Lewis Hamilton credited Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff for accepting his unique foibles, something he believes has been key in his recent run of dominance.
Hamilton secured his sixth world title at the United States GP last week, securing world drivers' glory for the fifth season out of six in the V6 Hybrid era.
The Briton's previous spell at McLaren was often overshadowed by his high-profile relationship with pop singer Nicole Scherzinger and when his 2015 world title success saw Hamilton adopt a "work hard, play hard" mentality, his former boss Ron Dennis was unimpressed.
Dennis said after Hamilton won his third title: "If he was at McLaren he wouldn't be behaving the way he is because he wouldn’t be allowed to. He's shaking off some chains he didn't want to have."
However, Hamilton says that Mercedes' looser reins have helped him perform at his very best, with the Silver Arrows' top brass often allowing Hamilton extra down time to pursue his interests in fashion and other fields before returning to racing – often with impressive results.
Hamilton told Channel 4 amid his COTA title celebrations: "This team is just works so hard continuously year on year to provide me with the opportunity to exploit my abilities and also be different.
"That's what Niki was really great [at] alongside Toto, just noticing that I am different and accepting it and 'this is the way it is but as long as he performs well…'
"So I'm grateful to everyone who's been a part of it."
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