Lewis Hamilton has described winning his first F1 drivers' title as "horrendous" and in stark contrast to the journey currently being experienced by Max Verstappen.
In his rookie season in 2007, Hamilton went into the final two races on course to be crowned champion as he held a 17-point lead over Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, and with just 20 on the table he missed out by a point.
The following year, Hamilton won in the most dramatic of circumstances, with a move on Toyota's Timo Glock through the final corner on the last lap of the closing race in Brazil to claim the position he needed to beat Felipe Massa.
Now with Mercedes, Hamilton is aiming for a record-breaking eighth title this year, with the 36-year-old Briton 12 points behind Red Bull rival Verstappen who is in his seventh full season in F1.
Assessing how his first title win compares to Verstappen's attempt this year, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "My first title? It was horrendous. The journey was terrible, but he's what, six years in? I was in my second year.
"I didn't have a great structure around me in terms of management, I didn't have help to know how to handle all these curveballs sent at me.
"I didn't have all the experience, I didn't have all the tools - except the ones in the car - but I was learning all these other tools in order how to be a great team-mate, work with a group of people and help them elevate, and all these kinds of things, which was different for me then.
"I'm grateful I've had the experiences, I know how to build my team, I know how to win with my team and I know how to enjoy the ups and downs with my team."
Reflecting on what Verstappen might be going through, Hamilton added: "I don't spend a moment thinking what might or what might not be a distraction for him. That doesn't bother me either way.
"If I do my job to the best of my abilities, I don't have a problem. That's how I approach my job."
Hamilton discovers new purpose in his life
Despite the many experiences of his remarkable past, Hamilton has confirmed he is finding new motivation this year as he attempts to further cement his legend in the record books.
Hamilton's work in supporting Black Lives Matter and his own Commission to promote greater inclusivity is proving inspirational.
"This year I've not been drawing on past experiences, I've been drawing on feeding off this energy of doing this positive work," added Hamilton.
"I noticed that last year and it was a part of that last year. Getting on the podium so I can give Breonna [Taylor] that voice, it was a super drive for me.
"So now it's the work that I'm doing in the background and then I'm turning up and I'm enjoying this job. Is it helping me race? I think so, yeah.
"It's like my new drive and I feel like it's giving me more longevity because it's a lot of work we have to do. I feel like it also gives my life real purpose. Racing is not a purpose, it's something you do."
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