Wolff: ‘Big scars’ made Lewis Hamilton a better racer

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that Sir Lewis Hamilton's strength has reflected onto his Mercedes team.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has praised Sir Lewis Hamilton for overcoming several hardships in his life on his way to Formula 1, and believes that they have shaped the racer he is today.

Hamilton has previously detailed the racist abuse he and his father Antony received at go-kart tracks when the Briton was young, and he launched the Hamilton Commission in 2020 in a bid to increase diversity in motorsport.

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Following findings that only one percent of all employees in Formula 1 are black, Hamilton teamed up with Mercedes’ partner Ignite in a bid to promote diversity in the sport.

“Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry,” Hamilton said last year.

“The findings of The Hamilton Commission have provided us a fantastic base to begin our work, and I am confident that Ignite will result in real, tangible change within motorsport.

“For 15 years, I have remained one of the few Black employees within Formula 1, and I am proud that my work with Mercedes is going to change that for the better,” the seven-time world champion added.

READ: Exclusive: Activists urge Hamilton to ‘get involved in life-saving campaign’

Wolff has praised the way that Hamilton used his talent and passion to overcome the “big scars” he suffered as a result of adversities as a child.

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“As a child he was insulted on the go-kart track, white parents forbade their children to interact with him,” he told the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

“That definitely left big scars on him too. For him, racing was an outlet to show everyone, and it still is,” he said.

The 49-year-old suggests that Hamilton’s strength has also bred toughness within the Mercedes team.

“This puts us in our comfort zone when things get tough, that’s when we function well too. If you come from an emotional Siberia, the rest of the world seems beautiful,” explained the Austrian.

Hamilton was denied his eighth world title in 2021 following a highly controversial Safety Car restart procedure implemented by race director Michael Masi.

This followed multiple contentious moments between the 37-year-old and title rival Max Verstappen throughout the year.

The team did manage to seal their eighth Constructors’ Championship in 2021, however, Wolff remains aggrieved by what happened at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“It was very beautiful. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change anything about the events in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP after being defeated by Max Verstappen.v1

It has been suggested that Hamilton may be deterred from returning in 2022, with Bernie Ecclestone, Mark Webber and Alain Prost all hinting that he may retire.

Meanwhile, several of his competitors, including Verstappen, have expressed a desire for him to stay in Formula 1.

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