Who might have though when Lewis Hamilton joined the grid in 2007, that he will go onto match Michael Schumacher’s World Championship record? Mercedes Technical Director, Mike Elliott reveals what made young Lewis stand out from all the other F1 drivers since his junior days.
Prior to the F1 debut, Lewis was a part of Elliott’s aero tests on runways. Although he claimed that an F1 driver would probably rate it as the “most boring” job, there stood a rather enthusiastic Lewis, hunting for ways to improvise.
Mercedes Technical Driver Mike Elliott on Why Lewis Hamilton is special
According to PlanetF1, Elliott opened up about his aero testing days, working alongside the seven-time world champion in 2004.
“It’s interesting, I’ve known Lewis a long time,” he said. “Back in the good old days we used to do aero testing. We used to turn up at runways in strange parts of the country.
“So I think Lewis would have been coming there for a good two or three years before he started driving for McLaren. So, I’ve known him for a long time.
“And the interesting thing with Lewis is he was the first driver that came to an aero test and asked, ‘what can I learn from that, how can I improve next time I come? ‘”
Elliott reckoned that McLaren knew Lewis’s capability even before he got his hands on the car and felt that he possessed an entirely different type of talent in him.
“I think seeing him through the junior categories, we at McLaren knew he was on his way. You could see the ability. And you saw what he did the first time he was in the car. You saw how he matched up with [Fernando] Alonso in that very first season.
“I thought it was pretty special,” Elliott said.