Formula 1 was handed an opportunity to do something truly heartwarming, and under the sport’s new ownership it grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The crazy start to Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix proved to be too much for young Ferrari fan Thomas Danel, who was picked up on the world TV feed sobbing his eyes out after his hero Kimi Räikkönen was forced into retirement when he collided with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Thomas Danel & Kimi Raikkonen - 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Grief to grins: Thomas meets his boyhood hero.

It was a heartbreaking sight for even the most cynical inside the sport, but Formula 1’s new owners, Liberty Media, partnered with Scuderia Ferrari to turn Thomas’ seemingly terrible day into something truly unforgettable.

With the sport’s new owners promising a more interactive, fan-friendly sport than has been under its former Bernie Ecclestone era, the afternoon delivered its most heartwarming story of all.

Formula One Management and Ferrari partnered to track down Thomas and his parents down in the stands, inviting them to join the ‘Iceman’ and the team in the paddock.

Thomas’ tears were transformed into a toothy smile, as he was presented with a personally signed hat by his hero driver and a photo opportunity with the Finnish legend.

The gesture was a major hit with fans and the sport’s insiders, giving the championship and Ferrari some very welcome PR.

Thomas will certainly have an amazing story to tell his classmates at school!

Images via Formula One Management and Scuderia Ferrari

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.