Allison: Working with Hamilton different to what I imagined

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Mercedes technical director James Allison says working with Lewis Hamilton has been one of the best things about switching to the reigning world champions earlier this year.

Allison joined Mercedes from Ferrari in February, taking over many of the responsibilities held by former technical boss Paddy Lowe. Allison is a very highly-rated engineer, having spent two stints at Ferrari as well as Renault when the team won titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

His move to Mercedes has coincided with a tense championship battle with his old team Ferrari, but Allison says one of the highlights has been working alongside Hamilton for the first time.

"It has been a considerable pleasure joining Mercedes this year for many, many reasons but one of those was that it was my first opportunity to start working alongside Lewis," he said. "I think I'd only ever said hello to him once in all the years prior to that and the experience of working with him is very different to what I imagined it would be.

"I've found a racing driver of the sort of excellence that all of us can see from his statistics and the way he goes about his job, but what has been particularly good is that I've found a guy that conducts himself as a man in a way that makes you happy to work alongside him. And that's been an enjoyable and good thing about joining Mercedes."

Allison's time at various teams means he has worked alongside three of the highest-rated drivers on the grid: Sebastian Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. Asked to compare the three, he declined to make a direct comparison but said they all lived up to their reputations.

"I get asked this question a lot and it's a frustrating question because, first of all, there's an impossibility of answering it because there's only one way to know for sure and it's to line them all up in exactly the same equipment on the same days and have a championship where you find out exactly.

"All I can tell you is that all three of them have got the victories and the achievements that they have, not by good fortune but by being brilliantly skilful racing drivers."