Hamilton and Senna "had an aura of exceptionality"

29-10-2020 09:48 | Updated: 29-10-2020 11:52
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Hamilton and Senna had an aura of exceptionality

Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have long been compared as the two leading drivers in Formula 1 history. But Martin Whitmarsh, former technical director and later team boss of McLaren, believes Hamilton has more in common with another successful driver of the 1990s.

In conversation with MotorsportMagazine.com, Whitmarsh thinks back to his time at McLaren. "I have many happy memories of Jenson Button, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, even Fernando Alonso. They are all exceptional drivers. But the two who stand out in my experience, who had a kind of aura of exceptionality, are Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton."

Whitmarsh continued: "Ayrton already had that when I met him. Lewis didn't have that in the beginning. It's grown with him, and he did it all by himself. I'm lucky to have seen his growth up close."

When asked about the comparison between Hamilton and Schumacher, Whitmarsh offered a personal view. As technical director at McLaren, he experienced Schumacher up close for a long time, albeit from Mika Hakkinen's camp.

"I could never see Schumacher from the side I might have had to see. He was always the villain, the rival who played mean games and tried to win from my driver. So I can't be neutral when it comes to Michael."

Whitmarsh thinks Hamilton is more like Mika Hakkinen, Schumacher's big rival in the late '90s. "Lewis is ruthless, but he wants to win fairly. I don't think Schumacher cared that much. You have to respect those who keep a certain level of innocence and sincerity, like Lewis and Mika. They've never taken any mean action," concluded Whitmarsh.

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