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Hamilton lauded at Autosport Awards
December 03, 2007 14:11 IST
Formula One sensation Lewis Hamilton [Images] collected an armful of trophies at an awards ceremony on Sunday and heard Ayrton Senna's sister compare him to the late Brazilian great.
"He reminds me of Ayrton as a pilot (driver) and also as a good man," Viviane Senna told the audience at the Autosport Awards attended by many of the luminaries of motor sport.
"We can see this in his eyes and his face."
The McLaren driver finished runner-up in his rookie championship to Ferrari's [Images] Kimi Raikkonen [Images] but the 22-year-old still beat the Finn to the magazine's 'International Racing Driver of the Year' award.
Senna also presented Hamilton with the 'British Competition Driver of the Year' award while Damon Hill, Britain's last F1 champion in 1996, handed him the 'Rookie of the Year' award for the second season in a row.
"I'm a bit speechless actually," Hamilton said after embracing Senna, whose brother was the Briton's own boyhood hero until the Brazilian died at Imola in 1994.
"Ayrton was such a big part of my life....I was always watching his videos and never imagined I'd get to meet someone so close to him.
"I was really disappointed when I missed him in 1995, just a year too late," added Hamilton, harking back to a similar night 12 years ago when he first walked up to McLaren boss Ron Dennis and told him he wanted to drive for his team one day.
On a night for runners-up, Finn Marcus Gronholm was named as 'International Rally Driver of the Year' only hours after being beaten to the title yet again by Frenchman Sebastien Loeb.
McLaren, stripped of their constructors' points this season and fined $100 million after a spying controversy over leaked Ferrari technical information, won the 'International Racing Car of the Year' award with their MP4-22.
In a further barb to champions Ferrari, presenter Steve Rider quipped that it was a car "unlike the Ferrari in every conceivable aspect".
Williams co-owner Patrick Head was honoured for 30 years of technical achievement with the former world champions, who finished fourth this season after McLaren were penalised.
"We've done nothing in serious terms this season so I feel a bit of a fraud coming up here," he said in typically blunt fashion.
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