Lewis Hamilton is probably one of the best-known celebrities in the world today. As the winner of three World Championships, he has certainly stamped his mark upon the world of F1. Currently, as I write, he has narrowed the gap between Sebastian Vettel (four World Championships) to just 1 point, with half of the season still to come. What’s more remarkable though is that at Silverstone last weekend, Hamilton managed to equal the records of Jim Clark and Alain Prost, who also won the British Grand Prix 5 times.
To many (if not the vast majority even) of the fans at Silverstone, Hamilton is the local hero (he was born in Stevenage, not far from Silverstone). Sitting in the stands I saw this was the case, as every time he came around, the fans would applaud him, stand up in their seats and clap and scream his name. It created an unbelievable atmosphere and Lewis himself says that it helps him as he races around the track at speeds up to and above 200 mph. It certainly seems to!
Another sign of how much his fans love him is that we had to wait almost 3 hours for him to appear on stage after the race. Personally, I was struggling as I have arthritis and as this was our first time at Silverstone (indeed, at any F1 Grand Prix) we had failed to bring chairs to sit on! I was about to call it a day when he suddenly appeared on stage with members of his family.
He certainly knows how to work the crowd as well. Also, he shows his appreciation for the support the fans give him. In particular, he spends a long time getting up close with the fans, signing autographs and generally answering questions. He also crowd-surfed at the event!
Not everyone loves Hamilton (Vettel?) but they respect him. He is dedicated driver and appreciates the support of fans, especially those at Silverstone, where he describes the atmosphere as unique and so crucial to helping him to victory. I estimate that there were tens of thousands of fans hanging on his every word at the post-race event on the main stage. What other driver gets that level of support from their fans?
The actual race was thrilling and I managed to get some decent shots, though ones of Hamilton not so good as the crowd literally stand up and wave their arms in the air as he drives by! However, here are a few examples. Some are of F2 and GP3 cars.