Lewis Hamilton has returned from victory in Hungary to thank McLaren staff for their work, talk about how racing drivers bond with their cars – and to apologise for his language as he celebrated crossing the line as winner.
Introduced by team principal Martin Whitmarsh, Hamilton spoke to a gathering of workers at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking for several minutes, as the video below shows.
As well as thanking them for their efforts, he joked with them about winning the rest of the season’s races and making a bid for the drivers’ championship. To general laughter, he told them: “I have to say to you that, not getting ahead of ourselves like Martin said, if we win every single race this year, for the rest of the year, 89 points is what we can get – so it’s not impossible, it’s not impossible.”
He said tasting victory after the team’s poor start to the season had felt like the final race of his championship season all over again: “When I was driving the car I was just very proud, throughout the race, just knowing the all the hard work that’s gone into this car, and I thought ‘I’m going to treat it well and get it to the end of the race and fingers crossed we can win this’.
“Coming across the line, I’m sure for all you was a sigh of relief, but for me my heart just – all the emotions and all the adrenaline from all the wins we’ve had in the past, and the championship, just exploding, like revisiting Brazil.”
He talked about the frustration of not having a competitive car: “We’ve been driving this car all year and it’s not felt like the cars we’ve had the last two years – but you still, as a racing driver, have this bond with your car. You still believe in it and you still feel if you just treat it that little bit better it will get you to the end of the race and perhaps in a better position.”
And he admitted his embarrassment that accidentally switching his radio on had transmitted a burst of swearing as he won: “I think you heard me shouting in the car – I hope you didn’t understand what I said! I accidentally flicked the radio switch on, and going up the straight I shouted “ffff… ‘king mega”, you know, I think I swore.
“It was like ‘yeah boys, feels great’, and then I realised the radio was on and I was so embarrassed. I didn’t say a word, I just switched it off, pulled in, and just felt really embarrassed.”
No one seemed to mind.
Introducing him, Whitmarsh said: “Standing on the podium as team principal having won a race is just a fantastic feeling. I thanked Lewis at the time, but I think it’s right to thank everyone here personally. I’m very proud to be part of this team. Only a few weeks ago we were being written off. We did it. We did it because of the efforts of lots and lots of people.”