Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has praised the professional and personal development of Lewis Hamilton whilst with the team, saying he has overcome the ‘complications’ in his life when he was a younger driver.
Only Michael Schumacher has won more drivers’ championships than the Brit, who is level on five titles with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. He is well on course for his sixth title in 2019 as he leads the rankings by 62 points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
At 34-years-old, he is now one of the elder statesmen in F1, and Wolff thinks his journey into maturity has been remarkable.
"He's an integral part of the team and has developed as a racing driver, but even more spectacularly as a human being," the Mercedes team principal told the official Formula 1 website.
"When he joined from McLaren, it was for me like a raw diamond in a sense. You could see complications in his life and maybe a lack of stability in understanding what was needed.
"All that disappeared through the Mercedes years. And every year he became a better Lewis and - knock on wood - in the last two, three years we've barely seen any mistakes.
"And if they happen, he's the first one to admit them and that has contributed to our culture of being brutally honest with each other."
Hamilton’s fame has went beyond F1 over the years as he has become one of the most recognisable sportspeople in the world. His hobbies external to the sport include fashion and music, and although this may be viewed as a distraction by some, Wolff wants his driver to have his own life away from competing.
"We need to stop putting people in boxes, and say 'this is how a racing driver has to behave', but simply make the effort to simply try and understand the human behind the helmet, and try to carve out a framework that makes that person the best 'him' or the best 'her' and make them perform at the very top," he suggested.
"I believe that Lewis' various other interests - music or fashion - take his mind off between the races.
"Having a good time is something I think is very positive and very important for his performance on the racing track.
"We are very open with each other with what we do. We 'Facetime', we send videos and I feel in a very good place with him."
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