F1: Hamilton pockets more silverware at Autosport Awards

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarThursday, December 6th, 2007

 
 

The top one may have eluded him – Lewis Hamilton’s had no need to go out and buy a nice big sideboard on which to display his Drivers’ Championship silverware just yet.

But still the awards keep rolling in.

Following his nomination for what seems a fairly safe shoo-in as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, Hamilton has been surprised by a new set of gongs.

He picked up three trophies at the Autosport Awards on Sunday – becoming the first driver ever to bag a hat-trick on the night.

Hamilton is now officially Rookie of the Year, British Competition Driver of the year and International Racing Driver victor.

Needless to say, these are not necessarily categories you would normally expect to go hand in hand.

And his McLaren-Mercedes MP4-22 took the Racing Car of the Year prize.

Hamilton said, on receiving the rookie award: “I am so proud to be here this evening, to represent the team I work for.

“I have a huge crowd of people from McLaren, Mercedes and my family here. It has been a pleasure up there racing for them.

“It has been a dream come true. I receive this for you guys, I love you all.”

His top moment came when he was handed the British Competition Driver and International Racing Driver trophies by Viviane Senna, the sister of former McLaren driver Ayrton Senna, a childhood hero of Hamilton’s.

She said: “He reminds me of Ayrton as a pilot and also as a good man – we can see this in his eyes and his face.”

Hamilton was not the only British driver to get recognition on the night. Much of the event was devoted to a posthumous tribute to Colin McRae, the Scots rallying ace who died earlier this year in a helicopter crash.

IndyCar series champ and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti took a Gregor Grant Award for outstanding achievement in 2007.

Accepting the award from Sir Jackie Stewart, he said: “The Indy 500 was a shock. I tried so hard to win the thing, it’s such a long race and so many things can go wrong. I was in shock for about a week after.

“In the final race, I wasn’t conceding the title on the final lap, I was trying to size Scott Dixon up for a pass. Being a Scotsman, I had saved a load of fuel.

“I had that little bit of a draft, and just as I pulled alongside he ran out of fuel and we nearly had another one of those big wrecks.”

The McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award was taken by Stefan Wilson, younger brother of F1, Le Mans and Champ Car racer Justin.

Wilson junior, 18, expressed great satisfaction on being able to hand one to big brother who, although a nominee, never actually won the award himself.

He said: “This is the first time in my life that I have been speechless. I got to drive some amazing cars in the test, but to win the award is amazing.

“It’s great for me, it’s going to separate me from my brother. It gives me my own identity, and I can get one over him!”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, he expressed his intention to follow in the footsteps not of Wilson senior but of Lewis Hamilton.

“Lewis is a great inspiration. What he has done is great for all young British drivers.

“He has proved what you can achieve, and I want to get to that stage. F1 is the highest level of motorsport, and I’m sure with the right support I can get there one day.”

Get the full list of winners here.

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