F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Four of the top Mercedes team personnel have spoken about Lewis Hamilton’s evolution at the team, and how he’s shaken off his ‘mercenary’ mentality over his seven years at the top.
Hamilton moved away from McLaren in 2013 and started his partnership with the Silver Arrows – replacing Michael Schumacher at the team, with two world championships already under his belt at the age of 27.
And despite not winning a championship in his first season, a change came in 2014 with new engine regulations – and after four straight years of dominance from Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, Mercedes were now the team to beat.
Hamilton went on to win back-to-back titles from 2014 onwards, and was only stopped once by his then team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2016.
On F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Mercedes chief engineer Simon Cole, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, chief strategist James Vowles and sporting director Ron Meadows, spoke of the now seven-time world champion.
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Vowles said: “He’s a very different character from the one that joined us. When he joined us, he was a mercenary, he was here for himself to win races.
“That desire to win hasn’t disappeared but what he’s realized is you do it with the team and as part of the team and you become the greatest sportsman that exists, as a result of it. One individual cannot rely on himself.”
Mercedes trackside engineering director Shovlin added: “Early on, he had this relentless desire to win every race, manifest itself in his driving, and he would just push and push and did not stop.
“I think now he’s becoming a much more calculating driver. From the first lap of the first race, he’s thinking about Championships and about looking after the car and the tires a lot more.
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“He hasn’t gotten any better at losing races because that’s just in his nature. Certainly, his approach to the weekend and his thinking in the car. And everything is becoming really calculated, clean, and clinical.
“To the point where if someone asks you about Lewis making mistakes, you’re thinking back and going back seasons kind of, to try and recall any examples. His target is perfection and that’s a difficult target to pick. That’s what he’s trying to achieve.”
The quartet also spoke extensively about the Hamilton vs Rosberg rivalry, which led to flared tensions in the garage.
The two were childhood friends, however it quickly turned sour at Mercedes as they battled it out for world titles, however as chief strategist Vowles explains, the differences were clear both on paper and in person.
He continued: “If you gave Nico a thousand laps, he slowly moves towards an incredible performance level.
“If you give Lewis two laps, he’s there, if that makes any sense.
“Where Nico was excellent is that you give him time in the car to see what his teammate is doing, he’s incredible, what he achieves.”
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