Mercedes technical boss James Allison hopes Lewis Hamilton can uphold an “unblemished record” in Formula 1 which he believes marks him out from other great world champions.

Hamilton enters this year with the opportunity to equal Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of seven world championship titles, while he could also surpass the German’s 91 career victories.

Discussing a range of topics during an interview on Mercedes’ YouTube channel, Allison said Hamilton possesses one particular characteristic that sets him aside from other great drivers such as Schumacher and his boyhood idol Ayrton Senna, who were both famously involved in controversial moments during their respective careers.

Schumacher was notably disqualified from the 1997 championship after attempting to drive title rival Jacques Villeneuve off the road, while Senna crashed into Alain Prost at the start of the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix on his way to winning his second world title.

“I’ve been lucky to work with people who have had the highest integrity and I do think that is a characteristic that marks out Lewis,” Allison said.

“He’s one of the oldest drivers on the grid now, still drives like one of the youngest but in a career of multiple championships and countless wins, you’ll struggle to find a moment on the track where you’ll see Lewis doing something ugly.

“You’ll see him do many, many breath-taking things, you’ll see him do brave things but you won’t see just crude dodgem car, bumper car stuff, or any sort of artifice to the way he drives.

“I hope that he manages to keep this going for the remainder of his driving career because it’s an utterly unblemished record, and I think amongst multiple world champions, it is also unprecedented to have all that success without anything that has even the hint of a shadow of poor sportsmanship hanging over it. I think it’s impressive.”

And while Allison believes that drivers ultimately lose some of their one-lap pace during the twilight years of their career, he feels Hamilton stands out as a “freakish” anomaly due to his supreme qualifying record that includes a total of 88 pole positions.

“I do think there comes a time where the driver’s racecraft is still incredibly strong but that last little extra special something that gives them the qualifying genius starts to slip through their fingers,” he explained.

“And I think that one of the interesting things about Lewis is that’s still very much with him, and I think he is blessed with extraordinary physical talents to go along with his mental dedication, which is quite freakish.”

 

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