Formula 1 Managing Director Ross Brawn says he was unsure of Hamilton’s approach to racing when he hired him as a Mercedes driver for 2013.
Speaking in his United States Grand Prix review column, where Hamilton wrapped up his fifth World Championship in the last six years with Mercedes, Ross Brawn says he was unsure of the British driver’s work ethic when he hired him as a driver for Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season.
Hamilton was tempted away from McLaren during the 2012 season, with Niki Lauda playing a pivotal role in convincing Hamilton to come to Mercedes. However, with Ross Brawn then team boss at Mercedes, he also needed convincing that Hamilton was the right man to bring onboard to replace Michael Schumacher.
Brawn said he couldn’t help but compare Hamilton to Schumacher in terms of their vastly different approaches to their lives: “Back in 2013 I was slightly nervous about his approach to being a professional racing driver. For me, the benchmark was Michael Schumacher, a man totally dedicated to chasing success and at the same time very keen to guard his privacy and that of his family. Even then, Lewis was demonstrating a truly eclectic approach to his career and whilst totally professional he preferred a lifestyle that was definitely less monastic than Michael’s.”
Schumacher’s reputation was that of being a complete perfectionist, with absolutely no compromises made to ensure his fitness, preparedness and skills were kept razor sharp. Hamilton achieves the same, but manages it while leading an extremely busy life away from Formula 1 and enjoying the perks of a celebrity lifestyle.
Brawn says that Hamilton’s lifestyle took some getting used to, but that it works just as well for him as the more private approach Schumacher had: “Lewis has always been comfortable moving in different circles, such as music and fashion, and that’s given him the energy to develop his talent still further, while always ensuring he is in the best physical shape possible, which is vital in the modern Formula 1 era.”
“And at Mercedes, Lewis has found the right support in an environment that is stimulating technically but that at the same time allows him the freedom he absolutely needs.”
Brawn congratulated his former Mercedes team and the man who replaced him as team boss, Toto Wolff, by saying that they’ve allowed Hamilton to achieve his potential without clipping his wings in a bid to control his image: “They’ve not only given him an amazing car year after year but they’ve allowed Lewis to develop and grow to become one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula 1, certainly the strongest of the last 15 years.”