In his career with Mercedes, Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin had the opportunity to work with both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.
After Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s most career wins record at the Eifel Grand Prix, Andrew Shovlin talked about the similarities between the two.
“[Lewis] works very hard,” said Shovlin.
“He’s a driver that I think, perhaps, his rivals like to think is just fast in the car but doesn’t put the hours in. But he’s one of the hardest working drivers we’ve ever known.
“It’s the more he can understand about the tyres, about how the car works, about how to use all the available tools – he’s able to take that and build it into his driving.
“It’s just in this relentless way: Every missed opportunity is something that needs fixing before the next race goes.
“He goes off and works with Bono [race engineer Peter Bonnington] and Marcus [Dudley, performance engineer], his engineering crew and with the wider team trying to understand the issues.
“So long into a career, you think drivers would sort of top out their skillset, but Lewis keeps finding new and different things to do and how to get the most out of the car and the tyres.”
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Before Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, Shovlin had the opportunity to work with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. Although Shovlin says their characters differ greatly, the two champions share several similar traits.
“If you look at how they drive, when Michael arrived in our team, the things that stood out about him were the way he would always go after the marginal gains.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s one hundredth of a second, he’d try and do it and he’d collect those up.
“Michael also had an ability to drive whatever balance was quickest; if it was an understeering car that you needed, he’d to do it, if you needed to move the work onto the front tyres, he could so he was very, very adaptable in his driving style.
“Those are certainly two characteristics that Lewis very much has. A lot of the good drivers don’t have a particular style, it’s just whatever’s quick, they’ll adapt to do it.
“[With] Michael, it doesn’t matter how many things you told him to do on a lap, whether it was moving the brake bias, where to look after tyres, what he needed to do to get them in the right window, he’d be able to sort of put them all together.
“And again, that’s one that Lewis does – quite quietly, often – you don’t need loads, but you can just keep layering one thing on top of another and he doesn’t forget it.
“He just does it and then if you give him more things to do, he adds that on top.
“So I think just in terms of that way they are in the car, they’re actually more similar than you might believe.
“It’s just that out of the car they’re two quite different people,” concluded Shovlin.