Wolff says he sees Hamilton as part of Mercedes’ management now

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff says that on the race weekends Lewis Hamilton has become “such a senior figure”, akin to Michael Schumacher, that he is now more than “just a driver”.

Lewis Hamilton has been with Mercedes’ works team since 2013 and has led the team to eight consecutive constructors’ titles.

Team boss Toto Wolff has been very vocal about Lewis’ contributions to the team off the track, so during his appearance of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, the Austrian was asked if he sees Lewis as a part of Mercedes’ management structure.

“I would say so, yes,” Wolff said.

“Obviously, there is his involvement in developing the car and his presence in the factory.

“But I think that on the race weekends he has become such a senior figure, maybe a little bit like Michael [Schumacher] was back in the day or Tom Brady, that you become more than just a player or just the 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 leave for the next better occasion.

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“But he has been with the team now for 10 years. He is a team member.”

Toto then explained how Lewis was able to motivate the team, despite his own struggles with Mercedes’ troubled car.

“[It was] xtremely tough because we gave him a tool that wasn’t capable of winning.

“And on top of that, the drivers had a car that was unpredictable, unstable, good at times and not good at others. It was not really something that you could 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 Lewis picked the people up and motivated them.

“That is truly management and personality traits that I have not seen with a professional sportsman before,” Wolff concluded.

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