Lewis Hamilton has returned to his roots after spending a day at the PF International karting venue in Lincolnshire to meet racing aces of the future.
The McLaren Mercedes ace took the chance to meet some of the drivers in the Formula Kart Stars Championship at the launch of the 2009 season, with the youngsters being given the chance to question the current Formula One champion on his own career.
Hamilton took the cadet class crown in what was then knows as the McLaren-Mercedes Champions of the Future series back in 1996, while Anthony Davidson, Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta are amongst other current leading drivers to have started their racing careers in the top UK karting championship.
“It was fantastic for me to have the opportunity to catch-up with the latest crop of Formula Kart Stars,” Hamilton said. “It's really cool to see how determined and competitive they are, I can remember being exactly the same!
“I enjoyed my time in the championship massively and, more importantly, learnt a huge amount. This is the real grass roots of the sport, and gives kids an opportunity to compete and develop as a driver, and also to get a full understanding of the dedication that is required. Hopefully I gave them some good advice the most important of which is not to neglect their education in their drive to succeed in motorsport!”
Series director Carolynn Hoy was also pleased to welcome Hamilton along for the day.
“Lewis is a patron of the championship and sponsors a special prize in our Mini Max class,” she said. “He has always been supportive of the championship and has remained involved ever since he raced with us more than ten years ago.
“When he was racing in Formula Renault and Formula 3 he would come to the Autosport Awards
each year and give out the prizes. He is still very interested in what's going on in the championship and goes onto the website, and I'm sure our competitors would be delighted to know that he actually does know who they are and what they're doing.
“It was fantastic to have him there. It was great for the kids, because his presence and the fact that he took time out to go and meet them only served to endorse their sport.”