Lewis Hamilton raced for me for two years. Two intense, fantastic years. We went through a lot, both in and outside the world of karting, and I’ve got plenty of stories to tell.
An "official" story, known to many and which many can confirm, is the 2000 European Championship race in France, at the Val d'Argenton circuit. It was the second round and Lewis was leading the standings, so it was a pity that the week before the race he returned to England and decided to "mess about" on some beach on a Quad, in a Buggy or something akin.
The result? A fractured scaphoid, a bone in the wrist. He phoned to tell me about a problem he’d had while training on his bicycle: a pedal became unhooked, he said, he slipped and... crack! The story was a bit vague, I must admit, but it was clear that something was amiss. Fortunately, thanks his dad, he managed to go to the then Formula 1 doctor for a visit, because he wanted to race. He knew he was leading the European Championship and when Lewis sets himself a goal, he does everything possible to achieve it.
On the Friday, when we arrived at the circuit, we didn’t know what to expect. We were already in France for the initial tests and Lewis was still nowhere to be seen. I remember asking Nico (Rosberg, Hamilton's team-mate at that time, Ed.) to try both karts and make the same adjustments, so that if he were to arrive, at least the vehicle would be ready. Lewis did indeed arrive, with his arm in a cast!
The plaster blocked his wrist almost up to the elbow, but left his fingers free, so, having put the suit on, we decided to race just the same. He did some warm-up laps on Saturday, to learn the track that was new to him, and then, in the first two heats, he posted the fastest time.