Soon to be crowned four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was greeted with a guard of honour, as he returned home for a Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team celebration, with the entire squad this week.
The Brit started off his day by visiting the Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) factory in Brixworth, where he was honoured for his recent achievements on track, before heading to the teams Brackley base, where staff performed the guard of honour for their championship winning driver, to celebrate his recent achievements.
Although Hamilton will not be officially crowned as the 2017 Formula 1 world champion until the FIA Prize Giving Gala in two week’s time, Mercedes could not wait that long to get their own celebrations underway with the whole team.
The Brit was certainly not expecting such a huge welcome, and was humbled by the response he received from staff, before thanking them for helping him to achieve his dreams.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome.
“Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone.
“I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you.
“This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff praised the team’s work ethic and spirit, stating that they could not have achieved what they have this year, without each and every one of them.
“Since I was fortunate enough to join this team in 2012, I have seen it go from strength to strength.
“I still see many of the same faces who were here when I joined, but also new faces as we have continued to build the strength of this group.
“We are fortunate to have the right resources, which isn’t always a given, but importantly we have the right people. We have a team that works together in the right spirit and the mind-set of success in Brixworth and Brackley.
“We have not allowed ourselves to become complacent, but remain motivated and energised. For me, I could not imagine working with a better group of people. I would like to say thank you very much to all of you.”
Mercedes Non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, also commented on how proud he was of everyone this season, in what he deemed as their most difficult year so far.
“For the fourth time in a row I’m in the fortunate position to say thank you to the entire team. The 2017 season has been a challenging year because of the rule change. A rule change always means uncertainty; no one knows what the other guys are doing.
“We started with a difficult car, but the team was able to consistently improve it throughout the season, which was the key to winning the championships.
“The team did a fantastic job and Lewis did a fantastic job. I’m really proud of everyone, it’s an incredible achievement.
“This year was the most difficult one so far and next year it will be even more difficult, but I trust the team 100%!