Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

From the Start, Lewis Was a Winner He Always Will Be

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

From the Start, Lewis Was a Winner He Always Will Be

Article excerpt

Byline: Johnny Herbert

THE first time I remember seeing Lewis Hamilton race was in Turkey in GP2 in 2006 and what a brilliant race it was, too.

But his story the karting kid who told McLaren chief Ron Dennis: "Hi, I'm Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars" when Ron was presenting awards was legend.

Ron started to watch him and to see that Lewis was the real deal. Straight away, it became obvious there was something very special about this kid.

It was an important start. Lewis didn't have the moneyed background that some guys in F1 have, so it really was the winning that put him on the radar. As he progressed, moving into the Euro F3 Series in 2004, things started to slow down a bit for Lewis. He finished fifth in the championship and was doing only okay. In truth, Ron and McLaren began to take a bit of a step back.

And that is where you see the strength of the Lewis we see today. The Euro F3 series in 2004: champion. The 2006 GP2: champion. When things weren't going so well for him, he could turn it around and make it happen.

The rest is history and, of course, he can make more of that in Mexico this Sunday by becoming the first British driver to claim four world titles. It's a huge jump moving into F1 and the pressure is unbelievable; you really have two years at the most to make things happen, otherwise you just drop out as if you were never there.

In his first season, 2007, he was partnering world champion Fernando Alonso and Fernando probably thought, "This kid isn't going to be a problem", but on that first day of the new season, Lewis proved he was going to be a big noise.

Lewis always wanted to win everything but he was actually very shy and still is so it was his ability to win that really spoke for him, his love of racing, the chance to show, "That's how good I am". And he really is that good.

He has an ability not only to see the broader picture, for himself and his team, and apply it on the track in a way that makes a difference, but also to notice the fine details that allow him to make the most of his ability.

I remember at Monza this year, though, seeing something new in Lewis and it was so noticeable that Damon Hill and I just looked at each other and said, "Wow". …

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