British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton is the 2008 Formula One World Champion, currently racing for Mercedes AMG Petronas. Some years ago, in 2005, Hamilton won the Formula 3 Euro Series title. His competitors in that year were none other than Paul Di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Giedo van der Garde and Sebastian Vettel. Not less than 17 drivers of the 2013 line up of the F1 honed their skills in Formula 3. At Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg Lewis Hamilton paid a visit to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season finale. The 2005 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion took his time to answer our questions.

How important was it to be part of Formula 3 for the development of your whole career?
Formula 3 was one of the vital steps in my career, it was a great experience. It was really where I learned a lot about the technical side of racing, especially set-up wise. These were really two great years that I had. It was the first time I got to experience Mercedes power and just how great their technology is. It was also the stage when I really built my relationship with Mercedes. That relationship that I built there is what I am now working with…

What makes Formula 3 so special and what are the important things a young driver needs to extract from the series in your opinion?
The cars were just great. I don’t know how the cars will feel today but I am sure even better than when I raced in F3. When I drove the cars it was just raw racing. Most of the drivers can get really technical with the car in terms of set-up, ride height, cambers and this kind of things. For me Formula 3 was the time when I learned all this stuff. Formula 3 is just the best school for Formula 1.

You won the title in 2005, how much did you enjoy the time?
That was cool. I had a difficult year in 2004. The car was pretty bad, most so the set-up. When I got to 2005 I had a really strong group of people who I worked with. They were very much like my Formula 1 engineers I have now. In terms of understanding what a car needs, what a driver needs and what I am saying they could turn it into set-up. So we achieved to win 15 or 16 of the 20 races.

FIA F3 Europe