Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was “very emotional” after being given a guard of honour by Mercedes’ UK-based team.
Hamilton will formally lay hands on his fourth drivers’ title after the calendar wraps up in Abu Dhabi this weekend, with the marque also celebrating its fourth constructors’ championship.
The 32-year-old returned to England on Monday to celebrate with team-mates in Brixworth and Brackley, with Mercedes staff at the latter honouring him with a hero’s welcome to their headquarters.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this,” Hamilton said.
“Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away. This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together.
“There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you.”
Team chairman Niki Lauda, addressing the group, hailed their shared success.
“For the fourth time in a row I’m in the fortunate position to say thank you to the entire team,” said the three-time former drivers’ champion.
“The team did a fantastic job and Lewis did a fantastic job. I’m really proud of everyone, it’s an incredible achievement.”
Team principal Toto Wolff also hailed the collective quality that supports Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on a day-to-day basis.
“We are fortunate to have the right resources, which isn’t always a given, but importantly we have the right people,” he said.
“We have a team that works together in the right spirit and the mind-set of success in Brixworth and Brackley. We have not allowed ourselves to become complacent, but remain motivated and energised. For me, I could not imagine working with a better group of people.”