As everyone knows, Nick is a racing driver. But being competitive by nature, he also likes to get out of the cockpit and enjoy a variety of other sports. "I've always been an active sportsman,” he explains. "But since I've been a professional racing driver, I haven't really had the time to dedicate to another sport.”
From his childhood onwards, Nick has always been interested in a range of different sporting activities. He learned to ride a bike at the age of three and a half, something he still enjoys today. But he now tends to do more mountain biking, particularly after his racing bike accident in 2005. "It's safer, more fun and Switzerland is the perfect place for mountain bike tours,” he reasons. His very first experiences of motorsport were not in a go-kart but in motocross at the tender age of five. Nick raced round the tracks for three years and even competed in a couple of races.
At the same time, he was an active member of the LGM athletics club in Mönchengladbach. "Once, I was even town champion in the triathlon,” he reveals, talking about his success in the three disciplines of rounders, long jump and the 50-metre sprint. "I wasn't particularly good at throwing, but I managed to even that out with the other two disciplines.” But his athletics 'career' came to an end because he didn't have the physical height to hold his own at the top.
He quickly found a substitute, however. Between the ages of 10 and 15, he played tennis at the local Rheydter Tennis Club and was even runner-up on two occasions in the club tournament. "Nowadays, I get frustrated when I play tennis because I used to play much better,” he remembers with a smile. "When I get more time to myself again, I will definitely play more.”
During his schooldays, Nick liked to skateboard and played a lot of basketball with his friends. "Basketball is still one of my favourite sports,” he says. "My greatest sporting hero at that time was Michael Jordan from the Chicago Bulls; I was absolutely fascinated by him.” Indeed, the only poster of a sportsman that Nick had on his wall back then was one featuring Jordan.
Nick started fitness training during his time in Formula Ford and, though it has become more intense over the years leading up to his time in Formula 1, he still really enjoys it: "For me, fitness training isn't a chore; I even have a small gym in my house where I work out every day.” In the summer, Nick likes to transfer this training onto the mountain bike, and in the winter, onto cross-country skis.
But that is just a small selection of the sports that Nick enjoys, or would like to spend more time doing. A few years ago, he started climbing and he has been playing golf since he was fifteen. "But you need a lot of time for golf, and at the moment, that's something I don't have.” However, once his racing career is over, he can imagine taking up other sports again, even those which he is excluded from at the moment because of the risk of injury. "I would rather like to do a parachute jump sometime...”
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