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Mercedes technology director Mike Elliott has revealed he has seen Lewis Hamilton’s development from a junior driver to a seven-time World Champion first hand. Hamilton’s father had to work several jobs to fund his childhood go-karting habits which eventually earned him a place with McLaren’s F1 team. It was there he crossed paths with Elliott.
“It’s interesting, I’ve known Lewis a long time, back in the good old days we used to do aero testing, we used to turn up at runways in strange parts of the country,” Elliott said in an interview with The Muscle Help Foundation.
“Places like Elvington we would be there clearing the snow to send a car up and down the runway to take aero measurements, and they used to send the junior drivers to do that.
“So I think Lewis would have been coming there for a good two or three years before he started driving for McLaren, so I’ve known him for a long time, and the interesting thing with Lewis is he was the first driver that came to an aero test and asked ‘what can I learn from that, how can I improve next time I come?’
“And to give you an idea what these aero tests are like, you get in the car, you drive down the runway at one speed, you turn around and drive back at the same speed so that we can average the aero data, it is probably about the most boring thing for a racing driver to do.
“And actually by the end of the day they are normally completely switched off and making mistakes, but Lewis didn’t, he was properly on it and wanted to know where he improved next time around.”
Hamilton has agreed on a one-year deal with Mercedes. The British driver is currently getting ready for the first Grand Prix of the 2021 season.