Lewis Hamilton has expressed his shock after hearing comments from Nigel Mansell earlier this week that slam the McLaren driver, claiming he was a ‘manufactured’ racing driver.
Mansell was quoted as saying on Friday, on his way to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival, that drivers have it too easy nowadays from such a young age.
“I think sometimes it all becomes too easy,” Mansell told the Press Association. “How many people from seven years of age have been given £2.5m to go karting?
“I know drivers now are being signed up at seven, eight, nine years of age. They’re all being picked now to be grand prix drivers in five and seven and ten years’ time.
“That negates everybody out there now doing the job, and that is frightening. I don’t decry what Lewis has done [but], when he initially started having tough times, he didn’t handle it very well, [because] that’s the first time ever in his life he’s had a tough time.”
Hamilton though was shocked after hearing the claims. Having only been signed by McLaren at the age of 13, not seven, whilst his farther worked three jobs to support his sons karting interests.
“Wow. Clearly, he [Mansell] has not been reading the right stories, or he just has not got his facts right,” Hamilton told Reuters after qualifying for the Turkish GP.
“I wasn’t signed up until I was 13, so I would love to see where the rest of that money was since I was seven. I don’t know how he was funded when he was younger but, for us, it was virtually impossible to find money.
“It got more and more expensive. My parents paid all the way until I was 13 by re-mortgaging the house. They were broke,” he said.
“He is a world champion, he was a great star and I look up to him, but I wouldn’t have expected that from him. I just think he is clearly ill-informed and doesn’t have the right information.
“He has his right to his own opinion, which doesn’t really bother me. I don’t really care about his opinion.”