Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton surprised three children by disguising himself as an old man while showing them around the Mercedes-AMG factory to help support their interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In a video posted to YouTube, the 36-year-old driver said he partnered with financial firm UBS to find three children that are passionate about engineering and motorsports, and invited them to the factory for a tour.
But the children had no idea they would be meeting Hamilton, considered one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, in person.
To surprise them, Hamilton put on makeup that made him appear older, then dressed up as one of the team’s engineers to greet the children when they arrived. After showing them his car, Hamilton revealed his true identity and removed his disguise.
“I’m dreaming!” one of the children said as Hamilton revealed himself.
“I want to cry, I want to shake his hand!” another said.
Hamilton, who is in a tight race with rival Max Verstappen in this season’s championship standings, said he felt it was important to meet the children to inspire them to enter the industry and continue their STEM education.
“Education I know is key for every child and we’re in a time more than ever before where we need to make sure we’re providing opportunities and also enabling the younger generation to understand what they are,” he said in a statement.
“There are a lot of youngsters who don’t realize that being an engineer, for example, is an avenue that they can go down,” Hamilton continued. “We’re really trying to have a positive impact on the people that we meet, in particular the youth, and I’m proud of the things we are doing together.”
Hamilton has been a longtime supporter of STEM and recently announced a partnership with Teach First, a U.K.-based organization, to bring 150 Black STEM teachers to schools in England.
The initiative, which Hamilton helped launch earlier this month with his foundation, Mission 44, aims to place role models of color in classrooms to support the development of young students.
“I am incredibly proud to be announcing the first partnership from Mission 44 today,” Hamilton said in a statement. “Our work with Teach First is another step towards addressing barriers preventing young Black students’ engagement with STEM, as identified in The Hamilton Commission report.”
“By establishing this partnership, which focuses on identifying the best way to attract Black talent to STEM teaching roles, we hope to create a framework the wider education industry can implement,” he added.