Lewis Hamilton: Murray Walker’s ‘iconic voice’ made Formula One ‘exciting’

Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent
·2-min read

Lewis Hamilton has hailed Murray Walker as the greatest television commentator following the broadcaster’s death.

The death of Walker, whose remarkable career spanned more than half a century, was announced on Saturday evening. He was 97.

Walker’s unique, high-octane style will forever be ingrained in British sporting culture.

He commentated on his first grand prix in 1949 before hanging up the microphone in 2001 – six years before Hamilton made his debut.

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Reflecting on the former BBC and ITV broadcaster, seven-time world champion Hamilton, 36, said: “I just remember hearing this iconic voice.

“Growing up, and watching all the grands prix, he really made the sport exciting.

“Even without watching the TV when you are out of the room, you hear him, you are excited and it makes you want to run back in and see what is happening.

“He is very much loved around the world, particularly in the UK, and his contribution to the sport was huge.

Murray Walker, pictured with three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart
Murray Walker, pictured with three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart (William Conran/PA)

“There has been no one like him that I have seen on TV. No one can come close.”

Three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said “there will never be another Murray Walker”, while Damon Hill also paid tribute.

When Hill took the chequered flag at Suzuka to win the Japanese Grand Prix and become world champion in 1996, an emotional Walker cried: “I have got to stop because I have got a lump in my throat.”

Hill told the PA news agency: “Murray has been with me for my whole life and I don’t think anybody thought this day would come, but sadly it has.

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“Maybe old soldiers never die? His legacy and his memory is so strong.

“What he gave to so many Formula One fans and the number of people he affected, he became bigger than the sport. We have got a lot to be thankful to Murray for.

“He cloaked all of my racing in his wonderful words and his commentary and his enthusiasm. He could emote the events that happened in our sport.

“The shocking moments and the dramatic moments all have Murray’s reaction to them and he made those events stick in your mind forever. He allowed himself not to be the know-it-all commentator, but the fan who, at times, got over excited.”