Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin has suggested that Lewis Hamilton’s best asset is his tendency to bounce back from defeat stronger than many other drivers.
Hamilton has sustained an unprecedented level of success throughout the V6 turbo-hybrid engine era, adding six championships to the one he achieved with McLaren in 2008 to match Michael Schumacher’s previous record of seven Formula 1 world titles.
The Brit also surpassed the legendary German’s victory tally in his record-equalling 2020 campaign, elevating the current record tally past the 100-win mark the following season.
However, despite all the F1 records that have fallen his way, Shovlin believes Hamilton’s greatest attribute is rather his ability to respond admirably when being on the receiving end of a defeat better than most.
“You can’t ask Lewis to be happy when he’s lost a race; that’s not how he works, but he loses really well if you want someone to come back and win the next one,” Shovlin was quoted as saying in the DailyMail after speaking to the BBC.
“He’s actually better at losing than most I’ve seen because of how diligently he goes through the block of work of understanding what he needs to be better, where did he miss the opportunities.
“He doesn’t enjoy it, but it’s about the result at the next race, not whether he’s smiling or giving a nice interview.”
Furthermore, Shovlin has also appreciated Hamilton’s determination behind the scenes to continuously hone his craft even in the latter stages of his career.
The Mercedes trackside chief regards that as one of the primary reasons for the seven-time champion regularly being near his best and a quality that makes it increasingly harder for the opposition to beat him.
“Lewis has natural talent in abundance, but his work ethic and ability to continually develop and improve means that, for drivers trying to beat him, he’s a bit of a moving target,” he continued.
“The thing with Lewis now is his bad days are so few and far between and even on his bad days he’s as good as the others.
“That’s what’s brought him to the level he is. It’s the consistency. And when he’s at his best, the level is just phenomenal.”
Hamilton’s resolve was certainly tested several times during a trying 2022 campaign as Mercedes struggled to get on top of the new technical regulations in the early stages.
In a quest to help the engineers make a breakthrough with the troubled W13 package, Hamilton was often seen conducting experimental set-ups on his car. Often that would come to the detriment of his own personal performance, with Hamilton exiting the first part of qualifying for the first time on sheer speed since 2009 in Saudi Arabia.
Eventually his relentless pursuit would yield an element of reward as the Silver Arrows’ barren run would come to an end at the penultimate round in Brazil; unfortunately for Hamilton, it would be team-mate George Russell who claimed the top spot to leave the senior Brit winless for the first time over a season in his F1 career.
Time will tell whether Hamilton’s work will enable Mercedes to recover to a similar position it has been used to and equip the record win holder with the machinery to challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull in a repeat of their 2021 titanic title duel.
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