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Hamilton set for Olympic torch run

2012-07-03 08:18

LONDON, July 2 - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is due to run with the London Olympic torch, giving him another chance to shine and the chance of a double celebration if he can also win at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton was invited to carry the torch through Stevenage, the commuter town 50km north of London where he was born, but one glance at the race calendar made that a non-starter.

He has his hands otherwise engaged when the flame is in town around on June 8, just before the start of a race he has every hope of winning. So he will have to wait until June 9 instead at another location.

Hamilton, who grew up in local authority social housing before moving away from Stevenage early in his racing career, said it would be "an incredibly proud moment".

Hamilton said: "I am so honoured to have been asked to do it. I never in a million years would have thought I'd get to do something so cool.

"I have no idea where I'll be running but it's great to be the one."

The relay, which culminates in London for the opening of the Games on July 27, visits Milton Keynes, Buckingham, Bicester and Oxford - all within easy reach of Silverstone.

GOOD WEEKEND

Hamilton will do all he can to make sure the Silverstone race ends in a blaze of glory with the McLaren ace seeking victory in the ninth race of the season in front of one of the most passionate crowds in motor racing.

The 2008 British Grand Prix winner needs reel in Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso, who is 23 points ahead of him after winning in Valencia to snatch the lead.

That race was a miserable one for Hamilton, who was punted out on the penultimate lap by rookie Pastor Maldonado while defending third place, but he has turned his back on that disappointment.

Hamilton said: "Just excitement, sheer excitement to get back on it, to get back to where I was.

"It's just the amount of people that turn up, the fans and the roar and the atmosphere that they are able to create. If none of those fans were there, it would be so boring. They make the whole weekend. It's not the Formula One cars, it's the fans," he said.

Reuters