After Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton is the second oldest driver on the F1 grid. However, the driver continues to be and feel in excellent physical shape, as evidenced by his results during this second half of the season, where George Russell appears more in the background.
With the FOM, the Mercedes driver confirmed that he was at the top of his physical form but also mentally.
« As far as my physical well-being goes, I’ve never felt better physically, because I really focused on that as I got older. »
“I generally like to drive and I work on a plan. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but there’s no limit to what we can do. »
If Lewis Hamilton feels so good about himself, it is also thanks to his ‘off-road’ projects with Mercedes, in particular with ‘Mission 44’ to promote inclusiveness and diversity in sport.
“I want to be creative and keep doing all the other things I get to do. I can be myself in this team – and the support from Mercedes has been amazing since day one. Together it’s not just about winning, we can be one of the many people around the world trying to change the world for the better – we can do that, Mercedes, it’s a huge brand that can have a huge influence on the world. »
Another element that makes Lewis Hamilton feel so happy at Mercedes: his boss!
« Toto [Wolff, directeur de l’équipe Mercedes] is one of my best friends. We’ve had tough times, we’ve had tough negotiations, there’s been emotional outbursts, roller coasters of emotions together over the years, but we’re like family. I want what’s best for him. He wants what’s best for me. »
“We can always pick up the phone and talk about whatever we want. Our values are the same and our goals are the same – for the brand, to help this team grow and achieve its goals. »
Lewis Hamilton also imposes an iron discipline to hold on during the many weekends of Grands Prix, he says.
« So I try to use all my time, and the quietest part of the day, especially in Grands Prix, is the end of the day, because there’s no one around me, and that’s is where I have no distractions. I can review the data – and I’m in constant contact with the simulation team at the factory, so while it’s running I’m able to have live interactions with the rider who’s on the track. »
“I eat on the track and I’m exhausted once I’m done. I start to relax at the end, I come back to the hotel, and there is little time between going to bed and waking up – that’s what I like. »
“I don’t want to finish here early and go to dinner. I don’t feel like going to dinner and wasting time chattering away. I’m here for one reason, and that’s to win races. For me, this [le dîner, les autres événements durant un week-end de Grand Prix] is a distraction, so I don’t do it often, if ever. »
Would George Russell have Lewis Hamilton as a mentor and model?
Lewis Hamilton, however, had a hair to scratch – much younger than him – in the person of George Russell, who replaced Valtteri Bottas this year.
The arrival of George Russell could have appeared as a transfer of power, possibly taking place under tension; However, this is not the case and Lewis Hamilton is currently working very well with his teammate and compatriot.
Lewis Hamilton describes his mentorship with him.
« As for the arrival of George… he was one of the youngest pilots [jeunes pilotes Mercedes] – he used to sit behind during debriefings and engineering before, so he knows the process. »
“He arrives and fits in, he knows what to expect. And from my side, I just tried to be as welcoming and include it – trying to communicate a lot about the car, what can I test, what can you test for take us where we want? »
“I just try to work with him like I did with Valtteri. When you add new people, it takes time for everyone to get into the rhythm, but he did an amazing job, we found a decent rhythm between us quite early, and we continue to work on all points weak to continue to be on this rhythm. »
Engineer Lewis Hamilton
However, even at the top of his form, Lewis Hamilton cannot fight for victories on a regular basis, so disappointing is the Mercedes W13, and so solid is Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.
Much remains to be done and the Briton knows it.
“The slope we have to climb is enormous. »
“For us, it’s important to imagine that it’s the biggest, steepest and most difficult mountain to climb, because if you think it’s going to be a normal hill, you won’t achieve your goals. You have to think this is the hardest climb you could imagine, which means you have to dig deep. »
Behind the scenes, moreover, Lewis Hamilton is doing a colossal job to advance development as much as possible. He talks about this work behind the scenes (he had notably experimented with original settings at the start of the year to try to unravel the mystery of the Mercedes).
“There is a lot of work we have already done so far to understand where we are, where we went wrong in previous decisions that were made last year and this year. »
« As for taking the right steps for next year, it’s not easy to navigate because there are a lot of different options, but communication is what I’m trying to work on with everyone, making sure there’s no misunderstanding about what I feel in the car and what I want in the car, and making sure we’re continually creating a dialogue. »
“These days I sat with Shov [le chef de piste Andrew Shovlin]Ron [Meadows, directeur sportif] and Mike [Elliott, directeur technique] – by simply asking questions – ‘this is what worries me, this is what keeps me awake, what can we do about it? How can I help you do better, do more? There’s not much we can do as we have to trust the process, but it’s about letting people know you’re there – it’s not up to them to do it on their own, we will do it together. »