Lewis Hamilton has reaffirmed the pivotal role played by Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, in the ongoing operations of the team, even during his absence from the last two rounds of the world championship.
Wolff’s absence from the Japanese and Qatar Grand Prix was due to his recovery from knee surgery, but he has remained actively involved in the team’s decisions through their remote operations centre.
Speaking to the media in Qatar, Hamilton expressed his admiration for Wolff’s unwavering dedication, stating, “Even though he’s not here in person, and he’s obviously devastated he can’t be here, he’s a part of every single meeting.”
He explained that Wolff is an integral part of the team’s decision-making process, actively participating in discussions through communication channels.
Hamilton emphasised the significance of Wolff’s contributions, both past and present, to Mercedes.
He noted that Wolff’s hard work and dedication were instrumental in positioning the team at its current level of success.
In light of Wolff’s temporary absence, Hamilton conveyed his support and understanding, saying, “He has the right to if he wanted to, but it’s just because he’s recovering.
“I just tell him we’ll be pushing, and I just always tell him don’t worry, you set up a great team, we’ll try and do you proud.”
While dismissing claims of direct intervention by Wolff in strategy calls during the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton did acknowledge that Wolff communicated with his teammate George Russell during the Qatar race.
This communication occurred after a first-lap collision between the two Mercedes drivers, highlighting Wolff’s ongoing involvement, even during his recovery.
Hamilton recently extended his contract with Mercedes, ensuring that he will continue racing for the team for at least two more years.
During his tenure with Mercedes, he has expanded his business interests, and he credits his association with Wolff as a key factor in this aspect of his life.
Hamilton revealed the close and frequent contact he maintains with Wolff, describing their relationship as not only that of team-mates but also good friends.
He emphasised that their conversations span a wide range of topics, from cars to business ventures.
Hamilton attributes their successful partnership to Wolff’s open-minded approach and his support of Hamilton’s individuality.
He stated, “Being open-minded, allowing me to be who I am, together we’ve unlocked so much, we’ve done so much more than I think any other partnership that you’ve seen in this sport on many levels.”