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Hamilton taken aback by Mansell attack

Lewis Hamilton has said that he was shocked by Nigel Mansell's scathing attack on his career, insisting that he get his facts right.
Lewis Hamilton has admitted to being shocked by fellow Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell's belief that he has been 'manufactured' as a racing driver by McLaren.

Mansell made the claim during a visit to Britain's Hay-on-Wye literary festival on Friday, criticising the way in which promising young talent is being snapped up, financially supported, nurtured and subsequently moulded by top teams, but Hamilton suggested that the 57-year old get his facts right before launching a personal attack.

While McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that Hamilton had been something of 'an experiment' for the Woking team after predecessor Ron Dennis signed him to a long-term deal as a twelve-year old [see separate story – click here], Mansell suggested that the practice had left his fellow Briton a flawed character, as well as damaging the chances of other drivers grafting their way up the racing ladder.

“I think sometimes it all becomes too easy,” the 1992 world champion told the Press Association, “How many people from seven years of age have been given £2.5m to go karting? I know drivers now are being signed up at seven, eight, nine years of age. They're all being picked now to be grand prix drivers in five and seven and ten years' time.

“That negates everybody out there now doing the job, and that is frightening. I don't decry what Lewis has done [but], when he initially started having tough times, he didn't handle it very well, [because] that's the first time ever in his life he's had a tough time.”

Hamilton, however, was clearly surprised by the claims, and immediately set about setting Mansell right.

"Wow," he exclaimed to Reuters after qualifying at the Turkish Grand Prix, "Clearly, he has not been reading the right stories, or he just has not got his facts right. I wasn't signed up until I was 13, so I would love to see where the rest of that money was since I was seven. I don't know how he was funded when he was younger but, for us, it was virtually impossible to find money. It got more and more expensive. My parents paid all the way until I was 13 by re-mortgaging the house. They were broke."

Mansell knows all about selling off personal possessions to finance his way up the ladder, having been single-minded in his pursuit of a place in Formula One, but Hamilton insists that his outburst was uncalled for.

"He is a world champion, he was a great star and I look up to him, but I wouldn't have expected that from him," the 2008 world champion admitted, "I just think he is clearly ill-informed and doesn't have the right information. He has his right to his own opinion, which doesn't really bother me. I don't really care about his opinion."

Related Pictures

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Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Wednesday, Nigel Mansell (GBR), Ex F1 Champion
Friday Practice1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
McLaren MCL32 [credit: McLaren Twitter]
McLaren - Honda MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 F1 launch, [Credit: McLaren]
McLaren MCL32, McLaren-Honda, [Credit: McLaren]
Fernando Alonso - McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32
McLaren Honda MCL32
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 W08. 

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yoda - Unregistered

May 30, 2010 9:18 AM

Wish everyone would get off this kids back....just continuous hate....Mansell should know better given the leverage he's giving his own kids. I go for Webber but still don't understand why the British build up their stars and then tear them apart. Hamilton is a bloody good driver and provides just about half the entertainment with his balls out driving style. If he was spotted young it was because he was bloody good, like in all sport and then developed. Just tell em all to pi55 off...and drive hard...

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