Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions that Lewis Hamilton’s statistics have been inflated by the strength of his machinery, after the Briton equalled Michael Schumacher’s win record.
Hamilton matched Schumacher with win number 91, of which 70 have been for Mercedes, the team he joined from McLaren prior to the 2013 campaign.
No team/driver partnership has scored more victories in the history of Formula 1.
It has led to criticism in some quarters that Hamilton’s achievements are largely down to the equipment at his disposal but Wolff believes such arguments are short-sighted.
“Winning races and winning championships is always in this sport a team exercise but you need to put yourself in a position that you end up in the best car,” said Wolff.
“You can see lots of talents and skilled drivers took wrong decisions, or not well-advised decisions and in that respect it was him who joined Mercedes in 2013.
“It is him that sits in the car and is able to execute on track with the tools that we provide to him but it’s always the two that are part of this.
“We couldn’t achieve the records that we have and he probably couldn’t achieve the records with the right car and full stop.
“I don’t want to allow these voices that say ‘well he drives a Mercedes, it’s obvious that he wins these races’. Well the drivers who say that, they should try and analyse why they haven’t found their way into a Mercedes.”
Wolff added that the 2020-spec Hamilton is unrecognisable from the person who joined Mercedes seven years ago.
“I think that what impresses me the most is as a human being he develops from year to year, the Lewis Hamilton that we see today has nothing to do with the Lewis Hamilton that I met in 2013,” he said.
“And that is most impressive, that somebody who is performing on that level is still capable of getting better every year, getting better as a person and getting better outside of the car and inside of the car, and that is something that is truly inspiring.”