Lewis Hamilton’s success is founded on the strength of the car at his disposal and not having anyone piling the pressure on him. That is the verdict of former Benetton and Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, who claims the six-time champion does not have the same resilience as long-time rival Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton is going in search of a record-equalling seventh F1 title this year which would see him draw level with the legendary Michael Schumacher.
The 35-year-old has looked a cut above the competition and will be eager to bounce back from last week’s second-place finish at Silverstone by winning Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
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Briatore, who oversaw Schumacher’s success at Benetton and continues to manage two-time champion Alonso, thinks Hamilton has benefited a great deal from the cars Mercedes have delivered for him.
The veteran Italian reckons Nico Rosberg is the only driver who’s really put Hamilton under the cosh during his spell of success with Mercedes.
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And he’s cited Alonso’s win at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix as an example of what he feels the Brit lacks in terms of fortitude.
“People must understand that even if the driver is inside a car, the car is more important that the driver,” Briatore told Betway’s Italian website L’Insider. “I am sure that at Mercedes right now there could be four or five drivers able to win the World Championship with Hamilton’s car.
“Hamilton is very strong but he is also very strong because has has never undergone any kind of pressure in recent years. The only year in which he was under more pressure was with Rosberg and he lost the championship.
“All drivers, when they can drive easily and know that there is nothing behind them, they go. And when you have pressure, I remember once in Imola, at the beginning of Fernando in Formula 1, Schumacher had been 3cm behind Fernando for 40 laps.
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“There you can see the difference between who’s strong and who’s not. So, the car is essential and then there are drivers who withstand the pressure better than others. Others can’t stand it.
“So, as in any sport, there are people who react in a violent way when under too much stress and others who don’t react at all when stressed. So, they have car accidents, go off track. But the car is essential.”
Hamilton sits top of the drivers’ standings following last weekend’s second-place finish at F1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
And he goes into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix off the back of wins on his past three visits to the Circuit de Catalunya.
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