Hill warns Hamilton about media attention

Former world champion Damon Hill has warned Lewis Hamilton against the attention he is receiving following his impressive debut in Formula One

Hill warns Hamilton about media attention

The British rookie has been on the spotlight following three sensational first races, in which he went on to finish on the podium to become the first driver to achieve such a feat.

Since then, Hamilton has been constantly praised and tipped as a future world champion.

1996 world champion Hill reckons the attention will grow even more once the McLaren driver scores his first victory, and he reckons Hamilton must be careful with how he handles it.

"I was simply not prepared for the amount of attention I received during my F1 career," Hill told this week's Autosport magazine. "I'd never had that amount of attention in my life for anything.

"Lewis will find that whatever he's currently encountering will be multiplied by a factor of five when he starts winning races. You can't turn it off, so you need a strategy for coping.

"I know Michael Schumacher has his place in Scandinavia where he can go to escape. You also need close friends who will still call you a tosspot if you start acting like one. The level of expectation placed upon you is unfair and uncalled for.

"You can fall into the trap of feeling responsible for everything that happens as a consequence of your career.

"Did you see Tiger Woods playing at the US Masters recently? "He didn't look like a person enjoying his golf. And does he have much else other than golf in his life?

"The attention can change you, but hopefully it enlightens you. You must avoid becoming reliant on the fame and attention.

"It requires maturity and Lewis seems to have plenty of that. Jenson (Button) discovered early on that fame is a good game to play, but it can bite you," Hill added.

The Briton, however, admits he has been highly impressed by Hamilton's performances, making the most of the opportunity.

"I've never seen a rookie as good as him," Hill added. "Nobody has, according to the statistics. He's made a tremendous start. Nothing more could have been asked of him, really.

"He's coped with everything he's faced - he's been superb. Now he has to adjust to the reality of that."

Fellow former world champion Nigel Mansell believes Hamilton's maiden win is just around the corner following his three podiums in the first three races of the season.

"He's on the crest of a wave right now and his confidence couldn't be higher," Mansell said. "He's the chosen one; one of the first to come through to Formula One having been fully supported all the way.

"And he's grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He doesn't need to worry now. He's already proved that he belongs there. If he'd joined Honda as Jenson Button's teammate, he wouldn't have made anything like the same impact. He's fortunate that he's walked into a fantastic car and team."

Mansell added: "The first win definitely gives added confidence. But given the confidence he's already shown, what comes next should be really impressive. The first win will be just around the corner and that will bring a lot more pressure.

"But, barring accidents and misfortune, he's got all the credentials to be a future world champion."

Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell give their verdict on Lewis Hamilton's sensational Formula One debut and discuss life in the spotlight in this week's Autosport magazine.

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