Charles Hamelin was greeted with a nice surprise on Saturday when he met his idol Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes team garage, an hour before the final free session.
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Behind the scenes, the people of the Canadian Grand Prix, his agent, Russell Reimer, and his fiancée, Geneviève Tardif, have been preparing the project ever since Hamilton congratulated Hamelin after his gold medal in the 5000m relay. meters at the Beijing Olympics. his Twitter feed.
It all came together last week when the seven-time world champion’s schedule was confirmed.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Hamelin, who wore his Hamilton-inspired helmet at the recent Games. I couldn’t believe it when he arrived in the locker room. He is an exceptional athlete, but also a genuine and caring person. He didn’t know me at all and came up to me and greeted me as if we were friends. I want to be friends with him. “
“After his reply on Twitter, I had nothing more to ask him, to add the short track skater who has just retired. On the flight home from the Games, I had paid for the wireless internet signal and her response and the photo of the two of us were the first things I saw when I opened the phone. His response confirmed why I found it inspiring. “
Hamelin’s girlfriend struggled to keep the secret. “I did it this morning [samedi] when she got to the circuit so she wasn’t late, she said. I was telling him that she had an interview with you at 11:30 and she had to be on time. She didn’t understand how a 10-15 minute delay could be so important. Hamelin was touched by his meeting. “I’ve met some great people in my career, but this one is really special. Out of embarrassment, I rarely take self-portraits, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity. “
During their 15-minute chat, Hamelin and Hamilton specifically discussed their shared passion for English bulldogs, and the retired speed skater took the opportunity to present a gift to the experienced racer. Stella and Rosco, for their part, were not present at the meeting between their masters.
“I gave him the autographed helmet I was wearing in Beijing,” he said. Even without knowing that I was going to meet Lewis, I had brought my helmet as a gift to someone on his team. Lewis told me he skated when he was younger at home. “
Since he was young, Hamelin has been an F1 fan. “I was already very interested in F1 and I am 100% on board after Jacques Villeneuve’s world title [le 26 octobre 1997], declared Canada’s most male medal in Winter Games history with six. I bought magazines, recorded his races and had scale models of his car. I have never collected and the series Guide to survive on Netflix added to my interest. There are many similarities between the two sports. Watching his races, I was trying to use some tricks when cornering and overtaking. If it worked for him at 300km / h, I thought it might work at lower speeds. “