iconic racing game Mario Kart. Sadly, that wasn’t available but he did spot an old racing game named after his racing idol, Ayrton Senna, on the Sega Genesis (known as a Mega Drive outside of North America).
“I just had this itch to play old games,” he said ahead of the first practice session. “I found an old Nintendo 64 in my storage and bought Golden Eye.
“Then, when I landed [in Canada], I went to get Mario Kart but they didn’t have it, so I bought a Sega Genesis and they had the Senna game and I thought, ‘this is perfect’. So I’ve been spending the last couple of nights driving the Senna game.”
At that point in the press conference, Max Verstappen, who was sitting next to him, asked: “Any porpoising issues on the game?”, to which a smiling Hamilton replied: “No porpoising.”
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Hamiton has posted a video on his Instagram page of him playing the game and admitted his natural competitiveness got the better of him, saying: “I landed in Montreal and went straight to a retro game shop. Got myself a Sega Genesis and of course, Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II. I loved this game as a kid and still do now. Still holds up!
“Naturally I got super competitive with myself. My personal best right now is a 49 second lap, pretty sure I can beat that tho. That was only after a few tries. I’ll let you all know when I beat it.”
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