Daniel Ricciardo believes it is underappreciated just how much Lewis Hamilton is able to routinely deliver whilst under pressure, with the weight of having the fastest car leaving him expected to win every race.
Hamilton is a six-time world champion in F1, but some critics have pointed to the suggestion that Mercedes have given him the best car in every year in the V6 turbo hybrid engine era, in which the Silver Arrows have won every title.
Ricciardo does recognise that his colleague has had a top-of-the-range car to contribute to his success, but defends Hamilton by conceding the weight of expectation is high on him.
“Where a lot of people don’t give Lewis his due is that while he’s had the best car for the past few years and maybe he’s had it easier than others, his teammates have as well, and he’s gone out and delivered,” Ricciardo explained to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I can relate to some of what Lewis goes through because I’ve fought for wins, but I can’t relate to everything – I’ve not been to Abu Dhabi for the last race with the title on the line and he has, and most times he’s come out on top.
“To deal with that kind of constant pressure, that in itself makes you a strong character. I respect that 100 per cent, and you can’t take that away from him.”
Esteban Ocon, who worked with Hamilton as a reserve and test driver with Mercedes last season, also insisted that the Brit puts in the graft to earn his success.
“People would say ‘he doesn’t work that hard’, but it’s not true,” Ocon said.
“Lewis has a very full life, but he uses his time very well to work. While that seems like an easy thing, it’s difficult in F1 to switch back and focus on one thing to another, and he does that brilliantly.
“What was very impressive to see is that he manages to do everything at such a high level, and on the track he is an animal.”
Hamilton is going for his seventh world title in 2020 which would see him equal the record held by Michael Schumacher.
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