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Formula One teams and drivers are arriving for the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia, and some of them haven’t forgotten about the victims who were badly burned during Victoria’s Black Saturday brushfires.

McLaren Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen, made it their first priority to visit the Alfred Hospitals burn unit. Both drivers jumped at the chance to make the rounds – visiting recovering burn victims, nurses, doctors and hospital staff.

“We can’t imagine what the victims have gone through but to see the smiles on their faces and how strong they are gives me inspiration,” Hamilton said. “Usually during race week we don’t get opportunities to do things like this, when the opportunity was presented to us, we grabbed it with both hands.”

The fire, which claimed the lives of 210 people, left Peter Anderson with third degree burns but a visit from the drivers gave him reason to smile. 
"It’s pretty awesome" said Anderson, “It’s not often you get a chance to speak to these guys one on one, especially this close to race day.”

The fires, in which 210 people died, form an emotional backdrop to this year’s Australian Grand Prix, which takes place on March 29, 2009.

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