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Formula One drivers getting into the Olympic spirit 07 Aug 2008

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren at the Vodafone beach kayak race.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R26 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, The Pitstop Tennis Pro-Am Tournament, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 29 March 2006 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams at the celebrity football match.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren at the Vodafone beach kayak race.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams (Left) at the celebrity football match.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Preparations, Hockenheim, Germany, Wednesday, 16 July 2008

As Formula One racing kicks off its annual three-week summer break, the entire sporting world is turning its attention to China and the start of the 29th Olympic Games - and the Formula One drivers are no exception.

All of the drivers are themselves supreme athletes, whose ultimate goal is to win, so it’s perhaps not surprising that many have an intense fascination with their Olympian counterparts, as a number of them explain…

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren:
"I will definitely be watching the Olympics. I'm a huge fan of athletes who have dedicated their lives to being the best - the dedication and commitment they put into their careers, putting everything else aside to go for that ambition, is something I really respect and can learn from. I love watching the 100 metres and the javelin. The 100 metres is always special: you get to see the fastest men on the planet race each other. They are incredibly quick! I've tried it myself and, even out of the blocks, those guys would have 10 metres before I'd even got up. I am so slow! But you can see the power they have in the whole of their body. Getting all that energy out in less than 10 seconds is just awesome."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber:
"For me, the Olympics are something very special," Heidfeld told BMW Sauber’s official website. The 31-year-old German would love to be an Olympian: "That's something I'd really like to experience," he added, admitting he would only consider it after the end of his Formula One career, in a discipline in which one can succeed even at a relatively high age. "For me, the discipline wouldn't be of major importance. It's just about being a part of this fantastic event."

Fernando Alonso, Renault:
“I will be following all the sports where we have some good Spanish contenders. I think in tennis we have Nadal, in cycling we have some strong guys there as well. No athletics because we are not very strong there.”

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren:
"I'm supporting Finland, of course! I really like athletics - I've just watched the recent athletics grand prix in Monte Carlo. For me, the biggest highlight of that event was when Yelena Isinbayeve from Russia broke the women's pole vault world record - she must be a favourite for the gold medal in China. For us Finns, there are a couple of strong medal hopefuls - Tero Jarvenpaa in the men's javelin has a real chance of a gold in the Olympics. That would be great for our country."

Nico Rosberg, Williams:
“I really enjoy the Olympics - I think it’s great,” said Rosberg in an official Williams podcast. “The number one event is the 100 metre sprint which is always spectacular. I’m also interested in a lot of the other running events like the 200 metres, 400 metres etc. I was definitely a long-distance runner. I was not really a sprinter as I wasn’t that fast, but long distance I beat everything.”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren test driver:
"I'm a sportsman and I love any kind of sport so I will definitely be watching the Olympics. It's been a great year for Spanish sport and sportsmen - we won Euro 2008, the Tour de France and the Wimbledon men's final - so I hope we do well in the Olympics. Spain has a particularly strong chance in the basketball, I'll be paying special attention to that and the tennis. Also, I love watching the marathon, just because I find it extraordinary what those guys go through. I'll also be watching the cycling - I do a lot of cycling and I know we have a strong cycle team."

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams:
“I would say football and baseball are my favourite sports to watch,” said Nakajima in an official Williams podcast. “Anything really as I like to watch sport. Baseball is very big in Japan, and it will be the last time it’s included as an Olympic sport so it’ll be the last chance for the Japanese team to get a good result. I think Japan will do well in maybe swimming, Judo, and maybe gymnastics as well.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari:
“It will be nice to see all of (the sports) - I think the BMX biking will be interesting.”

Gary Paffett, McLaren test driver:
"Of course, I will be cheering on Great Britain. When I think of the Olympics, I think of the track and field events but I enjoy a lot of other sports, especially football, tennis and cycling. On the track and field, I prefer the sprints to the long distance events, so I'll be watching the 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres and the 4x100 metres relay. I'm also quite keen to see the long jump, triple jump, javelin and pole vault - I wouldn't fancy doing those myself, but they're all fascinating to watch. In general, I haven't been following any specific athletes just as long as the Brits win, I don't mind."