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Sir Jackie Stewart sent a warning Lewis Hamilton’s way, as the three-time World Champion fears the former McLaren driver will find life difficult at Mercedes following his much-discussed switch for 2013.
With much of the drivers’ market for next season originally revolving around Hamilton’s choice for the future, there have been many expectations in store for the partnership between the 2008 World Champion and technical guru Ross Brawn – and while Formula One insiders do not expect Mercedes to play a leading part in the fight for the 2013 title, the £60 million deal bringing Hamilton to Brackley is seen as a real test for the team’s ambitions.
Mercedes hope the arrival of a driver universally recognised to be one of the best in activity will reignite the magic that powered the Michael Schumacher/Ross Brawn pairing to five consecutive titles at Ferrari between 2000 and 2004.
But Stewart fired a warning to the 27-year-old, whose motivations for quitting McLaren reportedly include the inability to cash in on his popularity through personal sponsorship contracts.
“Lewis’s management team will want to prove they can earn him more money with outside things,” said Sir Jackie, 73. “But the more contracts he has, the more work he has to do for them, which takes up time.”
The Scot, who ran his own team between 1997 and 1999 and has remained an influential figure in Formula One, also dismissed comparisons between Ferrari-era Schumacher and Hamilton.
“Schumacher was an entirely different animal,” he explained. “He was completely focussed on F1, it was the only thing in life he did. Lewis has a lot of other pursuits, some no doubt a distraction.”
Stewart’s final words on the matter might prove ominous for Hamilton.
“Lewis should have stayed at McLaren – they are a team that is going to be in motor racing all its life.”
Mercedes Grand Prix
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