OCTOBER 26, 2015
Hamilton can be as big as Tiger Woods
Lewis Hamilton is on the road to becoming one of the world's biggest ever sporting personalities.
That is the claim of Zak Brown, an F1 marketing and sponsorship executive and expert who said the new triple world champion's impact reaches far beyond the paddock.
"Lewis is building his own brand," he told the Sun newspaper. "Can he be as big as Tiger Woods? I definitely think so."
With his personal appearance, constant jet-setting and growing affiliation with A-list celebrities, Brown said Hamilton is cultivating a "rock star status".
He has now matched the title tally of his hero Ayrton Senna, "and if he can do four, five or six (titles) he will be up there with the greatest of all time.
"With that sort of combination, there is no reason why he should not be one of the biggest sporting stars in the world," said Brown.
Team boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton's on and off track success is also good for Mercedes, telling Welt newspaper that despite his massive retainer Hamilton is "invaluable for the brand".
The Briton's music, red carpet walking and celebrity shoulder-rubbing, however, raises eyebrows among Hamilton's rival drivers.
Daniel Ricciardo said: "I think he would be criticised if he wasn't winning.
"Some people think hanging out all the time getting pictures with celebrities is a bit artificial, but clearly he is preparing the way for when he leaves F1," the Red Bull driver told Spain's El Pais newspaper.