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Stewart: Lewis must be careful

Wednesday 30-January-2013 08:51

Sir Jackie Stewart has warned Lewis Hamilton that he needs to remain grounded after his move to Mercedes.

Hamilton decided last year that it was time to leave the familiar surroundings of the Woking outfit where he has been based since he was just 13.

The move has been labelled a risk by many, with Mercedes set to offer him more off-track freedom where he could potentially lose focus as he enjoys the life of a superstar and indulges his music interests. Added to this, he has pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger on his arm - a combination that could lead to distraction according to Stewart.

"Personally, if I'd been Lewis, I wouldn't have left McLaren," Stewart is quoted as saying by Sporting Life.

"But as a 28-year-old, he should know what he is doing now.

"You just have to be damn careful you don't get carried away with your own importance, your own celebrity, or your own schedule outside of being in the cockpit. It can be quite intoxicating.

"What Lewis needs to do is have more consistently good drives, never mind the mechanical issues, and he shouldn't be distracted, something he should keep in the back of his mind.

"It's about who you hang out with, what you do in your off time, how you are committing your off time towards your real time - and your real time is being a racing driver."

Hamilton is stepping into some big shoes at Mercedes, replacing seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, a fact that Stewart believes will test the Briton.

"The Ross Brawn factor is important," explained the Scot.

"He knows how to do it, and Lewis will have to work with him and depend on him, and Lewis, in time, will have to deliver.

"Ross has worked with drivers who have really delivered. He worked with Schumacher from Benetton all the way through, and he knows how much Michael put in.

"Therefore he will think Lewis will have to put as much into that team, time-wise, commitment-wise, not just race-time wise, as Michael did.

"That's going to be quite demanding, but there's no reason why he shouldn't go straight in and be competitive up front, not at all."

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