Lewis Hamilton Recalls Emotional Tale of ‘Looking for’ His Deceased F1 Hero Ayrton Senna in 1995

Published 08/09/2021, 2:49 PM EDT
A portrait of Ayrton Senna of Brazil, driver of the #1 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/7A Honda V12 during tyre testing for the British Grand Prix on 7 July 1992 at the Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, Great Britain. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Allsport/Getty Images)


In a recent fan meet on F1.com, Hamilton recalled the story of idolizing Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna and looking for him at an award ceremony after his passing. Lewis also mentioned how he approached Ron Dennis to sign him for McLaren. He also stated Senna’s helmet is his most prized possession in Formula One.

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Watched Ayrton Senna’s video every day: Lewis Hamilton

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The Mercedes driver recalled the impact of Senna on his life. He also stated that he had dreamt of racing with McLaren and emulating the success of the Brazilian driver.

I was coming home and watching Formula 1 and watching Ayrton Senna’s video ‘Racing is in my Blood’ every day,” said Hamilton.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes appears at the drivers press conference during previews prior to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Interlagos on October 18, 2007 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“My mind was set. I want to drive a McLaren, it’s my favorite looking car, and it’s got my favorite driver in it. Then when I won the championship, I got this opportunity to go to this award ceremony, and I’d never been to anything like it before. And when I got there, my dad was telling me who is who because I’m a ten-year-old, I have no idea.”

He also recalled frantically looking for his Brazilian racing hero. “I’m looking for Ayrton but of course, Ayrton is not there because he passed away the year before.”

Continuing the story, he added, “So my dad goes, ‘That’s Ron Dennis over there. He is the boss of McLaren that makes those cars that you love.’ And I knew immediately at that point, that’s who Ayrton drives for and that’s who I want to drive for.

Hamilton’s most prized F1 gift

Nine-year-old Hamilton who watched Senna’s video every day would be very proud of the driver he has grown up to be. Not only did he manage to actualize his dream of racing for McLaren F1, but he even won his first championship with them.

He has smashed record after record, even equaling Michael Schumacher’s untouchable record of seven world championships. However, a certain achievement from the Canadian Grand Prix holds a special place in the Briton’s heart.

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Ayrton Senna of Brazil sits aboard the #12 Camel Team Lotus Honda Lotus 99T Honda RA166E V6 turbo during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix on 11th April 1987 at the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet Jacarepagua circuit near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)

Back in 2017, Hamilton secured his sixth pole position in Montreal, which was his 65th pole in F1. This achievement tied him for second-most F1 pole positions with his idol, Senna. And the Brazilian racer’s family, well aware of Lewis’ admiration, saw this as an opportunity o present him with a memorable gift – a replica of Senna’s helmet.

Hamilton was beyond overjoyed at this, saying“I am shaking. Ayrton is the one who inspired me to be where I am. To match him and receive this is the greatest honor.

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“For the Senna family to send me this… is the most special thing I have above and beyond all my trophies and everything.

“I am honored to be honored by that family and honestly I couldn’t be happier.”

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Devang Chauhan

344 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sport Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been a ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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