It has been another good week for recently-crowned 2008 Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who has been honoured for his title success and startling 2007 rookie season in the top flight with the receipt of two prestigious awards to add to his burgeoning trophy cabinet.
The McLaren-Mercedes star – who came within a whisker of glory in his maiden campaign in the top flight last year, courtesy of four victories and a run of nine straight podium finishes at the start of the season – was presented with the Segrave Trophy by British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss during a glittering awards lunch at The Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall.
The 23-year-old was selected for the accolade by dint of his magnificent F1 debut, during which he surpassed Bruce McLaren's record to become the youngest driver ever to head the standings.
The Segrave Trophy is named after the world land and water speed record-holder Sir Henry Segrave, and is awarded annually to a British subject for outstanding achievements in transport on land, water or in the air.
Sir Henry Segrave was a fighter pilot during World War One and after the war became the first British driver to win a grand prix in a British car. He also set three land speed records and became the first person to travel at over 200mph. Whilst holding the land speed record, he set a new world water speed record in 1930 on Lake Windermere, but was tragically killed on the next run when his boat, Miss England II, capsized at speed.
Lady Segrave presented the trophy that bears her husband's name to The Royal Automobile Club, to be awarded to those individuals who give the most outstanding demonstration of transport by land, air or water and in so doing show skill, courage and initiative – the spirit of adventure.
“It gives great pleasure to be here at The Royal Automobile Club,” Hamilton remarked, “and I want to say a big thank you to the members of the Segrave Trophy Committee for this honour. 2007 was an incredible season for me; I was really thrown into the limelight and into this amazing world.
“I just tried to do the best job and represent my country the best way I could, and even though we didn't win the championship, it was still a fantastic season. I did the job this year and I'm very proud to have won the world championship for the country, for my family and for the team. I'm now going to put this award on my mantelpiece and enjoy it.”
“On behalf of the Royal Automobile Club we are delighted to award the Segrave Trophy to Lewis Hamilton for his excellent debut season in Formula 1,” added Dr Stephen Hammerton, chairman of the Segrave Trophy Nominations Committee.