United Autosports driver Phil Hanson has shed light on the relationship with his team-mates Filipe Albuquerque and Paul di Resta, saying it is very important to be paired with experienced drivers at this stage of his career.
Hanson, Albuquerque and Di Resta currently lead the LMP2 standings in the FIA World Endurance Championship heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, having won the three previous championship rounds in Bahrain, Austin and Spa-Francorchamps.
Hanson, 21, is competing in his first full season of the WEC after having previously competed with United Autosports in both the Asian and European Le Mans Series. He is partnered up with Albuquerque, who has six Le Mans start including two as part of Audi’s LMP1 program, and ex-F1 racer Di Resta.
Speaking exclusively to Motorsportweek.com ahead of his fourth 24 Hours of Le Mans, Hanson explained that he sees the experienced pairing as a benefit to his own development.
“I think it is very important. And you’re right, the only thing that separates me from them is the experience factor,” Hanson said. “And it is something that I can only take time to build on, but this is now my fourth Le Mans, so experience is catching up quite quickly.
“I think in many ways, experience is maybe the easiest thing that you can have control of, because the more you race, the more experience you get. That’s just simply how the rule goes.
“I’d rather be able to learn from experience and be fast-tracked by having team-mates with that experience rather as opposed to being in a position where I have to find all the pace, which luckily I’m not because of what I’ve been able to do on track.
“So I think I’m in a lucky scenario where I’ve put myself because of the work that I have put in and I can be fast-tracked through the bit of experience that I’m missing by my team-mates.
And I think out of all of the aspects that make a fast driver and a complete driver I think experience is likely the easiest part to learn on if you have the right sort of foundation and team-mates.”
Hanson joined United Autosports in 2018. He competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona that year alongside double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso and current McLaren driver Lando Norris. The Briton first began teaming with Di Resta in the Asian Le Mans Series and partnered Albuquerque in the European Le Mans Series that same year.
The trio then first contested Le Mans together in 2018 and 2019 before being paired up in the WEC for the 2019/20 campaign. Hanson, Di Resta and Albuquerque currently lead the LMP2 standings with a run of consecutive podium that has been unbroken since October’s 6 Hours of Fuji. Hanson partially credits the team’s strong run to the dynamic between the three drivers.
“I think Filipe is known in the paddock as the lovable character, the Portugese guy that is laughing and smiling and naturally gives off this vibrant personality which people can latch themselves onto, which is great for a team because it really makes everyone feel happy and calm in times of stress and it’s good for the environment.
“But at the same time, you need a level of experience and a level of professionality, which he brings as well. And that is something that has been matched by Paul, who’s been even more experienced and has been in the top level of racing with his Formula One stuff and DTM for probably ten years.
“It’s a good combination of drivers, I think you can’t have two Filipes or two Pauls, but with one of each it brings the best out of the team, because you’ve got me, where I’m kind of a hybrid between the two.
And then you’ve got someone that is on the end of very serious and very serious with what his job is there to do and make sure that he performs to the best of his ability, and the other one that does the exact same but brings about it in a different way with more of a laid back approach and a happier vibe.”