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Lewis Hamilton says he has now realized the key impact that Formula 1 champions like Michael Schumacher have been pushing their teams forward since their arrival at Mercedes.
Hamilton has just equaled Schumacher’s record of seven world titles and now also holds the records for most wins and most pole positions in F1 history.
But while his latest triumph still hasn’t silenced those who suggest he wins just because he has the best car, Hamilton says even he didn’t fully realize how big a role drivers must play in car development before joining his current team as Schumacher's replacement.
Hamilton says his eyes have opened up in the meantime about what role his predecessor Schumacher played in the team, and he says it’s something they don’t appreciate outside of the sport.
“When it comes to helping with car development, it’s something I think drivers - and as I get closer to where Michael was - I never fully understood. It's hard for some to start in F1, it's hard for young drivers to fully understand what Michael was doing, what I'm doing on this team. "- LEWIS HAMILTON
“They’ll just see that we have a good car, just see that Michael had a good car, but I’m here now, I understand what Michael was doing with the team, or maybe what he could have done with this team. I'm sure it's similar to what I had to do. "
“You know, you have to be the helm. You have this powerful group of intelligent, passionate people and of course you have a team leader who is the main helm. But when it comes to development, how to get a car to go further and work with driver characteristics is my job and I would say I’m definitely very, very proud of that. Unfortunately, people don't see it all in the background. "
In a broad interview referring to his 2020 championship, Hamilton said this season felt like a step above the previous one.
“It definitely seems like the most comprehensive highest level I’ve been to, yes. It’s a natural progression, of course. You can't always get it right. ”- LEWIS HAMILTON
“This year we had more time to focus on areas of weakness and I would say that last year the races were strong, the qualifiers were not so great and I entered this season trying to make sure I keep my strengths but work on weaknesses. By improving my qualifications I managed to improve the races as well, which was a bit of a surprise. I didn't expect that. "
But Hamilton still thinks there is room for further improvement in the future, as he reckons it is easiest to simply let his standards fall.
“For any athlete who is at the peak of his form, you could always say that it will be difficult to raise the bar. It is easiest to let it slip. But none of this is new to me. ”- LEWIS HAMILTON
“I know what I need to do to get myself in the right space both in my head and physically in the right place. I don’t actually see a problem with maintaining consistency, but these are much smaller steps in terms of raising the bar. I don’t really know if it could be better. For example, the races are super strong. But there are still elements that could be better. But not everything is easy to improve. ”
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