• Lewis Hamilton looked back at the time he was chosen to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes
  • Hamilton said he felt "strange" when he realized he is about to fill the shoes of a legend
  • He admitted Mercedes didn't have a great car at the time but was already innovating before he arrived

Lewis Hamilton has opened up about the experience of replacing Formula One legend Michael Schumacher at Mercedes and what he knew about the team even before joining them.

After four years of being retired, Schumacher made an epic return in 2010 with Mercedes. However, the German icon didn’t have much success and was eventually replaced by Hamilton in 2013.

In a recent interview with GP Fans, Hamilton revealed that apart from feeling honored about being asked to fill the void Schumacher left behind, he also felt that it was bizarre to be able to take the place of someone he admires.

"What’s really crazy, for me, is that I was brought in, ultimately, to replace Michael [Schumacher], which was such a strange position to be in because, obviously, I’d watched this man dominate the sport and achieve such great things and he was stopping and I was going to be taking his place,” Hamilton revealed.

"The guys that I worked with were his previous mechanics and engineers and what a privileged position to be in," he continued.

Michael Schumacher
German Formula One driver Michael Schumacher gestures at the end of the Brazil's F-1 GP on November 25, 2012 at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

It didn’t take long before Hamilton became the new face of Mercedes, winning back-to-back world titles with the team in 2014 and 2015.

However, the six-time world champion admitted that before signing with Mercedes, the team was struggling and hadn’t been doing a great job engineering a competitive car. Fortunately for the team, Hamilton was able to infuse the cars with his own style, which marked the start of their success.

"[Mercedes] had quite a difficult time and the car hadn’t been good," the 92-time Formula One winner admitted. "I think what was really great was that, when I joined, I was personally able to put my stamp on the car and make a lot of alterations, particularly in 2013. And then we just collectively worked together."

Hamilton also revealed that around the same period of time, Mercedes was already continuously innovating. The Englishman personally witnessed the team’s determination not only to produce a great car but also to win.

"I knew that we would have a great engine because they had already started developing the engine before I’d even made my decision to join the team, before I’d signed the contract," he revealed.

"I was able to go to the factory, I knew what Mercedes was doing, I knew that McLaren was coming out of contract with Mercedes and I knew that I wanted to be with Mercedes-Benz because it’s such an iconic brand and they were so passionate about what they wanted to achieve," Hamilton added.

Hamilton, presented with one of Michael Schumacher's helmets at Nurburgring, seeks to claim record outright
Hamilton, presented with one of Michael Schumacher's helmets at Nurburgring, seeks to claim record outright POOL / Bryn Lennon