Lewis Hamilton praised for ‘respectful’ McLaren comments but warning sent to fans

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Lewis Hamilton’s recent praise of McLaren was “nice” but the Woking-based team must stay realistic over their ambitions this season, according to team principal Andreas Seidl. Hamilton was quoted in December his delight at how McLaren performed in 2020. The 36-year-old began his F1 career with them in 2007 and won his first world championship with them in 2008.

Carlos Sainz finished sixth in the driver’s standings last season, with Lando Norris in ninth.

McLaren were third, ahead of Racing Point, Renault and Ferrari.

Their performance led to Hamilton’s praise of his former team and he revealed his hope they can compete with Mercedes from the 2021 campaign.

“I’m really happy to see the McLaren so close, particularly with how they’ve got changes and they’re using our engine next year,” Hamilton said in December.

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“It’s great to see that, at the end of the year with a good car, so that they can perhaps be in the fight with us next year.

“If that makes it a three-way team championship. I think that would be amazing for the fans to see.”

However, Seidl inists some realism must be kept over his team’s chances of success this year.

Sainz has been replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian teaming up with Norris.

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Seidl was happy to hear Hamilton still respects McLaren but knows there is plenty of work still to be done to become a competitive force.

“It’s obviously nice for all of us at McLaren that Lewis, who started his career at McLaren and won his first title with McLaren, is respecting and watching the progress we make as a team,” Seidl told gpfans.com.

“But as I have said before, we have a clear picture and a realistic picture of where we are as a team.

“The guys in Brixworth are obviously very experienced.

“There is obviously a bit of history between the guys at Brixworth and McLaren which helped to get going again, but it is also clear it is a different partnership compared to the past.

“There is a Mercedes works team in Formula 1 and we are a customer, but I am very happy with everything I have seen so far with the integration of the Mercedes power unit.

“It is going really well and we should be in good shape from the first race onwards.”

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