And so it was on Montreal's Ile Notre Dame at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this afternoon, when the three-time champion took one of the greatest of his pole positions.
Although it was suggested in the presentation that the helmet given to him was an actual race-worn one, it subsequently emerged this was not the case.
It was Hamilton's third pole this year, his sixth in Canada -- equalling the record of German Michael Schumacher -- and the 65th of his career.
"Honestly, I'm so happy".
It was a battle between Mercedes and Ferrari in the qualifying session in Montreal with track temperatures of 44 degrees.
"It was a sexy lap, a great lap", he said, knowing that he had proved he had rediscovered his raw speed again after a desultory weekend at last month's Monaco Grand Prix. "We had a little bit of a different running in qualifying which I think was fine, it just got better and better, and for the last run I thought we can step it up and we should be able to find a little bit of time, but lost the vehicle a bit on Turn 2, and then I lost a bit on the back so already I was losing 0.2s out of the second corner, and then I knew I had to catch up, which I did, until the end of the lap but yeah not enough for pole".
Vettel is the Formula One points leader. Speechless. I know that Ayrton was for many of you your favourite driver, and he was the same for me.
"I've really grown a lot with the fans here", said Hamilton. To receive this is a great honour. A big, big thank you to the Senna family and to everyone here.
Hamilton was presented with the helmet during post-session live television interviews out on the circuit and was clearly surprised.
The third row of the grid is a lockout for the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, with Williams' Felipe Massa finishing seventh and Sergio Perez in eighth for the Force India team.
Belgian team mate Stoffel Vandoorne was 16th.
He exited in 11th place ahead of two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso in his McLaren Honda, Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas and in 15th place Briton Jolyon Palmer of Renault.
Vettel completed the 4.361-kilometer (2.71-mile) circuit in 1 minute, 12.572 seconds, about three-tenths of a second faster than his teammate.
After Ferrari had dominated the day's final practice, Hamilton moved it up a level with a lap faster than any previously recorded at the sun-bathed island circuit.
It was made to the same specification as a race helmet and was painted by Sid Mosca and his son Alan - who are the only people who ever painted helmets for Senna in F1.
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