Lewis Hamilton has branded the impressive progress made by former team McLaren during the 2019 Formula 1 season as “amazing”.

Hamilton was supported by McLaren throughout much of his junior career before making his F1 debut with the team in 2007. He went on to win his maiden F1 title with the Woking squad the following year and remains the latest driver to have won a world championship with the team.

A disastrous partnership with Honda left McLaren rooted towards the bottom of the pecking order and ultimately led to the departure of a frustrated Fernando Alonso. But since switching to Renault engines in 2018, McLaren has made solid gains.

The British squad has enjoyed a strong start to the 2019 season with its new driver line-up consisting of rookie Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr, and currently heads the middle battle in fourth place, 21 points clear of nearest challengers Renault.

“It’s amazing to see McLaren doing so well,” Hamilton said as he praised the team’s resurgence during the British Grand Prix weekend. “They’ve had some really tough years.”

“We got to have a bit of a race [in Austria] and just watching Lando’s progression is incredibly impressive.

“To be so young in such an early phase, he’s coming in and keeping a level head and delivering on weekends, also up against [Carlos] who’s got more experience than him.”

Hamilton also praised the performance of Mercedes junior and reigning Formula 2 champion George Russell, whose F1 rookie campaign has coincided with a difficult season for the struggling Williams team.

“They’ve [Lando and George] obviously come through similar ranks to myself and they’re doing exceptional jobs,” Hamilton explained.

“Both have completely different challenges, with George in a team that has struggled for some time, but he’s part of helping them take steps to improve.

“I’m a huge fan of Frank [Williams] and that team and what they’ve achieved in their history... I think that’s a team that needs to be up at the top with the rest of them.

“I’m personally excited to continue to watch these two grow and the trials and tribulations that they’ll face, and I do hope that we get to do some racing together.”

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