‘We will never see another rookie like Hamilton’

Date published: May 1 2021

Paddy Lowe and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Paddy Lowe doesn’t think that a future Formula 1 rookie will be able to match Lewis Hamilton’s nine podiums in his first nine races in the sport.

Hamilton joined McLaren in 2007 and immediately announced himself as one of the leading drivers on the grid, infamously having a testy relationship with reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso in their time as team-mates, with the two directly competing for the title from within the same garage.

Having come into a leading team straight after winning the GP2 Championship at the first attempt, Lowe says Hamilton was able to be on the pace at the front from the first session of his Formula 1 career.

“He arrived in terrific shape and hit the ground running,” Lowe said on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.

“Nine podiums in his first nine races – I don’t believe we’ll ever see that again for a rookie. So he was already at a very uniquely high level from the day he arrived in Formula 1, but he has improved massively in all that time.”

Lewis Hamilton

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Lowe pinpointed his consistency as a reason for his considerable success in Formula 1, giving as much as he can in every session, ironing out as many errors as possible and keeping his single-mindedness on the goal of winning as many races as possible.

“There’s nothing left on the table any day,” Lowe added. “Lewis is supremely talented, and one of the features of people who are supremely talented is that they generally know they are.

“That does sometimes leave scope for relaxation at certain points when they think, ‘I’m the best, I’m good enough, I’ll make it work, I’ll carry it through.’

“Of course, it’s not always down to you. Luck will play its part; disturbance will get in the way of your talent. 2016 was a great example of that, where Lewis had an extremely bad share of the bad luck around reliability, which itself was very rare but it all came onto his plate.

“And that asked a lot of him. Unfortunately [he] didn’t have enough in the end to close the championship [to Nico Rosberg], so I think that’s an example of where he learned you can’t leave any race on the table. You’ve got to take them all, whatever way it’s looking.”

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