Lewis Hamilton was not even ten years old when the last South African Grand Prix was held. The seven-time world champion, vying for an eighth title and hence, the most world championships ever won in the sport, may surely have seen the legendary Ayrton Senna battle it out with Alain Prost for top position at Kyalami.
It’s hard to even suppress the excitement the famous 1993 race at Africa would’ve brought to the fore with two legendary drivers going out against each other in what was the peak of their rivalry. Contested amid very very humid conditions, the 72-lap run posed anything but a lurid challenge for the drivers to tackle.
There was few racing venues that can be replicated for speed and intensity.
It’s been twenty eight long years since the last South African Grand Prix took place, the triumph of ‘the professor’ Alain Prost making headlines ahead of Senna’s valiant P2.
Hamilton, as we all know, has had the highest regards for the famous Brazilian driver, the Regenmeister being his role model. But all that remains of Kyalami, the venue of the famous South African Grand Prix in this modern era are memories.
The famous racing venue is still there; but it’s been close to three long decades since the top flight of F1 returned to embrace the South African tussle.
Can all of that change sometime soon? Lewis Hamilton, second in the driver standings for 2021, would certainly want things to change in the imminent future.
Here’s what the legendary Briton had to say in the context of a Formula 1 Grand Prix that may (or may still not) return to the calendar:
I think there is a great following out there and I think it would be great to be able to highlight just how beautiful the motherland is.”
The US GP is fantastic and is such a huge country, having just one race here isn’t enough to really to be able to tap into the sporting culture here and encapsulate the fans and get them on a journey with us.
I think definitely we need at least to have two but there are so many great cities to have a grand prix and if they are going to have one Miami is going to be incredible, as is Austin, I don’t know where they will have the next one but I am not opposed to that. I think it is quite cool having these kind of continent or mini championships in these continents, I think that is not a bad thing for the sport,” concluded the defending world champion.
Guess what? Hamilton is not the only driver who wishes for South African GP to return!
While the Silverstone winner of 2021 has stated in no uncertain terms about the desire to race at South Africa, he’s not the only driver to have put forth the thought.
Recently, Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari also echoed a similar thought. When complimenting the US GP as being among the famous venues in the modern day sport, the Monegasque, who’s ahead of Sainz in the driver standings, shared he too would love to be part of a Grand Prix at South Africa.
So all of that said, how soon can the South African GP return to the calendar? The good news is that Stefano Domenicali had shared earlier this year that talks have already begun to get the iconic Kyalami back on track. But how soon is that going to happen?