Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes the “complications” in Lewis Hamilton’s personal life while at McLaren have disappeared during his six-year tenure in the team.
The Briton currently heads the Formula 1 world championship at the halfway point in the 2019 season, with his eight victories from 12 races putting him on course to clinch a sixth drivers’ title.
Hamilton’s success has rocketed since joining the Silver Arrows in 2013, winning four championships, as well as guiding Mercedes to five successive constructors’ titles in the V6 turbo-charged hybrid era.
Although Hamilton has continued to grow in stature in light of his on-track achievements, Wolff praised his driver’s development out of the car over his period with the team.
“He’s a integral part of the team and has developed as a racing driver – but even more spectacularly as a human being,” said Wolff in an interview with Formula 1.
“When he joined from McLaren it was, for me, like a raw diamond in a sense. You could see complications in his life, and maybe a lack of stability or understanding of what was needed.
“All that has disappeared through the Mercedes years. Every year, he became a better Lewis and, knock on wood, in the last two or three years, we’ve barely seen any mistakes.
“And if they happen, he was the first one to admit them, and that has contributed to our culture of being brutally honest with each other.”
Hamilton has been subjected to criticism for his lifestyle away from F1, with his interests in fashion and music leading to a busy schedule around his racing commitments.
Wolff, however, feels pursuing new passions away from the sport has aided Hamilton’s performances in a positive manner.
“I think we need to stop putting people in boxes and say this is how a racing driver has to be,” Wolff said.
“Simply make the effort to try and understand the human behind the helmet and try to carve out the framework that makes that person the best him, or the best her, and make them perform at the very top.
“I believe that Lewis has other interests, be it music or fashion, and it takes his mind off between races. Having a good time is something that I think is very positive and very important for his performance on the racing track.
“We are very open with each other on what we do. We Facetime, we send videos. I feel in a very good place with him.”