Nico Rosberg’s Title Win “Annoyed” Lewis Hamilton: Wolff

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Lewis Hamilton seems to have become an entirely different beast since the culmination of the 2016 season. It’s not like he wasn’t winning championships earlier. But after Nico Rosberg broke his streak, Hamilton’s performances have only gone from strength to strength.

While that could lead many to believe that Rosberg was the one to unleash the animal inside Lewis, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff doesn’t think so.

According to Wolff, Rosberg’s 2016 championship win didn’t play a part in making Hamilton the indomitable machine that he is today.

Wolff said, “I don’t think that played any role. I think that annoyed him back at the time and he just moved on. I don’t think there was a particular thing to learn in that year.

“Nico was strong, Lewis had some DNFs leading races and at the end, it is what it is.”

Hamilton went on to sweep 3 consecutive championships following the 2016 season. As things stand, you wouldn’t want to bet against him from making it to 4, equaling Michael Schumacher’s record in the process.

Lewis Hamilton gives a thumbs up as he celebrates Mercedes' success at Imola
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola, Italy – Race winner Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes team celebrate winning the constructors championships Pool via Reuters/Miguel Medina

Wolff instead credited no one other than Lewis himself for unlocking an extra level within him.

He said, “What I see or what I realised over the last years is his permanent self-analysis, how to get better, he’s become really good in identifying points of weaknesses and then tackling them.

“And he has progressed over the years as a racing driver in the car and as a personality outside of the car.”

Toto Wolff on what he admires about Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton’s constant desire for success and hunger for perfection is well talked about. Heck, the man has got the stats to prove it too.

But Wolff, as someone who has been there with Hamilton for a very long time, talked about how much he was and continues to be in awe of Lewis.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff during the Emilia Romagna GP press conference
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola, Italy – Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff during a press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

He said, “That is something that you see very rarely with people that are critical enough whilst not beating themselves up in order to progress.

“Many others in Formula 1, or outside of Formula 1, you’re pretty stubborn, you’re not really good at identifying your own shortcomings and therefore you stagnate in your development.

“And it’s a thinking pattern that with him simply doesn’t exist is that is the constant seek for perfection.”

The Mercedes ace is only one good race away from sealing his 7th championship title. Could Turkey be the venue where Hamilton gets the deal done? We’ll find out soon enough.

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