Whitmarsh says Hamilton and Senna “had this aura of incredibleness”

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Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh talks about the drivers he worked with and compares Hamilton to “the dirty one” Michael Schumacher.

Whitmarsh has worked for McLaren since 1997 and served at the team’s principal from 2009 until 2013. In his long career, the Briton had the opportunity to meet and work with many drivers, so which ones were special?

“I’ve got many happy memories, of Jenson Button, Mika [Häkkinen], Kimi Räikkönen, Juan Pablo Montoya, even Fernando [Alonso],” started Whitmarsh.

“Extraordinary people in many ways. But the two who hover in my personal experience, that have had this aura of ‘incredibleness’, was Ayrton Senna and Lewis.

“When I met Ayrton he had that already, but when I first met Lewis he didn’t. It has grown, and it’s all his doing, his achievement. I was fortunate to have been close to the journey.”

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With Hamilton surpassing Michael Schumacher’s 92 wins record, Whitmarsh compared the two drivers.

“I could never relate to Schumacher in the way maybe I should have done. He was always the foe, the dirty one trying to cheat against my driver, so I’m not balanced about Michael.

“Lewis is ruthless, but he wants to win in a genuinely honest and honourable way. I don’t think that mattered to Schumacher.

“You have got to admire people who maintain a degree of innocence and sincerity, like Lewis and Mika, who never pulled a dirty move,” concluded the Briton.

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