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Hamilton honoured at Buckingham Palace 10 Mar 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 Launch, McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, England, 16 January 2009

Although his attention is now firmly focused on his campaign for the forthcoming season, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took time to reflect on his title-winning success of 2008 on Tuesday, as he was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in London. World champion Hamilton was named in the New Year Honours list in January in recognition of his services to motor racing.

“To go to the Palace today and meet Her Majesty The Queen was an incredible experience, following what has been an intense, exciting and unbelievable 12 months of my life,” said the British driver after receiving his award. “I’m so proud of the reception I have received from everybody in the United Kingdom.

“People’s enthusiasm and support - even during the tough times - really kept me going and helped me through an extremely demanding year. To be recognised alongside the people who make an outstanding and selfless contribution to society, is truly humbling and I’d like to thank Her Majesty The Queen, her Government and the British public for bestowing this honour on me.

“I’d also like to thank my family for sharing my dream and helping to make it a reality. Last but not least, I’d also like to thank my team - Vodafone McLaren Mercedes - for taking a chance on me when I was 13 years old. I still can’t believe I’m in Formula One and that I’m now a world champion - it’s incredible.”

Hamilton was honoured alongside around 120 others, as the Queen officially oversaw the investiture in the Palace’s State Ballroom.