BBC Sport formula1


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 17:41 UK

Spanish F1 track honours Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was honoured at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona
Lewis Hamilton was honoured at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton has been honoured with a plaque at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya, the track where he was subjected to racist abuse by fans last year.

The commemorative plaque will grace the "walk of champions" at the Spanish GP track, alongside F1 greats such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

"Knowing I am welcome here is a great thing for me." said Hamilton, 24.

The Englishman is F1's first driver of Afro-Caribbean origin, and became its youngest world champion in 2008.

Hamilton unveiled the plaque at a ceremony inside the paddock between Friday's two practice sessions.

It carries the words "thank you for your passion and support" above the world champion's signature.

Hamilton added: "Wow! It's kind of emotional to be standing here, to be in Barcelona, to be here at Catalunya, one of my favourite circuits.

"To be recognised as world champion is something very, very special to me. I will always carry that with me.

"So I want to say thank you to the people here at Catalunya for having me, and for their continued support."


"I will continue to do the best job I can, and I hope to continue making my country and my team proud."

Earlier F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone offered supportive words for Hamilton, who has had a difficult start to the season both on and off the track.

His McLaren team received a suspended three-race ban from the sport's governing body, the FIA in April, after being found guilty of misleading the stewards at the Australian Grand Prix.

"It seems to me this plaque Lewis has got is not going to be one of those things that's going to be repeated every year if he wins every year here," said Ecclestone.

"I hope, if that's the case, we're going to see one for next year because up until now he's had a terrible year through no fault of his own, and I'm sure he's going to remedy that very, very quickly.

"The good thing about Lewis is that he hasn't forgotten his roots. He supports go-karting, and he supports all forms of motor sport, so it's not just Formula 1.

"This is what we need guys to do, not to forget where they come from. Anyway, I'm very happy he's going to get this award."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "We're obviously very proud to have Lewis in our team, he is a great world champion, and we are very proud to see our name is going to be incorporated permanently with this memorial."

Print Sponsor

see also
Website racists target Hamilton
31 Oct 08 |  Formula 1
Hamilton saddened by racist abuse
04 Feb 08 |  Formula 1
McLaren given suspended race ban
29 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton considered quitting F1
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Button and Rosberg set Spain pace
08 May 09 |  Formula 1

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites