|© AP Photo/Chris RadburnLOCOG
Lewis Hamilton carried the Olympic Torch through the town of Luton early on Monday morning as a part of the run up to the Olympic Games scheduled in London later this month.
The McLaren driver was originally invited to take part in the relay in Stevenage, where he grew up, but had to be rescheduled as the date coincided with Sunday's British Grand Prix.
"I didn't believe them when they asked me to do it," Hamilton told the BBC. “I thought 'yeah right, they really want me to do this!'
"It's such an incredible experience as it's something so few people get to do," he added. "I was very, very honoured that I was asked to do it, and I hope that I have carried it proudly."
The Briton started the run at 6:30am but had plenty of supporters cheering him on.
"There was music going and I'm thinking these people are serious early risers. The turnout and the reception from the fans here has been incredible," he noted.
Hamilton was initially asked to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay in his home town in the afternoon on Sunday but because of the race at Silverstone, the authorities deferred it for the following day.
"It doesn't matter where I get the opportunity to be just a part of something so big," Hamilton reasoned. "It's such an important time for British sport with the Olympics coming up and just to play a little part in it is incredible."
Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes however ran with the Torch ahead of the race in Huntingdon.
"Our team premium partner GE invited me to carry the torch and I was delighted to accept such a generous offer," Fernandes said.