Squint. And then squint a little harder. I'm sorry, but my camera only had a five times zoom facility. Look carefully for the bloke in white/silver overalls though, and you'll just about make out it's Lewis Hamilton.

No, I haven't joined the paparazzi. In fact, I was at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge on a rainy Saturday to watch my old man celebrate a birthday ending with a significant zero driving a C63 AMG for an hour. If I went in to too much detail I'd be accused of giving Merc a free advert; suffice to say it was the best money I've ever spent. The quality of the venue, instructors and cars would blow anyone away, let alone a man used to driving a Skoda Octavia.

Anyway, back to those pictures. It amused me, because like many people I've accused Lewis of turning into a bit of a prima donna in recent years. At times, he's been more about the silly sideburns and sparkly ear-rings than results. Yet here he was, on the eve of F1 testing kicking off this week, dodging the rain as Mercedes filmed an advert for one of its cars.

As you can tell, I didn't get very close. But it did highlight a side to the job of being a Formula 1 driver that we rarely get to see. I'm not about to ask you to feel sorry for multi-millionaires who get to race the world's best-engineered cars for a living, but as Lewis trekked back and forth from a waiting GL to the back of the truck, seemingly doing the same thing time and again, I did feel some sympathy for him; a wet day in Surrey would bring anyone down to earth.

Even more fascinating was the fact that people clearly started to work out Lewis was there. While this mildly vexed security, it also demonstrated the value of a sporting hero to a brand. Before then, I would never have believed that people would buy a car off the back of someone else's endorsement. Yet as people stood next to the lines of pre-owned Mercs and squinted in to the distance, their excitement was so palpable that I thought some were going to buy a car on the spot, just to be that little bit more like their hero.

I suppose they were a captive audience already, having made the effort to visit a place called Mercedes-Benz World, but I was still taken aback. Lord knows what will happen if this season goes to plan and he actually stacks up some wins - based on this evidence, I can already feel Merc dealers rubbing their hands with glee.