Monte Carlo, Singapore City, Shanghai… and now Stevenage

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, October 28th, 2008

 
 

Ye gods, it must have been a culture shock for Ed Gorman. It’s not exactly the sort of place that the F1 press corps can be used to visiting.

However, to be absolutely fair to the man, when he takes a trip to Lewis Hamilton’s hometown and writies about it for The Times‘ F1 section and also for his blog, he does give a pretty fair and un-snobbish account of the place.

We feel we’re in a reasonable position to judge. Stevenage is very familiar to us here at Brits on Pole.

We don’t actually live there. In fact, we inhabit one of the numerous nearby settlements that define themselves through not being Stevenage, and offer up nightly prayers to the gods of planning that things remain that way.

But we are certainly close enough to visit its parks and shops and to know about the beautiful countryside that surrounds it (for the moment).

It is one of the reasons why we’d love to see Lewis Hamilton win the title – as Ed Gorman gets across in his piece. Having an idea of his background, and contrasting it with the Monaco-based upbringing and F1 champion father of, say Nico Rosberg, makes you appreciate just how much he has achieved.

And if this article can communicate this to a few of the people that see Hamilton as arrogant, spoiled or entitled, then that can only be a good thing.

We particularly liked Lin Greenslade, the lady from the coffee shop, who said: “Stevenage does have a reputation as a bit of a hole. So it’s great to have someone as classy as he is representing us.”

Good on you, Lin. You can read on via the link below:

Downtown reality of where Lewis Hamilton’s dreams were made

Hamilton, though, is out on his own in putting Stevenage on the map, a place where history started on the board of the local planning office just 60 years ago and which, these days, is looking a little careworn. Uniform, slab-sided, concrete-made, Stevenage is East German inelegant and functional; a matrix of shopping centres and council estates, connected by spacious tree-lined avenues and parks. Like a giant architect’s drawing, it sits in rolling hills to the north of London in easy commuting distance for its inhabitants, one of whom, Hamilton’s father Anthony, chose it for his home 25 years ago.

After two years following Hamilton around the globe in the “glamorous world” of Formula One, when you get to the grey downtown reality of Stevenage you cannot help thinking, “So this is where Lewis grew up”; this is where he went shopping with Carmen, his mother, Linda, his stepmother; this is where he dreamt of being a Formula One driver when his dreams were just that and his prospects of achieving them, as a mixed-race kid from a council house on the town’s Shephall estate, were of the billion-to-one variety. Read the full piece here…

He expands on the point in his blog here – also well worth reading >>

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