Former Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe says that Lewis Hamilton was motivated after losing the title battle in 2016 to Nico Rosberg. The two were entangled in a fierce rivalry for three years before Rosberg called it a day on his career after winning his championship.
Hamilton has won the two following championship fights against Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Last Sunday, the Briton was crowned a five-time world champion, joining the ranks of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
"I think he’s driven two terrific seasons. Two of his strongest seasons of all these last two years. The 2016 year was one he didn’t win and he probably believes he could have won it so that was a good motivation for him to understand how to strengthen his game. And we’ve seen that the last two years.”
He continued: "He’s become a very difficult driver to beat. We’ve seen Sebastian has struggled to beat him this year. There have been losses in all sorts of different area but even just as a driver matching I think Lewis has outclassed Sebastian.
“That’s been one of the mismatches, there have been other mismatches in terms of the teamwork. One team has performed better than the other team top to bottom. But on top of it all is Lewis who’s just a phenomenal driver."
And Lowe now believes he is forever written into the record books: "I think he will be seen to be one of the greatest in the sport in due course. It’s difficult to compare across eras but he’s got to end up on your fingers of one hand of the best drivers in that category, the top five.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing