An emotional Lewis Hamilton admitted he felt lost for words on Saturday when he was given his hero Ayrton Senna’s 1987 race helmet after equalling the Brazilian’s career total of 65 pole positions.
“Wow, I am shaking,” said the three-time World champion, who had broken the lap record at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on his way to securing pole for Mercedes in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“I am speechless,” added the Briton.
“Ayrton was my favourite driver. He inspired me to be where I am today. To receive this is a great honour. Thank you to the Senna family.”
Hamilton had become the first man to break the 1min 12sec barrier at the circuit and had to trim his time to 1:11.459 seconds to resist the challenge of championship leading Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who qualified second.
The canary yellow helmet was worn by Senna during the 1987 season when he raced for the Lotus-Honda team.
Hamilton said: “I remember getting home from school and putting on the video tape of Ayrton Senna and I can’t believe I’m here with that many poles. The fact that I have now reached him in that area — I can’t believe it.
“It’s the most special thing I have, beyond all the trophies and everything. I am so honoured to be honoured by that family. As a kid I thought maybe, one day, I can get to Formula One and emulate Ayrton. To equal him… I just can’t believe it.”
Asked where he planned to keep the helmet, he revealed: “People don’t realise this, but all the stuff that I get… well, I live in an apartment in Monaco and there’s not a lot of space for a lot of trophies, but I definitely will have space for that one.
“It will be on my table, the centre-piece, in the living room and it will be the first thing you see when you come in.”
Source: The Hindu