Lewis Hamilton says he feels for Charles Leclerc as while being asked to play number two is a “privileged position”, it “goes against your core values.”
Like Leclerc, Hamilton entered Formula 1 as a team-mate to a multiple World Champion.
Racing for McLaren in 2007, the Brit and Fernando Alonso butted heads as Hamilton was not prepared to play second fiddle to his team-mate, he wanted to win.
“My philosophy as a racing driver has always been that I want equal opportunity with whoever I’m racing, so I can truly show my ability,” he told reporters in Baku.
“I got to Formula One and you have a couple of scenarios, where you’ve had multiple World Champions, who demand number one positions and therefore you become a number two and (take) a supporting role.
“While that’s a privileged position to be in it goes against your core values, because you’re a racing driver at heart.
“That’s why I can understand how Charles feels. Because in his heart he believes he’s the best or has the potential to be the best – it’s almost like having your light dimmed.
“So as a competitor, you naturally kind of rebel. They say do one thing, but the fighter in you wants to go the other way.”
Starting his F1 career with a run of five podiums but no win, Hamilton would go onto take his first grand prix victory at the Canadian GP before adding a further three to his tally that season.
He added: “For me, that justified the rebellious side that I had and from then on it felt like I had more of a chance to show my ability each weekend.”
Asked whether Ferrari were right to continue using team orders to favour Sebastian Vettel over Leclerc, Hamilton refused to be drawn.
“That’s not my call,” he said.
“I don’t know how to run a team. I don’t know how to make these decisions so it doesn’t make a difference to me. I’m fighting against both of them.”