Lewis Hamilton begins latest leg of Olympic Torch Relay
Monday 09 July 2012
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton joked that he would have liked to have swapped his disappointing finish in the British Grand Prix yesterday for carrying the Olympic flame in his home town.
The McLaren Mercedes driver and 2008 Formula 1 champion had been due to carry the torch as it passed through Stevenage, the Hertfordshire town where he grew up, but swapped to today because of the clash with the race at Silverstone.
After starting today's Olympic Torch Relay in Luton, Hamilton, 27, joked that he would have liked to have carried it yesterday after all, following a disappointing eighth-place finish which leaves him fourth in the championship.
"It wasn't that great a day, so I would happily have missed that to come and do it that evening," he said.
"But I am so proud to do it, it doesn't matter where I do it."
Describing the response from fans in the town centre as "phenomenal", he added: "To be nominated to do this is a real honour, I never in a million years thought I would have a chance to do it."
He said he had bought his torch and planned to keep it above his mantelpiece.
Hundreds of people, many of them schoolchildren, turned out to see Lewis start Day 52 of the relay in pole position, gathering for the start in St George's Square and along his 300m leg just after 6.30am.
It took him slightly longer than the three seconds it would take in his F1 car before he handed over to local student Hollie Baxter, 17, who suffers from Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome and has been in a wheelchair since she was 11.
When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant