Lewis Hamilton disguised himself as an engineer to surprise pupils on a tour of the home of his racing car team. The Formula 1 champion donned a full face mask as he met the pupils at the Mercedes headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire. The three pupils from a school in Camden, London, were then left “speechless” when he stripped off the disguise and told them: “I’m Lewis”.
Hamilton said he wanted to help inspire future engineers and drivers. Once he had revealed his true identity, the 36-year-old from Stevenage sat down with the schoolchildren to answer their questions and talk through the importance of education, a positive mental attitude and dedication. Hamilton told the children to “keep believing” in themselves.
Wealth manager and team sponsor UBS arranged for the children to visit the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team factory. It said Elijah, Hibo and Kieran were chosen because of their ambition to work in the engineering and automotive industries. They were shown around the factory and introduced to some of the different roles that deliver a Championship-winning F1 car. Elijah said meeting Hamilton was “like a dream come true”.
Before the tour, he said: “I really admire Lewis Hamilton because he’s black and he’s inspiring other black children to do whatever they can and that they should never give up on their dreams.” After meeting the seven-time world champion, he said: “Lewis said ‘if I can make it, anyone can make it’ and that’s really inspiring.” Hibo, who said she would like to design a car one day, said the experience had made her think “I can become what I want to become”. Kieran said he was inspired “to learn and learn more”.