Hamilton: When Ron Dennis told me I’d be much slower than Fernando, I thought – he’s wrong
6 December, 2013
Lewis Hamilton has urged Daniel Ricciardo to ‘attack’ his high-profile and all conquering teammate from the moment the season starts, as he recalls how in his rookie season he was not expected to challenge his highly rated teammate at the time.
As a rookie in 2007, Hamilton was paired at McLaren with the reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso.
But Hamilton got his grand prix career off to a surprising start, overtaking Alonso at the very first corner in Melbourne.
“When Ron [Dennis] told me I would be much slower than Fernando, I thought ‘He’s wrong’,” Hamilton is quoted by Brazil’s TotalRace.
“Attacking from the first race was one of the best things I could have done in Formula 1,” he added.
Although Ricciardo has more experience, Hamilton likens the start of his own career to the Australian’s graduation to Red Bull for 2014, where he will be paired with reigning quadruple World Champion, Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton says Red Bull’s promotion of Ricciardo “makes sense”, even though the energy drink-owned squad could have picked a higher-profile name.
“It was a surprise to me when it was announced,” Hamilton said, “but as they have a team just for the young guys to gain experience, it is good to see that it is working.
“He will come in with a good car, in a seat that many others would like to have – not me, because I already have a good car,” he insisted.
“So I’m cheering for him and hoping that he can handle the pressure – because it is always very high when a young guy comes into a top team. But I’m sure he will do well.”
Asked how Ricciardo should handle the early part of his career alongside Vettel, Hamilton urged him to attack, saying that he would “love to see” Ricciardo emulate his own feat of 2007 by passing Vettel at the very first corner.
“He does not need to do that, but it would be fantastic for any driver,” said Hamilton. “Hopefully I’ll see it happen in my rear [view] mirror.” (GMM)
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