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Hamilton - "an annoying customer on the other side of the garage"

Hamilton - "an annoying customer on the other side of the garage"

F1 News

Hamilton - "an annoying customer on the other side of the garage"

Hamilton - "an annoying customer on the other side of the garage"

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson knows all about Lewis Hamilton.

During Robson's earlier career with McLaren, he had the privilege of taking Hamilton to Elvington Airfield during the 36-year-old's formative years with the team, putting him through his paces with straight-line runs.

Then as performance engineer to Heikki Kovalainen for the Finn's two years with the Woking-based team in 2008 and 2009, and as performance and then race engineer to Jenson Button for a number of years, Robson was tasked with helping to get the best out of his drivers on the other side of the garage to Hamilton.

On one hand, it was ensuring Kovalainen and Button delivered for the team; on the other, it was trying to provide them with the tools to take on Hamilton.

It may have been nine years since Robson last worked with Hamilton following the seven-time F1 champion's departure from McLaren to Mercedes at the end of 2012, but the memories are still fresh of how the Briton operated and performed back then.

Those nine years on, Hamilton has gone on to break all manner of records, while on Saturday in Spain he set the remarkable milestone of achieving 100 pole positions.

"What he's done is a phenomenal achievement, and against some fairly impressive team-mates along the way as well," said Robson.

"Obviously I've not worked with him for quite a few years, but it's something he's always had. There is that something about him isn't there, that special quality you can't really define. That was obvious from when he was just a kid."

Recalling the early days, Robson added: "I took him testing at Elvington, going up and down the runway, and he was bored stiff after 10 minutes.

"Whereas most kids, when you took them to Elvington, they were just chuffed to bits to be in an F1 car, even when they were just going up and down the runway.

"[But] He was different right from the beginning, and he just has that talent and that tremendous attitude, so you have to take your hat off to him."

As for the time in effectively 'going up against' Hamilton in working with Kovalainen and Button, Robson concluded: "He's an annoying customer to have on the other side of the garage, for sure, but he is a phenomenal talent."


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