Lewis Hamilton Gets "Champions' Avenue" Entry in Spain
All past champions of the Formula One Championship have received the same honor in the past, including Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Fernando Alonso or Nelson Piquet. The awarding ceremony was finally official on Friday afternoon, when Hamilton unveiled the plaque featuring his signature and the words “Thanks for your Passion and Support”.
“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 have heard the speech, and know I am welcome here is a great thing for me, and to be recognised as world champion is something very, very special to me. I will always carry with that me,” said the reigning F1 champion.
“So I want to say thank you to the people here at Catalunya for having me, and for their continued support, and thank you for Bernie's kind words as well. I will continue to do the best job I can, and I hope to continue making my country and my team proud,” added Hamilton.
The distinction is as valuable to the British ace as it comes at the same circuit where he was booed and suffered racist abuse from the Spanish fans no less than one year ago.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to show you that you are a driver always welcome to Catalunya. Passion means Formula 1, and you are a part of this passion for motor sport. Keep like this for us. We need people like you. Today your name is written on a permanent page in Champions' Avenue,” said circuit boss Ramon Praderas.
Bernie Ecclestone also praised Hamilton for his hard work and champion-like attitude inside the sport, while also stressing out his incredible down-to-earth behavior.
“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 one 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,” added the F1 supremo.