F1 chief Ross Brawn admits surprise at Lewis Hamilton success after initial impression

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F1 chief Ross Brawn had doubts about Lewis Hamilton when the pair worked together at Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton sealed his sixth F1 world title at the United States Grand Prix last weekend, but his former boss Ross Brawn admitted he was “slightly nervous” about the British driver when he first joined Mercedes.

Hamilton already had one world championship under his belt when he made the switch from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013.

The British driver saw his attacking driving style rewarded in his just his second season in Formula One, when back in 2008 he picked up his first title with the Woking based team.

However, Hamilton would then have to wait five years before picking up his second title, which would come following a fourth placed finish in his debut year with Mercedes.

And Ross Brawn, who was the Team Principal at Mercedes when Hamilton joined, has admitted he used Michael Schumacher as the benchmark when assessing Hamilton’s behaviour on and off the track.

“I have to admit that when I started working with him back in 2013 I was slightly nervous about his approach to being a professional racing driver,” Brawn said about Hamilton.

“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.”

Brawn left Mercedes at the end of the 2013 season following a disagreement over his role within the team.

However, he still believes the Silver Arrows have created the right environment to help the 34-year-old become a six-time F1 champion.

“Lewis has always been comfortable moving in different circles, such as music and fashion,” Brawn added.

“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.”

And while Brawn praised Hamilton’s accomplishments he didn’t go as far to say the British driver has exceeded that achieved by Schumacher in the sport.

“I therefore congratulate Toto Wolff and the whole team,” Brawn said about Mercedes.

“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.”

When I started working with [Lewis Hamilton] back in 2013 I was slightly nervous about his approach to being a professional racing driver

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