PICTURES: Goodwood Festival of Speed

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British motor racing heroes Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were the star attractions at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The popular McLaren drivers who were in action on the track, were beseiged by fans wherever they went, and were happy to sign autographs and pose for pictures with festival-goers.

Button attended the festival on Saturday, accompanied by his girfriend, the model Jessica Michibata.

He took to the hillclimb just before lunchtime, and then headed to the new Everything Everywhere stage where he was interviewed in front of hundreds of adoring fans and spoke about his amazing win at the Canadian Grand Prix last month.

“It’s great to be here, I know Goodwood and really look forward to driving different things,” he said.

Sunday was Hamilton’s turn in the hotseat, where he was reunited with a 2008 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23 – the same model of car which took him to victory in his second Formula 1 season.

He certainly had fun at the festival, wowing the crowds with a smoky performance which included a series of thrilling doughnut moves.

The only event where fans get up close to their favourite cars and drivers kicked off on Thursday with the Moving Motor Show, which was a chance for people to have a sneak preview of this year’s new models.

Glorious weather made the festival one of the best yet, with around 175,000 people flocking to the area, and despite the current economic climate, people were eager to splash the cash and enjoy themselves.

And the best of British did not end at the track.

Over the three days there were stunning displays from the Red Arrows team, while the Avro Vulcan bomber headed over on Sunday for an awe-inspiring show of might.

A bevy of stars were spotted over the weekend, including Australian cricketer Shane Warne and his British actress girlfriend Liz Hurley, as well as cook James Martin, co-Queen founder Roger Taylor, American talk show host Jay Leno ,who was in action on the track, and Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, who was at the festival as part of a Children in Need event.

Festival regular Sir Stirling Moss said he loved driving at Goodwood and had some very good memories.

“It’s probably the only circuit where it’s exactly the same as it was originally. It was always a very social circuit, more social than any of the other circuits.”

On Sunday the programme was put back after a crash involving one of the supercars. The driver was taken to hospital, but was not seriously injured.

Next year will be the festival’s 20th anniversary and organiser Lord March told crowds to expect a very special event.

He said preparations were under way, but could not divulge any details at the moment.