Mar 14 2013
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton is already comfortably filling the void vacated by Michael Schumacher.
Given Schumacher's relationship with Brawn over many years, winning seven world titles together - two at Benetton and five with Ferrari - the former's exit was always going to be tough to bear.
But Brawn said: "When someone of the status of Michael leaves the team that's a very big hole to fill. At the moment Lewis is filling it perfectly, but in his own style, his own way. I don't want a clone of Michael. We want someone who does it his own way."
Speaking ahead of the opening grand prix in Melbourne this weekend, Brawn continued: "Lewis' performance, and very importantly his natural status within the team, the way he works with people and the direction he can give you, he can carry out that task in his own way.
"But he's brought quite a fresh buzz to the team in the way he has approached things, the way he is working with the engineers, and I must say I'm delighted with the way it has gone so far.
"We've not yet been in the white heat of battle because when you go racing you learn a lot more about your drivers, their relationship and how that develops, so that's to come.
"But in testing it went as well as I could have expected, not only on the track, but in terms of the working relationship Lewis is building with this team, and with his team-mate (Nico Rosberg).
"There is a vital relationship there, and I'm sure it will have its moments because they're two very competitive guys.
"We want them to be competitive, they have to beat each other, but they need to do it in a way that's constructive for the team and takes the team forward.
"So far it's been very encouraging, and a real motivation and a buzz for the team to be working with Lewis."