Sir Lewis Hamilton told Mercedes he was “not weird” when he first joined – he is simply the way he is, and they gave him the space to grow.
Hamilton first arrived on the Formula 1 grid in 2007 and made an instant impact with McLaren, falling only a point short of becoming World Champion in his rookie season.
He achieved that goal the following season, but after being unable to repeat the accomplishment with McLaren, Hamilton made a surprise switch to Mercedes for 2013.
That proved to be a year when the foundations were laid for unprecedented dominance from Hamilton and Mercedes as in 2014, the German outfit embarked on a run of seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in a row.
Hamilton became a seven-time World Champion in 2020 and now has ambitions of an eighth.
And he feels that key to this future success was him telling Mercedes he was not a “weird” person upon joining the team, and that he wanted to grow with them.
“It’s a relationship like no previous relationship,” Hamilton told Gazzetta Dello Sport.
“When I joined the team I immediately said ‘I am the way I am, I’m not weird but I am just the way I am. I’m happy with who I am and besides I want to win championships for you, I want to grow’.
“They gave me the space to grow and that’s why I ended up with the best team in Formula 1 to be able to do that.”
Hamilton is one of the most unique personalities both on and off the track, and his lifestyle certainly reflects that.
He openly promotes that he is a vegan, while in recent years Hamilton has made great strides in raising awareness of diversity both in Formula 1 and in everyday life.
Mercedes have embraced this, and Hamilton feels that has brought only positives to the team.
“My lifestyle has also not changed anything. We have won a lot, we are the strongest team, full of sponsors, we have been followed the most on social media and everything stems from a fundamental part of the co-operation,” he explained.
“It’s looking from above at the best solution, never alone and always different, trying out roads. Success is right under your nose but it comes from very far away.”