Wolff: 'Admirable' Hamilton not unlike Schumacher back in the day


Toto Wolff praised Lewis Hamilton for his "admirable" attitude towards Mercedes' challenging 2022 season, comparing the Briton's senior figure role to that of Michael Schumacher back in the day.

Hamilton and Mercedes teammate George Russell were left trailing their rivals from the outset of the Brackley squad's campaign due to the chronic issues impacting their new-generation W13 silver arrow.

While Russell dealt with his car's issues to the best of his ability, Hamilton was entrusted in the first part of the season with a trial-and-error role as his crews and himself experimented with set-ups and changes in a bid to pull Mercedes out of a deep hole.

But the seven-time world champion committed to the task and boosted the team's spirits whenever a step forward was followed by two steps back.

Speaking on a recent Beyond the Grid podcast, Wolff was asked how difficult it was for Hamilton to endure Mercedes' unexpected season of adversity.

"Extremely tough, because we have given him a tool that wasn’t capable of winning," said the Austrian.

"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.

"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 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."

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While Hamilton's duty is to drive, Wolff reckoned the Briton is now a "senior figure" at Mercedes, and much more than just "a driver".

"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," Wolff explained.

"[He’s] maybe a little bit like Michael [Schumacher] 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."

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