MANOR PROUD TO CELEBRATE HAMILTON'S F1 SUCCESS Tony Shaw, Lewis Hamilton's team manager during the British sensation's two-year tenure in the Formula Renault UK Championship, has spoken of his total delight following the 22-year-old's ...
MANOR PROUD TO CELEBRATE HAMILTON'S F1 SUCCESS
Tony Shaw, Lewis Hamilton's team manager during the British sensation's two-year tenure in the Formula Renault UK Championship, has spoken of his total delight following the 22-year-old's maiden Formula One race victory during last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
Shaw, a stalwart of the Manor Motorsport concern, played a key role during Hamilton's first two seasons of car racing in the junior single-seater category which culminated in a dominant title win during the 2003 Formula Renault UK campaign.
Hamilton's arrival in Formula Renault UK came with great fanfare due to his outstanding success in the ranks of karting and also his association with the McLaren F1 Team, his career guided from an early stage by Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh.
Placing Lewis with the then Manor Motorsport squad for the 2001 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship came as confirmation of the team's status and the high regard in which the outfit is held by those at the pinnacle of the sport.
After claiming his maiden category win from pole position during the fifth round of the main 2002 season, the Hertfordshire star went on to finish a superb third overall in the driver standings.
Beginning 2003 as the pre-season championship favourite, Lewis didn't disappoint and went on to dominate Formula Renault UK that year in his 2.0-litre Manor car, actually winning the prestigious title with two rounds to spare. Lewis still attended the final race meeting of the season though where he was presented with his richly deserved trophy.
As one of the people closest to Lewis Hamilton during his formative car racing career, Tony Shaw -- who is now the owner of Manor Competition, the re-branded name of Manor Motorsport's Formula Renault UK operation -- is rightly proud of the youngster's outstanding achievements, especially his Grand Prix victory in Canada last weekend.
"I know I speak for everyone who worked with Manor in 2002 and 2003 when I say we're all very, very proud of Lewis' achievements", said Shaw, "When he first tested with us in 2001 it was obvious he would go on to become champion in Formula Renault UK.
"The sky truly is the limit for Lewis. He's obviously had a tremendous journey already from karting through to Formula Renault, Formula 3 Euroseries and then on to GP2 and now F1. Finishing on the podium in every Grand Prix since he made his debut is nothing short of unbelievable but to those of us who have worked with Lewis, it's no surprise."
Shaw added: "Of course, Lewis has had an amazing opportunity with McLaren and it's worked out perfectly for him the team has such a competitive car this year but he still has to go out there and compete against the best drivers in the world. His victory in Canada really should be the first of many, I'm absolutely delighted for him.
"The success isn't just fantastic for Lewis and his family, it's terrific for Formula Renault UK and British motorsport as a whole. We're very proud indeed to have been part of this amazing story."
Manor has a long tradition of nurturing outstanding motor racing talent and a year before Lewis Hamilton arrived on the scene in Formula Renault UK, Finnish race sensation Kimi Raikkonen capped a similarly spectacular junior career with championship victory during the 2000 season as a Manor Motorsport driver.
Surprising the motorsport establishment by moving straight from Formula Renault UK at the end of 2000 into a Sauber Formula One car the following year, Raikkonen went on to enjoy several Grand Prix victories with McLaren and is now, of course, driving for Ferrari as a replacement for the legendary Michael Schumacher.
"Kimi and Lewis are very different characters and have contrasting approaches to their racing", said Shaw, "Having worked with both though I can say they have two great similarities, they're incredibly rare talents and they're both bloody quick! Such talented drivers are very few and far between and Manor is infinitely proud to have played a part in both careers."