“People Didn’t Want to Work On Hamilton’s Car”: Former Mechanic Discloses Biased McLaren F1 Garage Against Lewis Hamilton

Published 05/18/2022, 6:21 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)

With respect and popularity following wherever he goes, things did not start that way for Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes man was once a McLaren rookie and was paired next to two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. The Stevenage-born Brit promoted to F1 with an astonishing record still needed to earn the respect of his peers at the Mclaren paddock.

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As recalled by a former McLaren racing engineer, Marc Priestley, everyone wanted to work on Alonso’s car at that time. The rookie had not earned the respect yet and engineers fought against working on Hamilton’s car.

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But that soon changed! Lewis defied expectations with a superb display in his F1 rookie season. He finished the season level on points with Alonso. And only one point behind the eventual winner of the 2007 season, Kimi Raikkonen.

“The mechanics and engineers fought among themselves to work in Fernando’s garage,” Priestley said. “People didn’t want to work on Hamilton’s car, because they didn’t expect so much from him.” But Billion Dollar Man, with four wins and twelve podiums altogether, changed everyone’s perspective.

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After winning the world championship at Mclaren, the world champion moved to newer pastures. The move raised a lot of eyebrows at the time, but eventually turned out to be the right move for Hamilton.

The Mercedes move saw Lewis further his driver’s championship collection to seven, level with Michael Schumacher. A title only he and Michael hold at the moment.

Lewis Hamilton is running against the clock on his eighth title

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We’ve come a long way from Lewis’s rookie season. And now, in 2022, he’s the second oldest driver on the grid behind first teammate Fernando Alonso. However, now in his 16th season in Formula 1, Lewis is chasing his eighth driver’s championship title. A feat that will make him the undisputed greatest of all time. But with the current Mercedes car, the title is far from his reach.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 22, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Lewis is fighting against the younger generation, which is always a tough task. At 37, Lewis will have to fight tooth and nail against the current generation of drivers to clinch the elusive title.

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The fight, however, will start within his paddock as he has finished each race behind his new teammate George Russell. Let’s hope Lewis does not bow out of the traveling circus without one more title charge.

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Mahim Suhalka

289 articles

Mahim Suhalka is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. This Sports Management post-graduate is an ardent supporter of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team and their lead driver, Lewis Hamilton. The fact that Lewis dominated one of the most expensive sports in the world for all these years, despite his humble beginnings, has been a huge inspiration for Mahim and has made him a tenured fan of the competitive sport itself.

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