British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton explained to F1i.com the motives behind the rare, but greatly meaningful, gesture behind his helmet swap with bitter rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
A helmet swap in Formula 1 has the same general meaning of a jersey swap in a game of football, which tends to happen quite frequently; however, for Formula 1, this gesture is often a rarity.
When it does happen in this sport, it often means much greater admiration and respect for the opponent of a very high regard, and Hamilton has explained that this happened very much because of that.
Formula 1 helmets are much more expensive and hold greater value than a jersey in football, and a swap between drivers who share nine titles between them has illustrated the level of respect between Hamilton and Vettel as two drivers who have been pinned against each other at the pinnacle of the game for a decade now.
Hamilton explained that it was his Ferrari counterpart that initiated the swap, explaining that a text message was used to get the idea across for the massive gesture.
After the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, Hamilton received a text from Vettel, he has revealed.
"He messaged me and said ‘Would you like to exchange helmets?’," the 33-year-old explained to F1i.com.
Further explaining the gesture itself, Hamilton continued: "Footballers do this type of thing all the time, but helmets are a lot more expensive than football jerseys that get thrown about. These things are quite precious to us.
"I personally don’t give any of my helmets away. I swapped one with Michael [Schumacher].
"I think there might have been one or two other drivers who I exchanged helmets with, but I don’t look upon it lightly."
Still, he made an exception for Vettel, which shows how much respect there is between the two.
"This was really quite a privileged moment because I am standing next to a four-time world champion who had achieved a lot.
"He is a great man and an incredible driver. This is the ultimate sign of respect when you exchange helmets."
It may be a rarity in the sport to swap helmets, but this was a sign of massive respect between two of the greatest racers of their generation