Lewis Hamilton has revealed that an early fear of his in Formula 1 was that he wouldn’t have any fans, something which is certainly not the case, with the seven-time World Champion arguably having the biggest global fanbase.
Many people were extremely excited ahead of his debut for McLaren in 2007, with the British driver having been dubbed during his successful junior career as a future F1 World Champion.
It’s safe to say they weren’t wrong, with Hamilton having gone on to become the most decorated F1 driver in the history of the sport.
In a YouTube video for Mercedes, where Hamilton reacted to comments from some of his fans, the 37-year-old revealed his fear of having no fans ahead of his F1 debut and how he was “overwhelmed” by the support he received from day one in the sport.
“It’s been beautiful to see people who have known me, somehow followed me before I even got to Formula One, and then people who started the journey with me in 2007,” said Hamilton.
“And even for those who have joined along the way I love how this sport unites us and this journey has brought us together.
“I never ever actually thought, when I was growing up in Stevenage and playing around the corner in the park, I never thought I’d have a follower other than my mum, a supporter other than my mum or my dad.
“Then when I saw the first one in 2007 I was very overwhelmed just by the first person that noticed supporting me and that’s grown over time so I’m so grateful.”
His fans certainly stuck by his side throughout his disastrous 2022 campaign, which was statistically the worst of his 16-year career.
For the first time in his F1 career, the Stevenage-born driver failed to claim either a pole position or a victory, and even ended the year behind team-mate George Russell.
Hamilton admits it’s one of the worst seasons he’s ever had and that it got to a point in 2022 where “fifth, felt like a win”.
“This year was not the greatest,” admitted the Brit.
“It is probably up there with the top-three worst seasons. But in terms of how the team stayed united, there have been lots of pluses.
“It would have been nice to have taken a win, but one win is not really enough is it?
“I feel like this year, when we got our first fifth, it felt like a win. When we got our first fourth, it felt like a win. When we got our first podium, it felt like a win, and those second places felt as if we really achieved something, so I’ll just hold on to those.”