“I want to be like him”– Meeting Lewis Hamilton in 2009 made George Russell determined to become a Formula 1 driver in future.
When George Russell was 11 years old, Lewis Hamilton broke into the scene with sensational performances and winning his maiden championship a year ago.
More than a decade ago, and Russell still remember this incident vividly when he met Hamilton. That was the day the 23-year-old driver decided to be an F1 driver.
“To be honest, I even remember it now,” said Russell. “It’s quite odd to remember a memory back from when you were 11 years old. In a way, it feels pretty surreal to be lining up alongside him next year.”
“I guess, when I did meet him, that is when I thought ‘I want to be like him. I want to be a Formula 1 driver and I want to win world championships’.”
It was like meeting a superhero
Hamilton already proved his worth to the F1 world when Russell first met him in person, and for him, it was not less than meeting a superhero, defining it as a special moment in life.
“I believe that was 2009,” added Russell, referring to the time he met Hamilton. “But Lewis turned up to PFI [a karting track], I think it was at the Formula Kart Stars. I was racing in Comer Cadet at the time, and it was like meeting a superhero.
“When you’re a child of that age, especially a racing driver, and you meet a Formula 1 driver, you don’t think these people are human and that was a really special moment for me.”
10 years later, Russell himself made his F1 debut with Williams, and in 2022 will be appearing along with his childhood hero Hamilton during the Grand Prix weekends.
While welcoming him to the team, when Mercedes announced the decision, Hamilton used the same photo from this day to mark Russell’s arrival.
I want to take a moment to welcome @GeorgeRussell63 to the team. Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot. I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise @MercedesAMGF1 higher. See you next year🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/CRsgrilmUd
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 7, 2021