Stewart tells rookies: Don’t box yourself in

Date published: February 1 2019

Jackie Stewart tells rookies: Don't box yourself in

With five titles to his name, Lewis Hamilton may be the one to emulate when it comes to F1’s British rookies, however, Jackie Stewart says they must remember some “luck” was involved.

Hamilton entered Formula 1 in 2007 on the back of a junior career blessed by McLaren.

He first got involved with the team when he was 10 years old having met then McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Claiming his first World title with McLaren in 2008, he later joined Mercedes, a move that put him in what has been the best car on the grid for some years.

He’s added four more World titles.

This year F1’s British contigent is increasing thanks to the arrival of George Russell, Lando Norris and British-born Thai racer Alexander Albon.

None, though, are in dream cars with Russell signing with Williams, Norris with McLaren and Albon with Toro Rosso.

Asked if Hamilton had set an impossible benchmark for the newcomers, Stewart told Motorsport.com: “You shouldn’t be boxing yourself in.

“Lewis currently is not only driving well, he has also got the best team in the world with the best engine in the world right now.

“But he’s driving it well too.

“You’ve got so many other dimensions to it when you’re a Formula 1 driver, and the dependency of the car.

“When I left the Matra, I went to a March [for 1970]. Now that was a challenge!

“So, if Lewis were to go from Mercedes and go to an uncompetitive team, that would be a challenge.

“Lewis has done extremely well, but he’s been a very lucky boy, to have [former McLaren boss] Ron Dennis pick him up the way he did, to bring him up the way he did.

“And in those days, the McLaren was the best car in the world in Formula 1, including Ferrari.”

Stewart added that instead Hamilton sets the mark for others to learn from.

He added: “When I went in, I was going in at the time of Jim Clark and Jack Brabham and Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren. They were all top-line drivers.

“I think you learn from the top drivers, you watch them, you listen to them, you try and get communication with them.

“You want to get comfortable with everybody. Human relationships are very important.”

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