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Wolff: Hamilton won't be acknowledged until he retires

  • Published on 08 Feb 2019 09:35
  • comments 12
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton won't be fully appreciated until he takes the decision to retire from the sport. Hamilton took his fifth world championship last year, his fourth with Mercedes.

The Briton is Formula 1's most successful qualifier of all time and is closing in on the records set by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. In 2019, Hamilton can mathematically beat the German's win record - but will have to take victory at 18 of the 21 races to do so.

"We’re only going to realise when he retires one day,” Wolff told the Middle East newspaper The National. “We tend to never acknowledge somebody’s great performance while it happens.

“We are always full of the types of people who retire or die. But they are never saying ‘This guy is really unbelievable, we’re alive to witness an exceptional performer’. I think we should recognise that while we are still racing.”

Schumacher's current win record sits at 93 victories. Last year, Hamilton extended his contract with Mercedes that keeps him at the team until at least the end of the 2020 season. The Silver Arrows will launch its new car on February 13th.

Replies (12)

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  • blade

    Posts: 341

    I believe he will go on to take the overall win record and match, but not beat, Schumacher's titles tally of 7. By then he will be easily the oldest on the grid and his powers must surely be starting to wane!! He will be knighted if he wins again this season in January 2020 but he won't be thinking about that - I can't imagine he won't be totally focussed, like never before, on eclipsing his rivals this term.

    • + 0
    • Feb 8 2019 - 09:48
  • I think his achievements would be acknowledged a whole lot more if he had a competitive teammate and not purely a #2 to let him past when needed. Put Ricciardo, Alonso, Verstappen or Vettel in the other Merc and then if Lewis wins, yes we'll know how good he is.

    but until then, he's just collecting wins/titles in the most dominating F1 car of all time with a teammate who is purely a #2 ..many of the drivers on the grid would win titles with that advantage..

    • + 2
    • Feb 8 2019 - 12:04
    • I see your point but, by that same criteria you also rubbish Schumacher, who never had a competitive teammate during a championship year. The only truly competitive teammate he had trashed him. Schumacher also won championships in a car that was at least as dominant as the Mercedes was. I rate Schumacher more for the first three championships than the remaining 4.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2019 - 15:48
    • blade

      Posts: 341

      No strictly true - he raced against Jenson Button and also Fernando Alonso, think he did quite well against both didn't he? The last time we saw out and out top drivers in the same team I think was Senna/Prost - I think the teams are cautious over that approach these days....

      • + 1
      • Feb 8 2019 - 15:55
    • @Blade of course. Most people know that. The problem is that Lewis' annoying personality off-track causes some fans to make disingenuous judgements about his outstanding performance on track. But again as Toto says, this will be acknowledge in the future. Not while he's racing against the people that will deliver the praise in future years.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2019 - 17:37
    • blade

      Posts: 341

      AJPP - My wife is totally in this camp and she despises his 'different' fashion style and hanging around with A/B/C celebs - most of that totally unconnected to racing. I too hate all that sideshow, but, and this is the thing - it work for him. Ultimately I end up defending him as his record just cannot be challenged. Think further, if he can do all this and still beat the opposition hands down every year, how good must he be?? His team mates haven't been able to beat all-comers through the years in the dame machinery - it's a pretty compelling set of facts.

      • + 0
      • Feb 9 2019 - 10:24
  • As I've said before, I recognize he is a good driver, but I do however think many drivers could've done what he did in the same car. Schumi not having a competitive team mate is valid arguments. He did however have to fight against Häkkinen several times, a driver with great skill. And Hammy were generally speaking pretty even with Rosberg, which, mind could mean we've underestimated Rosberg. I think this year will be the closest to a top field stacked with talent. I expect an in-team fight between Leclerc and Vettel, with Vettel's experience winning out, and then the two Ferraris vs Hammy and his minion, and Red Bull will stay P3, sniping at the top two whenever they can. Gee, this will be exciting.

    • + 1
    • Feb 8 2019 - 16:17
    • f1ski

      Posts: 726

      Calle i couldn't agree more. I am not a fan. He is fast he can adapt to a car his glaring weakness is he cannot be racing at the limit and manage his car to save the tires. only in todays era where they are never all out is he able to save the tires. he is aggressive and not afraid to get past. His glaring weakness his mental emotional strength he has developed to where he is the strongest. He has done what many can't do improve year after year. Vettel, Ricciardo Verstappen Alonso Hulkenburg and possibly perez all could have won in the MB.
      MB dominance is the tip of the iceberg of whats wrong with F1. Lower teams aren't allowed to devlop their packages even if they could afford it

      • + 1
      • Feb 8 2019 - 16:52
    • I don't necessarily think that is his weakness, as much as his consistency. Hammy can be really fast, but he is really moody, and when things don't go his way, he'll stagger, and earlier pressure went to him very easily. Ironically, the issues Vettel had last year are very Hammyesque in nature. But I think there are good reasons for why he didn't want a competitive team mate. Look at what Rosberg did, and imagine the likes of Ricciardo in that seat. He'd be lunging all day long, always with that grin on his face... Always that grin... That grin... *cuts to a Slender-cut off with Ricciardo's grin*

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2019 - 18:23
    • blade

      Posts: 341

      When racers openly acknowledge him the best of his generation, that says it all. Forget the media, the biased team overtures - when Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell talk this way it's pretty much enough said. He is blisteringly fast, in the top team, paid the most money, and is able to stretch Mercedes' brand like no-other driver (except I think Verstappen in a couple of years time). He doesn't make mistakes, he's mentally tough as old boots (not so much in the past!) and he can carry the weight of expectation of a massive support team on his shoulders. He does all this whilst indulging in a lifestyle that others couldn't comprehend, or manage - seriously guys, how strong is that?

      • + 0
      • Feb 9 2019 - 10:33
  • xoya

    Posts: 582

    I acknowledge him, even though I don't like him.
    His persona leaves a lot to be desired but his racecraft is something you can't take away from him. He is fast as hell, ove one lap especially.

    • + 0
    • Feb 9 2019 - 02:53
  • jj284b

    Posts: 22

    kinda doubt that.. his post F1 DJ career wont be anything special...

    • + 0
    • Feb 9 2019 - 10:12

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