Toto Wolff admits what continues to amaze him about Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November

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Lewis Hamilton’s ‘astonishing’ powers of recovery continue to stagger his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. The demands on F1 drivers are greater than ever with a record 23-race caldendar in 2023 and seven-time world champion Hamilton has been described as a ‘real phenomenon’ for his ability to recuperate, despite jetting off around the world for various commitments between races.

Hamilton, 38, has a jet-setting lifestyle and has spent his time off before the new season globetrotting, fitting in a birthday trip to Antarctica as he put a miserable winless 2022 campaign behind him. 

But the legendary Brit also clocks up the air miles between grands prix and often travels the world despite such short recovery times between races. And Mercedes team principal Wolff recalls how he was baffled by his driver’s freshness on race weekend when the pair were first introduced.

“When we met, I had the same kind of feeling – how is that possible?” Wolff told GPFans. And Wolff also remembered how Hamilton clocked in one of the finest qualifying laps in recent F1 history just after a long travel excursion. 

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Hamilton snatched pole from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2018 with a flawless lap around the iconic Marina Bay street circuit.

And the late Niki Lauda was left stunned by his speed just days after he had been jetting across the world – with Hamilton later describing the performance as “definitely one of the best laps of my career.”

“I remember Niki [Lauda] saying to me in Singapore, before he put in this astonishing performance, Lewis had basically travelled around the world,” Wolff said.

“He’d been in Shanghai to launch his fashion collection, went to Los Angeles, went to New York, back to London, and then to Singapore, and Niki said ‘How can you allow that?’, and I said ‘Let’s wait and see’.”

Wolff continues to be impressed by Hamilton’s extremely useful knack of recovering during flights, which allows him to still perform to the highest level in the crucial moments on race day. “He is great because whenever we fly together, he steps on the plane and sleeps, whether it’s day or night,” he added.

“Whatever the situation, he is very good at regenerating. He’s a real phenomenon. But we are all different in terms of how we relax, how we regenerate when travelling, in terms of getting different impulses from different countries, from different people in roles or jobs.

“That’s something that helps him to regenerate, while another person needs to be at home and lie on the sofa, so we are all different in that respect.”

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