Dear Papaya Army,
Firstly, I want to start by saying thank you. Joining McLaren was a big deal for me, a team rich in history with a fantastic fanbase, and you embraced me from day one. Signing on the dotted line for this team and climbing into the car for the first time were proud moments, and I'll always carry that with me.
I also want to thank you because above anything I'm a sports fan, and I know how it feels to ride with someone through adversity and struggle. I know what it is like to support and cheer for someone when it isn't going well, it ruins your Sunday. Through all of that, I've still felt an overwhelming amount of support from you all. You've remained super loyal, and I want to say thank you for that. It would have been easy to jump off the bandwagon, but you've been pretty much unconditional all year. Don't ever underestimate the impact of your support, I certainly haven’t ever taken it for granted.
We'll always have Monza. The win in Monza was a fairy tale, but what's so great about that day is that it wasn't a selfish fairy tale, it wasn't just me, it was the whole team, with Lando getting second and us having the fastest pit-stop. It was the perfect weekend, and that made up for a lot of the more difficult ones because we were rewarded with the highest of highs.
Off the track, it's been a lot of fun and I want to say thank you to the team. When you've been racing with a team, you're connected for life. Sure, you switch teams, you move on, you change, but those connections you make are forever, whether it be with the mechanics, the engineers or any other team members I've worked with. These people have poured everything in over this two-year period, and I won't ever lose the connections I've made here. There is a part of McLaren that I'll always hold close to me. Even with the results this year, we lay that to rest, it is what is, and we move forward. The personal side is that I have a lot of fond memories at McLaren.
I've really enjoyed my time with Lando, not only as teammates but as people and friends, we've had some great times together, and that friendship has blossomed. There's been a lot of great moments between us both on and off camera, and I'm sure you'll all have your own favourite. It started with us banging some drums together and making terrible music, and along the way, we've stuck some rubbish tattoos on each other and were let loose with space hoppers, although Lando might not have loved that so much!! We've had a lot of laughs, we've driven some fast and exciting road cars together and giggled our way through it all.
Finally, I am excited for the future because I feel like I have dealt with the highs and lows from my time here and come out of it. On a personal level, it has not been 'all good, all ways', it has tested my resilience, but I have gotten through it, and now I'm excited to see how I take on challenges moving forwards. All of the tests that I have encountered here and everything that I've learned will only help me.
As much as I'd have loved to have won every race, I am grateful for these experiences. My journey with McLaren may be coming to end, but we’re connected for life now.
Alrighty, back to racing. Time for one last ride, let's do everything we can to finish on a high.
No regrets, only memories.
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