Wolff: Hamilton's strengths go far beyond his driving talent in F1

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton's qualities stretch far beyond what he shows on the Formula 1 track - and include him not thinking the universe revolves around him

Wolff: Hamilton's strengths go far beyond his driving talent in F1

The reigning F1 world champion delivered perhaps his strongest season ever in 2020 as he roared to his seventh title, matching the all-time titles record of Michael Schumacher.

The extent of his dominance, however, prompted some to question whether Hamilton's success was down more to his car and the team than pure driver talent.

Speaking to Autosport about Hamilton's role in what Mercedes has achieved, Wolff said neither team nor driver could be singled out as the most important factor.

However, he made clear that being a top line driver was about far more than just being quick on track.

"It's not one dimensional," explained Wolff about the car versus driver debate. "Formula 1 has always been about best man in best machine wins.

"The best man means the quickest driver, and the most intelligent driver. [He is] the one that understands how the dynamics in a team works, its technical ability, and on the other side seeing himself in the right context within the organisation and not like a solar system where everything revolves around the sun.

"Equally, the organisation around the driver needs to be on its absolute A game in order to deliver performance in the various areas. This means on the engineering side, on the commercial side, on the political side, and on the communication side, in order to keep the wheels rolling.

"This is a business without a silver bullet, contrary to what most people think - even within the industry. It's a business around marginal gains where everything needs to be in the right place for a team to be successful."

Mercedes and Hamilton are in discussions about framing a new F1 contract for this year, with the previous deal having come to a conclusion at the end of 2020.

While those talks could extend as far as the eve of pre-season testing, Wolff says he has no fears of Hamilton doing what former team-mate Nico Rosberg did in 2016 and quit on the spot.

"It doesn't worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis's decisions," said Wolff.

"Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests. I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us.

"But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together."

shares
comments
Tost: AlphaTauri's 2020 success exceeds '08 F1 achievements with Vettel

Previous article

Tost: AlphaTauri's 2020 success exceeds '08 F1 achievements with Vettel

Next article

Luca Badoer: In defence of the unwanted F1 record-breaker

Luca Badoer: In defence of the unwanted F1 record-breaker
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Susie Wolff
Author Jonathan Noble
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021