Lewis Hamilton makes emotional homecoming to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes headquarters in Woking After the drama and the celebrations, now the homecoming. For newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton, returning to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes...
After the drama and the celebrations, now the homecoming. For newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton, returning to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team's Woking base was always going to be top priority.
And on Wednesday morning, just three days after becoming the youngest-ever Formula 1 world champion at a nail-biting final race in Brazil, the 23-year-old returned to the McLaren Technology Centre to pay tribute to the men and women who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support his championship challenge.
Lewis chose the most dramatic entrance possible; driving his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 Formula 1 car down the slipway that lines the famous semi-circular lake in front of the Technology Centre. Appearing from out of the morning mist, Lewis revved the engine to its 19,000rpm limit before pulling up at the front entrance. Leaping from his car, he was met with an overwhelming roar of support from over 1000 McLaren employees, all dressed in the team's familiar Rocket Red victory T-shirts and eager to welcome home their conquering hero.
Speaking from a pedestal displaying all the trophies he has gathered during his two-year stint with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Lewis said: "I know how hard everybody has worked to achieve what we did this year - and I couldn't have succeeded without the help of everyone here today. I have a very strong emotional bond to this team - it's the best team in the world, and I'm very proud of everything we've achieved. I love this team and I ain't going nowhere."
McLaren Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis added: "There isn't just one world champion here today - there are 1000 world champions; they are who make this team so special."
Her Majesty The Queen also sent her best wishes in a letter, saying: "I am delighted that you have succeeded in winning the Formula 1 World Championship to become the youngest ever champion. I send you my warmest congratulations on your remarkable and historic achievement."