Lewis Hamilton has hit back at suggestions that he has only reached the top of his profession because he has been groomed by McLaren – and in particular the former principal Ron Dennis – since joining the team as a boy.
“People always said I was the best-prepared driver ever as I was groomed and all that crap. It was absolute rubbish,” he said. “I was given an opportunity in the different categories and I had to win in those categories before I moved on.
“I had to win FRenault, had to win F3, had to win GP2 to get my seat. I had to work bloody hard and I trained myself all of those years. I had no one groom me to be as fit as I was or mentally focused. I never had a driver coach and it was at the end of 2006 they said we are going to give you the opportunity to drive.”
Hamilton, who has voiced his frustration at McLaren’s shortcomings compared to Red Bull added: “I tested and I worked my backside off to be as fit as I could be. I took a steering wheel home and studied every night the manual. I studied so hard. Harder than I ever did at school. I had the opportunity to use the tools and I am using them to the maximum. I disagree when people say I was being groomed. I worked my backside off, plus I had good people behind me plus my team and my family.”