Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles recalled what Lewis Hamilton was like when he first joined the team and how over the years he has become another character who doesn’t think only of himself and his personal records.
Hamilton joined Mercedes after six years spent at McLaren where he became world champion in 2008 and finished as runner-up in his 2007 debut season with Fernando Alonso as a teammate. The Briton has won at least one pole position and one win in every Formula 1 season, and three-time world champion Niki Lauda has played a key role in persuading Hamilton to move to Mercedes which at the time had a single win in three seasons.
Hamilton signed for Mercedes in the fall of 2012, he had one win and five pole positions in the first season of 2013, and from 2014 until today he has won all but one championship title when in 2016 Rosberg became the champion Vowles recalled Hamilton when he first came to Mercedes and says he was initially just a ‘mercenary’ who came to win races for himself.
“He’s a completely different character today than when he came on the team,” Vowles told the Beyond The Grid podcast. "When he came he was a mercenary." "He had this strong desire to win every race, it was seen in his driving style.
He was pushing and couldn't stop, ”added Andrew Shovlin, chief track operations engineer. "I think he's calculating a lot more today." “From the first lap of the first race, he has been thinking about the championship.
He pays a lot more attention to the car and tires, but he hasn’t gotten better at losing races! It's in his nature. "
Vowles agrees with his colleague and says Hamilton has become very calculated overtime when it comes to access to the weekend and the entire championship.
"That desire for victory has not disappeared. But now he realizes that this is being achieved as part of the team, ”said Vowles. "That's how he becomes the greatest athlete in the world. An individual cannot do this alone.
” "His approach to the weekend and way of thinking in the car has become very calculated, clean, and flawless." “When someone asks you about Lewis’ mistakes, you often have to remember a few years back when those incidents happened.
His goal is perfection. ” “It’s a difficult goal, but he’s trying to achieve it,” Shovlin added.