By Alan Baldwin
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton has taken inspiration from U.S. tennis great Serena Williams as he prepares for a Formula One title showdown with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg this weekend.
Serena, along with her older sister Venus, has attended grands prix recently and Hamilton said he had been honoured to spend time with the 22-times grand slam singles champion.
"I was actually with Serena last week in LA ... she came out to Mexico (for the race) which for me was a real honour to have someone of her power, someone who has achieved so much," Hamilton told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
"We generally have a lot of fun when we are around each other. We’re always laughing and joking and enjoying life away from sport," added the 31-year-old.
"I’m absolutely mesmerised by what she has achieved and definitely inspired by her as an athlete and as a human being and so trying to learn from her. Every now and then she’ll give me a bit of that magic in her words."
Hamilton, who grew up with little money and no family background in motor racing but with a determined father pushing him on, said he had plenty in common with the sisters who trod a similar path in tennis.
The driver, whose paternal grandfather immigrated to Britain from the Caribbean, has also broken down racial barriers to succeed in his sport and can become the first Briton to win four Formula One championships.
He said Serena, the world number two, was now "generally really interested in cars" and had asked him a lot of questions about the sport since watching him win last month's race in Mexico City.
Her 36-year-old sister, a two times U.S. Open champion, attended the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in October that Hamilton won.
"Venus talks a lot about wisdom and about her growth and about the process of being a sportsman or sportswoman so generally from both of them, I take a lot of inspiration and admire them both hugely," he said.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)