Despite failing to finish last weekend’s F1 Singapore grand prix, Lewis Hamilton remained firmly in the headlines as the F1 paddock debated his future with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.
Hamilton’s MP4-27 ground to a halt on lap 23, suffering from a gearbox failure, with some commentators viewing this latest disappointment as the final straw in 27-year old world champion’s relationship with the team.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview with ESPN F1, “I don’t think he knows what he will do.”, but was also of the mind that the deal was “85-90% complete” for Hamilton to stay with the team.
But despite the occasional disappointment, there are still some perks to being a McLaren F1 driver – especially when it involves signing your initials in the tarmac with a 616bhp McLaren 12C.
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Last Wednesday at the Changi Exhibition Centre in Singapore, Hamilton joined team sponsor Johnnie Walker at an event to promote the brand’s ‘Join the Pact’ initiative.
The initiative, which asks people to commit to saying ‘No’ to drink-driving has already seen McLaren ambassador Mika Hakkinen and fellow F1 driver, Jenson Button, perform a similar stunt in a Mercedes C63 AMG.
This, however, was the first time the stunt had been performed in front of a live audience.
Demonstrating the importance of always staying in control behind the wheel, the ‘World’s Most Powerful Signature’ was first performed by Jenson Button and Mika Häkkinen for a Johnnie Walker viral video that has since been viewed by more than 237,000 people around the world.
However the day wasn’t just about burning rubber in a McLaren 12C – Johnnie Walker also paid tribute to Singapore’s own racing legend, Rodney Seow, the 1967 Singapore Grand Prix winner when the event was held at the old Thomson Road circuit.
Lewis Hamilton presented Seow with a specially customised Johnnie Walker race helmet in honour of his achievements, while Seow paid his compliments to Hamilton – “It’s the first time I’m meeting any F1 driver, in fact. Lewis is a good driver. He’s very daring,” said Seow.
Many people believe Hamilton’s relationship with McLaren is irreparably damaged, but he looks happy enough at the wheel of a 12C, even if he did recently order himself a Mercedes-powered Pagani Zonda.
Images: Johnnie Walker Singapore, Lewis Hamilton (on Instagram)
Background: Johnnie Walker’s ‘Step Inside The Circuit’ campaign has amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube from a media spend of just £50,000. The episodes exceeded the industry’s average organic share rate of 10%, with an average of 70%, and with its adoption by broadcasters in over 150 countries has delivered an estimated earned media value of £41 million for the brand. If you’d like to get involved with ‘Join the Pact’, or just watch Jenson and Mika light up the tarmac in a Mercedes C63 AMG, then visit the Facebook page.