Lewis Hamilton came up with the idea of his retro yellow helmet while putting his own touches to the livery of his Mercedes car.
After the W13 was unveiled in February, Hamilton went home and got straight on his iPad to see if he could add his own distinctive, personal marks to the silver arrow. And that’s when he decided to have a yellow helmet for the start of the 2022 season – just as he did when karting over 20 years ago.
The seven-times world champion explains: “Being sensitive to how those watching the grands prix cannot tell the difference between the two cars, I brought the issue up with my team. How can we deal with this?
“So, after the launch, I spent hours at home with my iPad on some sort of app – something-editor – where you take a picture and you can edit it. And I was sending pictures of what the car livery would look better as to Toto (Wolff, Team Principal) and Ola (Kallenius, Head of Mercedes-Benz).
“I did some research and tried to look for what the most ‘popping’ colour would be and came back to yellow. So we put that on the car and then I realised you still can’t see the helmets with these halos … so I decided to bring some light to the helmet. And my original helmet was a real yellow.”
After Hamilton’s unusual iPad intervention, alterations were made to the exterior of his car, making it easily distinguishable from that of team-mate George Russell. There are yellow stripes on the wheel arches of Hamilton’s W13, his car number (44) is in yellow and there are yellow markings on the T-bar at the back of the car.
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But clearly, Hamilton did not feel that was enough and helped design a new yellow helmet. Hamilton wore a yellow helmet for his Formula One debut in 2007 but the yellow of 2022 is a more luminous shade. With a ‘medium purple visor’ (covered by ten tear-off strips), the helmet has ’Still We Rise’ written on the back of it.
Hamilton has the quote from American writer, poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou – ’Still I Rise’ – tattooed across his back. Hamilton’s new helmet has gone down a storm with his millions of fans and while it is not necessarily a product of nostalgia, Hamilton does acknowledge that it is a nod to the past when he posted a picture with the caption.
“For this year’s helmet I wanted to show my beginnings,” he wrote. “As much as I love purple and black, yellow is my history. I’m going into the season with the same dedication, drive and passion I had way back in my karting days.” Hamilton has always made a statement with his helmets, causing a stir last year when he raced in Qatar in a rainbow-coloured helmet in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
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