Lewis Hamilton explained his aversion to using the champion's number one on his car, having done so in the first free practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton carried the number one on his nose in FP1 – the first time he has opted to take #1 after winning a championship.
Hamilton raced with number one on his McLaren in 2009 as world champion, but he has decided to keep 44 on his car after his subsequent title wins, with drivers able to select their own numbers since 2014.
However, Hamilton said he opted to change his approach in FP1 at Yas marina in tribute to his Mercedes team as they celebrate a fifth double championship-winning season in a row.
"I personally don't like it, I don't like it at all," said Hamilton. "It was just for one session, it doesn't really mean anything.
"The reason I did it is because I've been here for six years and since we've been world champions [in 2014, '15, '17', '18] we've never had the number one on the car and I thought it would just be cool.
"I remember when McLaren had number one when Jenson [Button] won the world title and he moved [from Brawn] and brought it with him.
"It's strange that McLaren could then have number one – the next team can, wherever you go."
He added: "I remember the engineers, or the mechanics, asking me at one stage would I ever do it.
"I thought it would be cool to just have it on the car for one session so at least they will have a picture somewhere that they can be really proud of that we were number one.
"44 is my special number, and in actual fact everyone in the team or on my car particularly were saying to me that when they are travelling they'll see a bus number 44 and then they will see a flight or a seat number 44.
"It's becoming part of their lives, which is great because that's exactly how it is with me."
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