‘It was like a dream’: Fan spots Lewis Hamilton at Promenade ahead of S’pore Grand Prix
A six-hour wait for Lewis Hamilton paid off when die-hard fan Muhammad Thasbeeh met the seven-time Formula One world champion in the wee hours of Friday morning.
The national serviceman and his cousin had been waiting outside the Singapore Grand Prix Paddock since 7pm on Thursday. They were about to leave the area near the Promenade MRT station at 1am on Friday when they spotted a black car with tinted windows exiting the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The duo were not sure if the 38-year-old Briton was in the car, but they immediately held up a banner which displayed the British flag and Hamilton’s helmet.
The car approached the duo, then made a sharp U-turn before coming to a stop. The Mercedes driver, who is in town for Sept 17 Singapore Grand Prix, then stepped out to greet them.
Thasbeeh, 21, said: “It was like a dream. To meet him in the scenario with no interruption from other fans or security guards was special. We had two to three minutes of time alone chatting with him.”
During the brief interaction, he showed Hamilton a photo of his brother who was also a fan, and told the Mercedes ace that they would support him regardless of his performance in Sunday’s race.
Hamilton posed for photos with the pair and expressed his gratitude for their support, he added.
Thasbeeh, who has met Hamilton at least seven times, said he admired the Briton for his humble upbringing and his determination to race to the top.
He added that he was bursting with excitement during their exchange but tried to stay calm.
“I know that I can’t be too excited towards the F1 drivers because they are also human. I wanted them to feel comfortable so they can take photos and chat with me,” he added.
Some 250,000 fans are expected during the 14th edition of the iconic night race.
Other lucky F1 fans here have also bumped into drivers in unique situations.
On Thursday, fans spotted AlphaTauri’s Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda at Marina Bay Sands as a boatman on the indoor canal’s Sampan Rides.
At Jewel Changi Airport, Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez battled it out on cleaning machines as they swerved through obstacles to mop the airport’s floors, much to the amusement of fans.
“Cleaning has never been so competitive,” said racing team Red Bull Racing in an Instagram post.
Last October, fans of Lando Norris were treated to the McLaren driver DJ-ing at Marina Bay nightclub Avenue after the F1 race here.
TikTok user katie said: “I’m not being funny but my goal in life is to go to a club with Lando as the DJ.”