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Friday, October 16, 2009
Hamilton visits Senna's grave


SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has achieved a long-time ambition by paying his respects to boyhood idol Ayrton Senna at the Brazilian's grave.

The 24-year-old McLaren driver told reporters he had gone to Sao Paulo's Morumbi cemetery on Wednesday, the day he arrived in Brazil, to see the three-time world champion's final resting place.

"It was good but there were a couple of other people there so it wasn't a private kind of thing. I was there for five minutes maximum and then I left," Hamilton said at the Interlagos circuit.

"It is very simple, just a plaque. For me it was special," added the Briton, who shares Senna's Catholic faith as well as driving for the team that took the Brazilian to his titles in 1988, 1990 and 1991.

"I'd wanted to do it for the last two years but I was being followed and all kinds. I wasn't [this time], I don't think I was at least."

Hamilton had hoped to visit the grave last year, when he was locked in a title battle with Brazilian Felipe Massa, but was unable to break away from the constant media attention.

This year, with his campaign faltering early in the season when it became apparent his McLaren was well off the pace, he has had more freedom of movement.

"Every time I come here I feel a different emotion," Hamilton said last year. "I think it's because he [Senna] meant so much to me ... when I was younger and coming up through the ranks. I can feel his presence.

"I don't aim to be or believe anyone can be another Ayrton Senna. He was one of a kind. But I aim to try and make him proud and be as good as he was one day."

Senna died at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.