herald

Monday 28 July 2014

All Hamilton wants is the car of his dreams

Lewis Hamilton needs two more Formula One championships to get his hands on the €6.2m car of his dreams.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver, looking relaxed and considerably more bright-eyed than the reporters around him after becoming the youngest champion in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix thriller, said on Monday that records and riches mattered little to him.

However, sitting in a comfortable armchair in a hotel suite, he made clear that he would do everything in his powers to become a triple champion.

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis promised the Briton before he entered Formula One last year that he would give him a rare McLaren F1 road car, currently on display at the Woking factory, if he won three titles for him.

"I want to win this car, I want to get this car off Ron," Hamilton said. "I will definitely work as hard as I can to get to number three.

"We made a deal, three world championships. It's a car that I've always wanted. I got a car book, a nice book for Christmas years and years ago when I was about 10, and it had the orange McLaren F1 LM on the front of it.

"And that was my dream car then.

"Then I got signed up by McLaren, I went to the factory and saw it and ever since I've gazed at it every time I've walked past it," he added.

"Still today, it's the only car I ever really stop by apart from Ayrton (Senna's) 1989 car.

"I stop by it and I always open it up and just smell it -- carbon, fresh, new. It's number one out of five and the most expensive and beautiful car in the whole world. It's the one that I want."

A 1997 McLaren F1 road car, one of 64 examples built by the company, was sold at auction by Sotheby's in London last Thursday for £2.53 m (€3.14m). When new, they retailed at £634,500.

"This particular car is the rarest of the F1s, it's an LM," said Dennis of the Woking example. "So I would say it was worth at least double that (auction price).

"At least I don't have to give it away for a couple of years but it will be a small price to pay for three world championships."

Hamilton has already set a string of Formula One firsts, scoring more points and podiums from his first two seasons than any other driver, and some have already talked about him beating Michael Schumacher's record of seven titles.

He batted off such discussions however. "I don't ever plan on trying to reach any of his records," he said of Schumacher.

"It's not something that appeals to me. Records don't mean a huge amount to me.

"I love racing, I love getting in the car and winning championships. That's always been something I've loved doing, and the feeling you have after all that work from the people around you."

A year ago, Hamilton looked wrecked after losing the title by a single point and then spending the night drowning his sorrows.

PARTY

On Monday, he was up bright and early with a spring in his step. He said he had drunk mostly water the previous evening, just enjoying watching the team party around him.

Fame and fortune on an almost unimaginable scale await the boy from the working class council estate but the sport's first black champion said there was nothing he needed, no luxury shopping trip ahead of him.

"I'm comfortable in life," he said. "It's an amazing feeling to know that you've made some money, considering that I never had 100 pounds to go and buy myself some trainers when I was younger. To think that we can do that now is great.

"But I would have done it for free. It just so happens that I get paid to do my hobby, the thing I love, and it's nice to be able to take care of my family. That's all that really matters."

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