Video, Audio & Pictures: Lewis Hamilton returns to Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 11:47 30 November 2007 | UPDATED: 21:13 26 October 2009
HUNDREDS of fans queued for hours to meet Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton when he returned to his hometown this afternoon. He was at Waterstone s in Stevenage town centre to sign copies of his book My Story but took time out to chat with The Comet. I
HUNDREDS of fans queued for hours to meet Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton when he returned to his hometown this afternoon.
He was at Waterstone's in Stevenage town centre to sign copies of his book My Story but took time out to chat with The Comet.
"I didn't imagine having a book or having done as well as I have this year, so it's all been a bit of a dream, not only for me but for everybody, not only here in Stevenage but around the world," he said.
"Everybody dreams about being a racing driver and I'm doing that and I hope people are proud."
Asked if he considers Stevenage to be his hometown, he answered with a categorical "yes", adding: "Tewin is not where I grew up," referring to the village to which he moved when a late teenager.
Stevenage Borough Council intends to name a road after the race ace, as part of the major town centre redevelopment.
Lewis said: "I heard about that and thought initially it was a bit strange. I grew up in Peartree Way and to think a road like that could be named after me..."
Asked if he had any suggestions for the road name, he said: "Definitely not Lewis Lane. Even though I'm the racing driver, my family has put me where I am, so Hamilton Drive."
Lewis still has strong links with Stevenage and keeps in regular touch with school friends. "My best mate's from John Henry Newman and there's around three people I'm in touch with and they are still my closest friends."
The McLaren driver also went to school with England footballer Ashley Young, and keeps in touch with him through a mutual friend. "It's just great to see another friend doing so well," he said.
In an exclusive interview with The Comet, Lewis' father, Anthony, said: "I'm extremely proud of Lewis."
He added: "This was Lewis' choice [to come to Stevenage]. It wasn't part of our tour, he wanted to come back.
"He wanted to be here to switch on the Stevenage Christmas lights, but unfortunately he couldn't make it. It's great to be able to come here."
Speaking of his meteoric rise in F1 and subsequent thrust into the limelight, Lewis said: "It's very difficult, just the whole experience. It's difficult to come to terms with, meeting new people and people wanting to meet me, interviews, appearances, getting to travel to all these great places, and the pressure of being out on the Grand Prix track with people I have been watching for years. It's crazy."
To relax and unwind, Lewis said: "Generally, as soon as I'm done, I try to go and meet up with friends and go and do normal things. I'll go bowling or to a bar. I have tried doing these things and I have found it's impossible to do without being attacked by photographers, so it's very, very difficult."
Lewis intends to spend Christmas out of the country.