Ex-F1 Boss Details the ‘Really, Really Hurtful’ Moment for Hamilton at McLaren

Published 07/07/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes appears at the drivers press conference during previews prior to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Interlagos on October 18, 2007 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Lewis Hamilton will arguably go down as one of the best drivers to ever compete in Formula One. Since his debut in 2007, the Briton has taken the sport by storm, clinching seven world titles in fourteen seasons.

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However, one fact that often goes unnoticed about the Briton is how close he came to winning the world title in his rookie season. Recently, former Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug commented on that season in 2007.

Haug admits how painful the ending to the 2007 F1 season was

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Hamilton made his debut in the 2007 F1 season as a young 22-year-old from Stevenage, UK, with a bright future. The Briton joined McLaren that year, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as his teammate.

Despite being a rookie, Hamilton found blistering pace straight out of the gate, recording nine podiums in the first nine races. Although no one expected the Briton to challenge for the world championship that year, he missed out by just one point to eventual champion Kimi Raikkonen.

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN – JANUARY 16: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes in action during a test at the Circuito de Jerez on January 16, 2008, in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Appearing on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Haug, who negotiated Mercedes’ partnership with McLaren in 1995, spoke about that season. He admitted the feeling of narrowly missing out hurt everyone, including Hamilton. He said“[I] remember 2007, first almost world championship for Lewis but our problem in China.

“That was so hurtful, to start at the end when you see you are 70 points ahead. And when we are still on the mark, at two races to go if you get three points, you have got in your pocket. And we still missed it. That was really, really hurtful. I’m sure for Lewis, because it was his first year in Formula One.”

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Haug: Lewis Hamilton was impressive in 2007

Despite their 2007 failure, Haug admitted Hamilton’s performances that year impressed him. “Lewis entered F1 in 2007 and was the first nine races, nine times on the podium. I think his sixth or seventh race in Canada, he won. It was really impressive.”

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With the Briton sealing his future with Mercedes till 2023, he competes for his eighth world title in 15 seasons this year. Although he trails Max Verstappen by 32 points, the seven-time world champion cannot be discounted under any circumstances.

Can the Briton regain his best form in the upcoming British Grand Prix on July 18? Only time will tell.

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WATCH STORY: Lewis Hamilton: Ranking His F1 World Titles From 2008 to 2020

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Sanket Nair

371 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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