LONDON (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton likes gold and the double Formula One world champion intends to get his hands on a pot of it at Silverstone on Sunday.
The Mercedes driver, who often wears a substantial golden necklace in the paddock, heads to his home British Grand Prix this weekend with every chance of repeating last year’s success.
If he does win the race for a third time, Hamilton expects to be handed something worthy of the occasion when he steps onto the podium.
“Last year they gave me this plastic thing and I‘m like, ‘This is not the trophy, it’s like a GP2 trophy not the Formula One trophy’,” the 30-year-old told reporters before a Petronas event at Mercedes-Benz World near the old Brooklands circuit south of London.
Silverstone hosted the first Formula One championship race in 1950 and the winner of the British Grand Prix has his name engraved on the golden Royal Automobile Club (RAC) trophy, first awarded in 1948.
“The gold one, that’s really special,” said Hamilton.
“It would be great if each country had a real trophy like that with character that grew over the years because it’s got history,” he added.
“The last one in Austria was wooden, the whole thing was wooden. The base was like lead. I mean, what? It’s supposed to be silver.”
Hamilton has won four of eight races so far this season, after 11 victories last year, and carries a 10 point lead over team mate Nico Rosberg into the weekend with organizers expecting most of the record 140,000 crowd to be backing the Brit.
Whatever the quality of the trophy ultimately on offer on Sunday, Hamilton left no doubt that Silverstone had a special place in his heart.
“I remember back in the day watching (1992 champion) Nigel Mansell holding the Union flag in the car. It is like the Olympics, like a gold medal, having the flag in the car after winning the grand prix,” he said.
”It is the closest thing I can imagine to having a gold medal.
“I might just get one made for myself. I might see if I can get one made for myself, I have got enough gold,” he joked.
He recognized, however, that the real value lay in winning something money could not buy.
“It is huge,” he said of the race. “I hope that I can go there and make people proud.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury