Toto Wolff has revealed he now views Lewis Hamilton as part of the Mercedes F1 management after a decade with the team.
The seven-time champion joined Mercedes alongside Wolff in 2013, since adding six drivers' titles, while also playing a significant role in the Silver Arrows' record-breaking run of eight consecutive constructors' crowns.
But as Mercedes endured a torrid season this term, Hamilton's management skills caught Wolff's eye, in particular, his ability to galvanise a team when the on-track performances were below par.
Asked if he now sees Hamilton as part of the management structure, speaking to the 'Beyond the Grid' podcast, Mercedes team principal Wolff said: "I would say so, yes.
"Obviously, there is his involvement in developing the car and his presence in the factory.
"But I think that on the race weekends he has become such a senior figure, maybe a little bit like Michael [Schumacher] was back in the day or Tom Brady, that you become more than just a player or just the driver.
"You are emotionally part of the team and he definitely is.
"He's not, like we called them in the past, a contractor. Drivers come, get paid and leave for the next better occasion.
"But he has been with the team now for 10 years. He is a team member."
Hamilton skills a first for Wolff
This season was Hamilton's first without either a race win or pole position.
Despite the Briton previously claiming the continuation of his former unique record was of little consequence to him, Wolff said of Hamilton's campaign: "[It was] extremely tough because we gave him a tool that wasn't capable of winning.
"And on top of that, the drivers had a car that was unpredictable, unstable, good at times and not good at others. It was not really something that you could work with and develop.
"But as a personality, how he has gone through the season is really admirable. There were times when the team felt down because of the non-performance and Lewis picked the people up and motivated them.
"That is truly management and personality traits that I have not seen with a professional sportsman before."