Lewis Hamilton spent time at the Mercedes base in Brackley yesterday, where he met with the troops before the race team’s long haul to Melbourne.
The four-time world champion’s day was spent in engineering meetings, debriefs, sponsor appearances and conducting various commitments at the German outfit’s headquarters.
But after lunch, Hamilton also took the time to deliver a personal, rallying message to his crew.
“When I come to the factory at the beginning of the year and see the car being designed and built in all these different areas, I am always fascinated,” he said.
“The parts are brought together and make such a work of art. I am just amazed at what everyone is able to achieve and I can only say that it is the greatest feeling in the world when I get to that first test and get in the car.
“I feel incredibly blessed to be one of only two people to get to drive this machine.”
The 33-year-old starts his 12th season at the pinnacle of motorsport, but the years, the travels, the challenges and the hard work have taken nothing away from the pleasure he feels when he lines up on an F1 grid behind the wheel of his Silver Arrows.
“Everyone’s done an incredible job and I want them to know we’ll be giving it everything going into the first race and hopefully get the best of the Bulls and Ferraris,” he added.
“It’s really encouraging, being my sixth year with the team, to see how motivated everyone is.
“I think that’s something we all have in common. Everyone’s continuously pushing to better themselves, their work and take it to the next level.
“The unity I have seen develop at this team over the years, there is nothing like it. It is hands down the best team because we all work together, and that’s really inspiring for me.
“I will give it everything this season, title number five is the ultimate goal. Let’s go for it!”
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