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Important for Mercedes to have a strong leader - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
January 24, 2013 « 'I'm still in charge' - Brawn | Alonso to skip first test »
Lewis Hamilton: "I've been reassured by Ross that his commitment is for the long-term" © Daimler
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Lewis Hamilton believes it is important to have Ross Brawn as the leading figure at Mercedes as he embarks on his first year with the team.

Ahead of Hamilton's first media appearance at Mercedes' factory in Brackley, speculation was rife in the media that Brawn could be replaced by McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe. On Thursday Brawn said he intends to remain in charge and Hamilton believes that will be important for the team's success.

"Like in any team, it's important to have that head figure who leads the way and inspires everyone to go that extra distance," Hamilton said.

"I've been reassured by Ross that his commitment is for the long-term and he's here to try and win with me. That reassures me and continues to give me a positive feeling going forward. There are lots of great people here and I've obviously had great experiences with Paddy, but he works at McLaren as far as I'm concerned."

He said he already has a strong relationship with his new team boss and that openness with the higher command at Mercedes was important to him.

"I don't really read the stories that come out and if I've got any problems or hear any whispers then I just give him a call and he sets me straight right away," Hamilton said of Brawn. "We have a good relationship already, me and Ross, and we generally have had a respectable relationship for some time now, and obviously towards the end of last year and over the last few months we have built up a good, open relationship. I think from the beginning I said that I am always really blunt, so just be aware, and I think it's important that we have a really open relationship right from the start."

But Hamilton said Brawn was not the only factor that had drawn him to Mercedes when he decided to leave McLaren last year.

"There were tons of factors," Hamilton added. "I had to sit down and write a list of pros and cons and that [Brawn's presence] was definitely on the list, but it wasn't the deciding factor. There were lots of things that were deciding factors and Ross has obviously had a great career and runs a great team.

"I believe in all the people, and while today is the first day I actually get to speak to the team, I have been going round and seeing. There's a great atmosphere here and a great spirit, just as I had at the previous team. The guys seem hungrier than any group of people I've seen before; they seem hungry to win and excited that they have another shot at it this year."