Dan Wheldon death: F1 ace Hamilton pays tribute to IndyCar legend

PUBLISHED: 18:49 17 October 2011 | UPDATED: 07:50 18 October 2011

Lewis Hamilton [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes / www.mclaren.com]

Lewis Hamilton [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes / www.mclaren.com]


FORMULA 1 race ace Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon following his tragic death in a high-speed crash in America.

"This is a tragic loss at such a young age."

Lewis Hamilton

Wheldon was killed yesterday (Sunday) after a horrific 220mph 15-car smash in the Las Vegas Indy 300.

Hertfordshire-born Hamilton, 26, called Wheldon “an inspirational guy”.

“This is an extremely sad day,” said the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star, whose family live in Tewin.

“Dan was a racer I’d followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK.

“He was an extremely talented driver.”

Lewis added: “As a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy 500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration.

“This is a tragic loss at such a young age. My heart goes out to his family and friends during this extremely difficult time.”

Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Jenson Button said the sport had lost a legend.

“I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90s, a true fighter,” said the 2009 F1 world champion.

“We’ve lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy.”

The fiery pile-up in Las Vegas came hours after Hamilton had roared back to form in Yeongam by finishing second in the 2011 Korean Grand Prix.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Dan Wheldon’s death highlighted “the bitter contrast that sometimes exists between the highs and lows of motorsport”.

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