Frank Williams, Silverstone, 2019

Hamilton praises Sir Frank Williams as “one of the most honest people in F1”

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has praised Sir Frank Williams, whose spell in charge of the team he founded in 1977 will come to an end after this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

“I’m a big fan of Sir Frank and his incredible contribution to the sport,” said Hamilton. “He was always so positive to me, he was one of the people I respected most here.

“I think he was probably one of the most honest, if not the most honest, people here in Formula 1. So it’s definitely sad to see the end of the chapter, the end of a book. But I think their legacy will continue as I believe they keep the name at least.”

Williams had an opportunity to sign Hamilton in 2004, three years before he made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren. Hamilton revealed today he also looked at the possibility of joining Williams when he left McLaren to join Mercedes at the end of 2012. Williams had won one race that year, as did Mercedes.

“I was hopeful at some stage that they were going to come back and be back at the front,” he said. “I remember dreaming of driving the car that Mansell had or DC’s [David Coulthard’s] car, something like that.

“But it never turned into an option, really a real option for me. And that’s when I moved obviously to Mercedes. So I wish them all the best and all the health in the world and on their next endeavours.”

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Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas, who made his Formula 1 debut with Williams in 2013, also paid tribute to his former team.

“I still remember the day, the first time when I went to the factory,” said Bottas. “I met Frank and then eventually got that opportunity to become a test driver and then used that opportunity and they gave me the chance to be a race driver. They really believed in me and they gave me the opportunity to show what I can do.

“So definitely without Williams and especially without Frank, who was at that time very much in charge, I wouldn’t be here. So I’m forever thankful for Williams, for how they helped me develop as a driver and getting my first points with them, getting my first podium in Formula 1 with them.

“Then as time went on Claire also became more involved. So, to be honest, I was quite sad to see the news that the family is kind of stepping away from the race team and even Frank is going to be pretty much aside. It was his life project and I think he’s done really well and I think the whole family should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.

“The many things they achieved in Formula 1 is really impressive by a family team. So it’s very sad but very thankful for everyone there.”

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2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Hamilton praises Sir Frank Williams as “one of the most honest people in F1””

  1. Frank also one of the most ferocious and ruthless people in F1! He and Ron define their era.

  2. The most honest guy in prison.

    1. He didn’t pay. if I remember rightly £30 million to settle a German criminal claim.

    2. Ha! Yeah, as much as I think we all admire Frank for what he achieved, perhaps not the compliment it sounded like in Lewis’ head before he said it.

  3. Haha. The most Honest guy in F1 who would take a guys chassis, refurbish it, and sell it back to same racer calling it “brand new”
    Still a legend. I have no doubt that was the way to reach the top in F1 at the time.

    1. Still is.

  4. “One of the most honest people in F1” is a very low bar.

    1. Especially when Flavio sits on it.

  5. Sad end to a true F1 Legend.

  6. Lewis is such a talkative guy. Whatever is in the news, he wants to say his bit and nothing will stop him.

    1. Or simply a journalist said something like “what are your thoughts on the departure of the Williams family”?and he answered the question.

    2. Come on Rodber, what would you like to say on the matter? We’re all ears. No doubt if he refused to answer the question you’d say he was disrespecting Williams by not saying anything.

      Bah humbug!

  7. You just have to read Jason Plato’s ambush of Frank.

  8. So Frank never said anything critical of Hamilton, therefore he must be the most honest man possible. Jeez..

    It should of course be Hamilton who must be the most honest man in F1, seeing how he has already stated he never lies, but of course that was that just another lie.

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