Susie Wolff has memories of Lewis Hamilton that go back to a childhood spent racing karts against each other, an era of innocence in what she calls the purest form of racing where money and politics and gender played no part.
“We’ve known each from the age of eight,” says Wolff. “We competed against each other in go-karting then into Formula Renault. There was a race when we both finished on the podium. He was first, I was third. He was about 19, I was 21. I couldn’t open my champagne bottle and he came over and did it for me. He’d had a lot more practice than I had.”
Hamilton is now on 90 Formula 1 victories and a racing certainty to match Michael Schumacher’s tally of 91 before, inevitably, setting a new record that may never be beaten. For Wolff, the girl from Oban who created her own slice of history in the sport, the happiness she feels for Hamilton is both personal and professional. There’s the ties from their youth – “even at eight, we knew he had brilliance in him” – but also the fact that the champion’s team principal at the all-conquering Mercedes is the