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Lewis Hamilton

De la Rosa explains where Hamilton is at his most lethal

Former McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa discusses Lewis Hamilton's strengths, saying the Englishman's ability to manage his tyres is his real asset.

Hamilton victory
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Former Spanish Formula 1 driver Pedro de la Rosa, who raced for McLaren, and was the team's test driver when Lewis Hamilton made his debut for the British team in 2007, says Hamilton's ability to manage his tyres during a race is what enables him to "kill" his teammates.

As a seven-time World Champion, Hamilton will go down as one of the sport's greatest-ever drivers.

While many cite the Englishman's pace over a single lap as one of his main defining characteristics – he does have 98 career pole positions – it is his race pace that makes him truly remarkable according to de la Rosa.

"Actually his strength is not over one lap, I think his strength is on the race distance where he kills Valtteri [Bottas] or any of his teammates," de la Rosa told the F1 Nation podcast.

"He was just smashing everyone because he loves to slide the car. And his strength basically is when the tyres degrade. When the tyres drop down, he carries a lot of speed into the corners, so he's not so dependent on the rear tyres to exceed the corners with a lot of traction, so his time advantage comes on entry."

De la Rosa also stated how he knew Hamilton was a star during the pre-season tests conducted prior to the start of the 2007 season.

"Since day one, he jumped into the Formula 1 car [with] McLaren, he was already special," de la Rosa explained.

"You can see straight away it took like a couple of runs at Silverstone to get up to speed and set competitive lap times.

"He has some windows where he's unbeatable when the compounds are very hard, like in the winter testing, and they don't switch on to temperature."

The best example of Hamilton's brilliance came at the Turkish Grand Prix in 2020. Despite facing a track surface that offered very little grip, the Englishman was able to find a rhythm and pull away from the field, winning the race by over 30 seconds.

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