New Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his desire to remain a McLaren driver for the remainder of his career as he received a heroes welcome at the team's headquarters in Woking.

Hamilton, whose career has been carefully carved by the McLaren driver programme, clinched the 2008 world title at Interlagos after a nail-biting climax to the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Returning to the team's Surrey base, Hamilton was welcomed home by the team's 1,000 strong workforce, as well as a further 500 ancillary staff, as he drove his title winning car around the building's ornamental lake and parked it outside the main entrance.

Joined by pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, Hamilton revealed that he has no intention of deviating his career away from the team that helped him become the youngest champion in Formula 1 history.

"I'm with the team I've always dreamt of driving for, and I've got the car I always wanted - so why change?" the 23-year-old, who also received a congratulatory message from the Queen, told the BBC. "I don't know how long I'll be in F1 - but I want to see my career out with this team, and that's my plan."

Speaking on the day Barack Obama made history by being elected the first black American President, Hamilton played down the comparisons, insisting it his intention to be a general inspiration rather than just to minorities.

"I tried to watch it [the election]," he said. "I've got a huge amount of respect for both candidates and I'm very happy and proud to see Obama out front. Congratulations to him."

But he added that, like Obama, he did not see himself as a role model exclusively for minorities.

"I don't sit here and say I want to be an inspiration for one generation or race," he added. "The great thing is it opens up doors for all groups - anyone can get into it. I want to be as positive a role model as possible because I don't believe there are that many out there."

"I never go around the track thinking I'm the only one here. We've always been well treated and well respected and I'm proud I have managed to achieve this."

Three days after his remarkable title win, achieved when he overtook an ailing Timo Glock on the very final corner of the season to secure the fifth place he needed to be champion, Hamilton admits he is still coming to terms with the magnitude of his swift success.

"My heart's still racing - it hasn't really hit home yet, I'm out of breath. I can't believe there are so many people here. To know I have made so many people happy, I'm a bit overwhelmed.

"I've been thinking about my time with McLaren, all the landmark moments, just the whole journey. I love this team, and I ain't going nowhere.

"When I was 13, I went to the old headquarters and I used to go to the museum and see the old cars. I used to touch Ayrton Senna's car and imagine what it would be like to drive it and be in his position. That day has come, and I'm very proud."


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