Lewis Hamilton has been hailed for bringing the smile back to a boy fighting the final days of his young life.
Hamilton dedicated his Spanish Grand Prix victory to Harry Shaw, a five-year-old from Surrey, who is set to lose his battle against a rare bone cancer.
In a remarkable gesture, Hamilton’s Mercedes team hastily arranged for one of their Formula One cars to park outside Harry’s home in Redhill on Monday.
The youngster, cradled in his father James’ arms, was then shown around Hamilton’s car by a Mercedes employee.
Given the acceleration of his illness, it marked the first time he had been outside in three weeks.
Harry was presented with Hamilton’s winning trophy from the race in Barcelona, and a pair of the world champion’s racing gloves. Hamilton also recorded a video message of support for him to watch.
“I cannot describe how much it means to us all that Lewis won the race for Harry, and then dedicated it to Harry, too,” his father James Shaw told Press Association Sport.
“At a tremendously difficult time in our lives, this has provided us with a big boost, and a big smile.
“Harry couldn’t believe that Lewis Hamilton was talking about him, and had dedicated the race to him. He now thinks that Lewis is his absolute best friend, which, for a five-year-old boy, is amazing.
“Harry loves cars, and although he is frail, he was asking about the exhaust pipe.
“He is very inquisitive, so that is typical of Harry, asking questions and getting involved. Mercedes have taken us to a much-better place in a dark time.”
The world champions did not want to publicise their touching gesture, which involved some team members jetting out of Barcelona on Sunday night, before swiftly returning for this week’s test which starts on Tuesday.
But Harry’s parents, James and Charlotte, are keen to talk about their son’s devastating illness in a bid to raise money for research into Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Their JustGiving page has already hit £20,000. The tally stood at a little more than £2,000 before Hamilton devoted his win to the youngster.
Hamilton’s triumph in Spain moved him seven points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship as Mercedes recorded a fifth one-two finish in as many races this season.
Ferrari have endured a disappointing campaign, and Sebastian Vettel is already 48 points behind the Englishman.
Reflecting on Mercedes’ dominance, Hamilton, 34, said: “It is definitely a lot less exciting and not how F1 should be but it is not our fault that our guys are good at their jobs.
“People watching might be unhappy with the gap we have over Ferrari but we want to be as quick as we can be.”