Lewis Hamilton is heading into his 300th F1 start not only a completely different driver, but also a completely different man to his first race.
In the 15 years since the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton has ditched the shaved cut and questionable sideburns for his much more aesthetically appealing beard and dreadlocks combo. There's also the small matter of seven world championship wins in that time too.
But despite everything that has happened, his debut in the sport, which saw him secure a podium finish, remains his personal highlight. “The whole realisation of reaching your dream is a very, very surreal experience, it is always going to be your first, there’s only one first,” he said this week.
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“Just getting to that first Grand Prix in 2007, the amount of sleepless nights as a family all of us had had not knowing if we would reach our dream but never giving up nonetheless and being there, that will probably be the real highlight.”
The 2022 season has been his toughest so far, but three consecutive podium finishes in the last three races have offered the Mercedes man a glimmer of hope of winning his first race of the year.
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“It’s been really positive to have some consistency come back in," said Hamilton. "We’re constantly adding performance, we’re constantly progressing and there’s a lot to come. In the last race we were only a few tenths off the lead guys in qualifying."
Asked if the elusive victory could come at this weekend's French GP, he continued: "I hope so, that's what we're all working towards.
"I'm working towards getting that win and I do believe at some stage we will be able to compete with these guys, whether that's this weekend or in five races time. The journey is the important part.
"We started off not where we wanted to be, we've made progress and we've started to hit a patch of consistency. When we do get back to where we deserve to be, I think we'll appreciate it that much more."
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