Lewis Hamilton believes he has become even closer to the team that nurtured his rise to the dizzy heights of F1 stardom.
One year on from his maiden victory in the pinnacle of motorsport Hamilton admits he has grown even closer to McLaren-Mercedes, the team he can effectively call his home after over a decade of support.
“Last year in Canada was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life,” said Hamilton ahead of this year’s assault on the circuit Gilles Villeneuve, “to take my maiden pole and victory in Formula 1 was incredible, even more so as it was with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”
“Since then I think I ve matured a lot, I think I have grown stronger as a driver and have become closer to the team,” he added.
The idea that the British star has forged even stronger links with his long-term team was in full force last week when he made a visit to McLaren HQ to thank personnel for their behind-the-scenes contribution to his Monaco triumph.
Speaking to a 700-strong group of McLaren employees in the race bays at the McLaren Technology Centre, Hamilton said: “Winning at Monaco was a fantastic feeling and a real team effort. The best win of my life, so I wanted to personally thank each and every one of you.”
“Because I’m very conscious that it’s not only the race team – in other words the guys who go to the races – who make our wins possible, but also the hundreds of you back here, at the McLaren Technology Centre, working every bit as hard as your colleagues in the race team.
“So thank you. Thank you so much. I know how hard you’re working – and I really, really appreciate it .”
The British ace then presented each employee with a special ‘rocket-red victory T-shirt’ which the McLaren race team sport when they win a race.
“As you know, when we win, everyone who is at the race takes off their white T-shirt and puts on what we call our ‘rocket-red victory T-shirt’,” said Hamilton.
“So I wanted to personally give each and every one of you your own rocket-red victory T-shirt, because I’m well aware that the contribution of everyone at the McLaren Technology Centre is every bit as vital as the contribution of the race team.”
Such is the popularity of Lewis Hamilton and the victory t-shirts that McLaren’s merchandising department were inundated with orders the moment the story hit the press.
“Ever since he won so brilliantly at Monaco, and then came in to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking to give a rocket-red victory T-shirt to every McLaren Racing employee our merchandising guys tell me that the phones have been ringing off the hooks,” explained Matt Bishop, McLaren Group Head of Communications and Public Relations.
Visit www.mclarenshop.com to get your hands on you’re very own ‘rocket-red victory T-shirt’.