Lewis Hamilton on Track
There is at least one thing that Lewis Hamilton, McLaren’s new hope for the future, is getting right already. His Q&A session reported on the McLaren website is a classic of the F1 driver’s accepted style. He never puts a foot wrong and it’s all there – the confidence, the refusal to compare himself with his teammate, the guarded optimism.
Of course, it was bound to be so having been put out by the company public relations department. But Hamilton could do this kind of thing standing on his head, I’m sure – he’s a smart cookie. Altogether he looks the complete package, intelligent, talented and realistic. If Michael Schumacher has an heir to his performance in F1, Hamilton would be a likely candidate.
His times in testing, although not necessarily a pointer to race speed, indicate that he is already at home in the car and learning at a remarkable rate. To be putting in quick times so soon, Lewis has demonstrated that he can make the jump to F1 with ease – and many drivers fail to surmount this final hurdle to the top rank.
In his answer to the final question in the session, Hamilton puts his finger on the next big step:
Is Fernando a good teacher for you?
“It is great to be in the same team as him as I can learn from him. When I look at the data I am able to see where I am losing and where I can gain and I think when we go to tracks like Australia and Malaysia where I have not been before, with his experience it is going to make it a lot easier for me to learn the circuit.”
Learning new circuits is always a big barrier to a rookie’s success. While the old hands know all the quirks and tricks of each GP, the newcomer has to begin yet another learning curve to stay competitive. F1 drivers don’t become champion in their first year, no matter how talented they are, and this is one of the reasons – almost all of the tracks are new to them.
But Hamilton learns very quickly. If the car remains as good as it has looked in testing, it will be no surprise to see him win a GP or two in the coming season. And next year we could see a fascinating duel between the McLaren drivers. Remember Prost and Senna in the same team…?