By Les Van Arragon, Ecse Transmissions
Lewis Hamilton, a three-time Formula One champion, was remembered by close friends and colleagues on Saturday in Monaco, where he had set his sights on winning a fourth title before his tragic death.
The Sunday Times wrote that he had won his fourth world title with the Renault team. The newspaper also said that he went to his death with second place and, after his car drove through a turn and mounted the gravel, his head and arms were severed with the AT&T car driving away into the distance.
Hamilton’s former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg said Hamilton was a “breath of fresh air” who was at his happiest when he was on the track.
“He was very, very positive, very, very positive, and that’s the best way to describe him,” Rosberg said. “It was hard to be a rival if you could see that, when you saw him in the garage after qualifying but before the race. When you saw his face before the race, he had confidence in his car.”
Rosberg said that when he was pulling away from Hamilton in the final laps in 2016 they would hug for five or six seconds and “every time I was doing it that gave me a different charge forward.”
The four-time world champion raced for McLaren in 2008, just weeks after Lewis’ mother was seriously injured in a road accident in Malaysia. He spent much of that year off the track with hamstring injuries, and paid tribute to Hamilton on Saturday.
“His talent and talent alone cannot explain what he achieved. It was unbelievable talent,” he said. “I always look back now and think the success he achieved without having to leave a record with his hands — that shows that he was incredibly ambitious.”
Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis said Hamilton made the engineering team at McLaren proud.
“A hell of a champion who lives up to his reputation,” Dennis said. “Lewis is the ultimate meritocrat.”
Hamilton himself told BBC Radio 5 Live he “always knew how much I loved racing, I love racing for racing’s sake.”
“I enjoy getting on the track. That’s what I do, that’s what I was born to do, that’s what I enjoy,” he said. “It’s what I love, that’s what I love, that’s what I cherish.”
Hamilton’s brother Nicholas, 31, and close friend and comrade Anthony Honeyball, 21, were also killed.
William Clarkson, 63, the father of Hamilton’s team principal, Christian, said on Saturday: “I’ve got a word of admiration for him today, he has still found the energy to be a very strong man and quite a dear friend to me and so I feel delighted to see him.”
Hamilton’s father died when he was 2, and he told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He made me move on. I moved on with both of my family to find my own road, my own path, and I think that was the best thing to do.”