Lewis Hamilton says he and Mercedes owes huge gratitude to Ross Brawn for his foundation work before the team's era of F1 dominance and also reveals how he shares the celebrations with the former team boss.
After signing for Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season, Hamilton confessed Brawn's direct involvement and presence became one the major factors for his decision to leave McLaren.
By the end of his first season with the German manufacturer, it was clear Brawn would be heading for the exit after managerial disputes with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda - something which hit Hamilton hard.
“I was sad to see him leave because when I joined the team part of the decision process was that he was a part of the team, then obviously he left shortly afterwards, which was not great,” Hamilton said. “I think what he built over the years is what we are now standing on top of and succeeding upon, so he really helped build a platform, build the foundations and I'm appreciative.
“I loved working with Ross. I grew up watching Formula One with Ross at Ferrari and then the next thing you know I'm in my mum's kitchen having a cup of tea with him, he's come to visit me to talk about joining the team and how he would love for me to drive for them. I felt very honoured that he had wanted me.
“Working with him was great, he created a really good atmosphere, very approachable for everyone. I think everyone was really relaxed with him.”
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Hamilton says he regularly pays tribute to Brawn for his architectural role in his world championship success with Mercedes, having claimed back-to-back F1 world titles, and tries to include the former boss in the celebrations.
“When we've won the championships I've generally tried to share it with him because he worked for years without having championships and then finally we had them,” he said. “Generally the bosses don't improve you as a driver but they give you an opportunity for you to grow and that's definitely something that Ross was a part of.”
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Brawn had been rumoured to become Bernie Ecclestone's successor as head of F1 in the near future but the 61-year-old has since denied this, preferring to reiterate his ambition of returning to the sport in a strategic role rather than with a team or as Ecclestone's direct replacement. Brawn is currently completing consultancy work for new F1 owners Liberty Media.
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