Lewis Hamilton Lights Up the Empire State Building at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and WhatsApp Party

Lewis Hamilton sure knows how to draw a crowd. Ahead of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix weekend, the seven-time world champion hosted a party with celebrities and Formula 1 enthusiasts alike at the Virgin Hotel in New York on Monday evening to celebrate the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 and WhatsApp partnership, which was announced in November 2023. 

Hamilton was joined by Mercedes’ chief executive officer and team principal Toto Wolff as well as Cynthia Eviro, Rauw Alejandro, Danny Ramirez, Eric Nam, Tyrod Taylor, Young Mazino, Jadon Haselwood and more. 

The British race driver was seen chatting with Wolff, Alejandro and more throughout the evening, wearing a casual outfit of a bomber jacket, T-shirt and jeans by Tommy Hilfiger. (The brand is a sponsor of the Mercedes F1 team, and has also collaborated on several collections with Hamilton.)

WhatsApp and Mercedes teamed up to launch a new race car emoji based on the 2024 Mercedes car to the private messaging service’s nearly 2 billion global users. The partners lit up the Empire State Building in the private message service’s signature green color to celebrate the growth of both the messaging service and Formula 1 in the U.S. 

Guests were treated to Formula 1-themed cocktails such as “The Hairpin” and “Green Sector” while listening to tunes by DJ Amrit Tietz. After lighting the Empire State Building green, party guests viewed a dynamic light show taking over the building’s facade featuring an animated projection of the emoji race car throughout New York accompanied by WhatsApp’s “ping” notification sounds. 

Ahead of Hamilton’s last Miami race with Mercedes before he joins Ferrari, he sat down with WWD to talk about the process behind his sartorial choices, styled by Eric McNeal. 

“There’s a lot of planning,” Hamilton said. “It’s ultimately looking at brands that I admire. I try to collaborate with designers, and they come up with custom pieces, which is always awesome. In the different locations I go to, I love to utilize my platform to highlight up-and-coming designers as well. There’s a lot of options but I only have four days, there’s only so much you can wear to the track. And then I have to get back into the [team’s racing] kit. I wish there was more days.” 

“Climate makes a big difference too,” Hamilton added. “I’ve been to Bahrain and the Middle East and worn some really warm clothing and was dying for the 30 seconds I’m walking down to the track. But that’s the price of fashion.” 

A lover of New York, Hamilton said he’s happy to finally see a strong recognition of F1 in the U.S.

“This is my favorite city. Growing up and watching movies, this is the spot that I always wanted to come and live — not realizing that dream fully yet becuase it’s impossible with the [Mercedes] team in the U.K. and all the traveling for the races in Europe,” he said. “To finally see the sport being embraced in the States is such a dream. I used to come out here when I was eight. Once I got to Formula 1, I would come out here and I couldn’t understand why people were big sports fans, but no one was paying attention to Formula 1. It was such a small group of people here. It’s been great to see it adopted into the sporting world here and there’s now three races.” 

Continuing the partnership festivities on Tuesday morning, Mercedes and WhatsApp shut down Fifth Avenue in front of the Empire State Building for the first demonstration of a Formula 1 car in New York. Hamilton was at the wheel to bring top speeds, flying laps and pitstops to the iconic avenue, driving alongside a WhatsApp emoji race car replica. 

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