Hamilton reveals 'huge step' enjoyed as a driver over the years


Lewis Hamilton says most of his development as an F1 driver over the years has been the result of "background work", with one aspect of change representing a "huge step" forward for the Briton.

From the outset of his career at the pinnacle of motorsport, Hamilton has been a force to be reckoned with, his outstanding talent carrying the 38-year-old over the course of his 16 years in F1 to 103 wins and seven world titles.

And yet the Briton has evolved significantly over that period as a driver, although most of Hamilton's transformation has taken place behind the scenes rather than on the track.

"A lot of it's been done in the background," Hamilton told Fox Sports in Australia recently.

"So in the processes in the background, in how I engage with engineers, how I am able to extract what I need from all the different sections, different departments."

But Hamilton's growth has also involved mental changes, and especially with respect to how he dealt with defeat or hardship on race weekends, difficulties that often left him in a "dark place" psychologically.

"I think the 'bouncing back' scenario [has changed]," Hamilton explained.

"I think, particularly when I was younger, [when] I had a bad race, you couldn't talk to me for days.

"I was in such a dark place often, so being able to recover and [think], 'Past is past. Five minutes ago, I can't change that. What I can change is how I move forwards'.

"So that's something that was a huge step for me."

Another part of Hamilton's natural process has been his physical preparation, including his move to a plant-based diet. His technical expertise has also significantly expanded.

But overall, the changes have led to him becoming a more confident and assertive competitor.

"The physicality side of it, how you eat, how you prepare, time management, understanding of tyres... I understand the car so much more now than I did when I first got here, for example," he added.

"I was at the mercy of the engineers around me. I couldn't dictate a huge amount. I couldn't say, 'Hey, guys, this is the direction we need to go'.

"I can do that now. I know what I need in the car in order to do what I need to do, in order to be able to extract my performance and the performance of the car.

"So there [are] a lot of areas [where I have changed], and then there's a calmness in the mind that I have now that I didn't have then, so it comes with experience."

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