Dennis stunned by Lewis
Hamilton's impact leaves McLaren boss shocked
Last Updated: 27/09/07 8:58am
Dennis: Had faith in Hamilton
McLaren boss Ron Dennis concedes to being stunned by protege Lewis Hamilton's startling impact on F1 this season.
"I personally always had faith in him, but I didn't think anyone could climb up the staircase of Formula One so quickly. That's surprised everybody, not least myself."
Ron Dennis on Lewis Hamilton Quotes of the week
Even Mercedes Motorsport chief Norbert Haug feels Hamilton's rise could be turned into a movie as the story is almost straight from a Hollywood script.
The pressure is mounting on Hamilton as he leads the championship by just two points from McLaren rival Fernando Alonso with three grands prix remaining, starting in Japan on Sunday at the new Fuji Speedway circuit.
A fitting finale would surely see Hamilton become the first rookie in the sport's history to win the World title.
Yet despite that, the 22-year-old Hamilton has even amazed Dennis, who said: "In his first year in Formula One, Lewis has delivered a great deal more than was expected by the vast majority of people.
"I personally always had faith in him, but I didn't think anyone could climb up the staircase of Formula One so quickly.
"That's surprised everybody, not least myself."
Echoing Dennis' sentiments, Haug added: "Lewis is the perfect example for a movie. He approached Ron 10 years ago, and you all know the story by now.
"He has a huge talent, he is a good, positive guy and technically goes very deep into details.
"Nobody could have expected a newcomer in Formula One to have performed like Lewis has."
Hamilton, meanwhile, knows he has to stave off the pressure from Alonso otherwise he can forget being crowned champion.
At the business end of the season, Hamilton has to remain focused.
"It's important to stay relaxed and calm and to remember it is my first year in Formula One, and I'm still 22," said Hamilton, who then assessed his rookie season.
"It's been quite a strange experience to realise I can win in Formula One and for the championship to become a reality. It's been phenomenal.
"Everything is so close in the championship now, so it would be great to win.
"Japan is also one of my favourite countries and the fans are very enthusiastic, so it would be even better to win in front of them."