Stewart: Lewis can be best ever
Lewis Hamilton can become the greatest driver in Formula One history. The glowing tribute comes from legendary triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.
He believes Hamilton, 22, will set the benchmark for the next generation of racers just as Michael Schumacher did for the current crop.
Stewart, 67, said: “I think he is going to rewrite the book.
“I think Lewis will create the new benchmark for a whole generation of drivers.
“Niki Lauda and James Hunt changed the culture of racing drivers. But they were not role models. They said nothing, didn’t give a damn. Lewis can become the role model. Everybody needs one.
“There are hundreds of millions with driving licenses, very few million have competition licenses, a few hundred thousand do it on a regular basis.
“A few thousand make a living out of it, a few hundred make a decent living out of it and 22 are on the grid and of those 22 only six are any good.
“And out of those six only three are extraordinary talents and out of those three there is usually only one genius.
“Lewis is exceptional. We’ll see a new generation of what I call properly-prepared drivers.
“Schumacher became that — but I am talking about fully rounded. Schumacher was not as good as he should have been. Not in his driving but the total package.”
“The big success in this life comes as much outside as inside the cockpit.
“Lewis has the God-given skill but is already recognizing that he needs something else.
“That’s why he’s in the factory every day, why he is already more popular than many British drivers who have won world championships and he is doing it with style and humility.
“When he came to the Springfield Boys’ Club in Hackney, which I am president of, before the season, he was magic.
“It is a troubled area with gangs who shoot people. Lewis shows kids if they think differently they don’t have to go down that route. It was mostly one-parent families, black, and he was the best guest ever.
“And Senna, Mansell, and Hill have been there. He gelled better than anyone. That was a mark for me of what was coming, something special.”