Wolff: Hamilton became senior figure, like Schumacher

Wolff: Hamilton became senior figure in 2022, like Schumacher

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team boss, likened Lewis Hamilton’s attitude within the team during the 2022 Formula 1 season as that of a senior figure, much like Michael Schumacher was.

Lewis Hamilton had a torrid 2022 F1 season, and instead of having another crack at a record-breaking eighth F1 Drivers’ Crown, was relegated to dragging a woeful Mercedes W13 throughout his campaign.

Speaking the Beyond The Grid podcast, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted Hamilton endured a trying season; he said when asked how tough the year was: “Extremely tough.

“Because we have given him a tool that wasn’t capable of winning. On top of that, the drivers had a car that was unpredictable, unstable, good at times, not good at others – not really something you can work with and develop,” he explained.

“But as a personality, how he has gone through the season is really admirable,” the Austrian insisted. “There were times when the team felt down because of the non-performance and this is where he picked the people up and motivated them, and that is truly management and personality traits that I have not seen with a professional sportsman before.”

Hamilton more than just a driver

Wolff insisted Hamilton’s role within the team was more than merely driving the car; he said: “Obviously there’s his involvement in developing the car, and his presence in the factory, but I think on the race weekends he has become such a senior figure.

“[He’s] maybe a little bit like Michael was back in the day, or I think about Tom Brady in [American] football teams, that you become more than just a player or just a 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 they leave for the next better occasion. He’s been with the team now 10 years [and] he’s a team member,” Wolff maintained.

Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2023 F1 season, with both he and Mercedes declaring they targeting to continue, Wolff even saying the matter will be dealt with over the winter break and ahead of next season.