Toto Wolff feels that Lewis Hamilton’s presence within the Mercedes team bears similarities to Michael Schumacher’s role at the squad over a decade ago.
Hamilton will enter into his 11th season with the Silver Arrows in 2023, having joined back in 2013 to replace the retiring Schumacher, who had made a comeback to F1 with the team in 2010.
While Schumacher was unable to win a race during his spell with the outfit, figures at Mercedes have spoken of his positive influence in the three years he spent there.
As such, Wolff sees similarities between the German’s role within the team and Hamilton’s current position.
Hamilton part of management, says Wolff
When asked on the Beyond The Grid podcast if he views Hamilton as a part of the Mercedes management by this point, Wolff explained: “I would say yes.
“Obviously, there is his involvement in developing the car, and his presence in the factory. But I think on the race weekends, he has become such a senior figure, maybe a little bit like Michael was back in the day.
“Or think about Tom Brady, in football teams, that you become more than just the player or just the driver, but you are emotionally part of the team.
“He is definitely not like – we called them in the past – a contractor, drivers [who] come, get paid and they leave for the next occasion.
“He’s been with the team now 10 years. He’s a team member.”
Wolff praises Hamilton’s ‘admirable’ approach
The 2022 campaign proved statistically to be Hamilton’s toughest yet, with it marking the first time that the Briton has completed a season without a race win.
Wolff admits that he is full of admiration for how Hamilton has coped with the challenges of the year.
“[It has been] extremely tough [for him], because we have given him a tool that wasn’t capable of winning,” the team boss said.
“And on top of that, the drivers had a car that was unpredictable, unstable, good at times, not good at others. [It was] not really something you can work with and develop.
“But as a personality, how he has gone through the season is really admirable. There were times when the team fell down, because of the nonperformance, in this way.
“He picked the people up and motivated them, and that is truly management and personality traits that I have not seen with a professional sportsman before.”