Lewis Hamilton’s historic Formula 1 success has been aided by “reinventing himself” as a driver and he should continue aiming for records, the Englishman’s father Anthony has told Sky Sports.
Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s famed tally of 91 F1 victories at Sunday’s Eifel GP – etching his name into the sport’s record books after a remarkable rise from a Stevenage-born karter to a racing legend.
“I’ve been thinking back on it this morning. It’s been 30 years that we’ve been on the road to motorsport success,” a proud Anthony Hamilton, who funded and managed Lewis’ early career, told Sky Sports News on Monday.
“Lewis’ early formative years were probably the most influential and the most important to his achievements today.
“If you look at the way Lewis is racing now, certainly in the last two or three years he has completely reinvented the way he has approached his racing and drives.”
Anthony Hamilton on Lewis’ F1 success
“To be honest, nothing has changed other than Lewis is older, I’m older, and he’s got a huge list of successes. But we treat every day and every race as if it was our first race, and it’s so exciting.
“I think that’s part of the reason why he’s still achieving greatness is because he’s enjoying every day that he can race.”
Hamilton’s performance at the Nurburgring was typically calm and, more importantly, error-free after pole-sitter and main title rival Valtteri Bottas made a mistake before retiring with an issue.
“I think that’s all part of experience certainly from karting, but as you get older and wiser and more experienced, you start to reinvent yourself,” said Anthony of his son’s progression to a driver who barely puts a wheel off line.
“If you look at the way Lewis is racing now, certainly in the last two or three years he has completely reinvented the way he has approached his racing and drives.
“There’s no accounting clearly for talent, but being able to develop control of the tyres, manage the race… it takes a huge amount of skill and I must say, patience.”
Hamilton Snr on record push, and ‘proud’ of off-track work
Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season, although he is expected to thrash out a new deal to remain in F1. Sixty-nine points clear of Bottas, he is closing in on another of Schumacher’s records – a seventh crown – while he could certainly push on for over 100 race victories.
“As I keep saying to him, you’re a long time retired in this sport – continue for as long as you enjoy doing it,” said Anthony Hamilton. “When you get to that stage where you’re no longer having fun then you should stop doing it.
“But I know Lewis absolutely adores the sport, he loves winning, he loves competing, and loves the competition. Most of all he loves standing up on the podium hearing the national anthem played for him.”
Hamilton Snr also praised Lewis’ off-track work this year. The six-time world champion has been a vocal campaigner for equality while, as the only black driver in F1, has also been pushing for more diversity in the sport he loves.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” added Anthony. “It’s something we should have done many many years ago but opportunities were not there.
“Now the opportunity presents itself for people to have a voice. I think that’s what’s needed in the sport, and sport worldwide. I’m extremely proud of him and long may it continue.”
Schumacher family, Max, Ricciardo lead Hamilton tributes
The Schumacher Family on @LewisHamilton winning his 91st GP, equalling Michael’s record: Big congrats, an impressive achievement of a great driver. We cannot deny we would have loved for Michael to hold those records, but as he always used to say: records are there to be broken. pic.twitter.com/xDRhVp5HVf
Max Verstappen: “It’s an incredible achievement because I think, like Lewis already said, 91 wins, everyone thought that was almost impossible to reach, right? To be there now, himself, it’s incredible and very impressive.
“And I’m pretty sure there will be some more victories coming his way – and probably also Championships. So, yep, just very impressive. And hard to beat.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “His career now has been well over a decade in the sport and to keep coming back and to show that level of consistency at the front. That’s also not easy. I think us up here I think we understand that. You can have a package and a car to do it, but it’s doing it every weekend when the lights go out. It’s easier said than done. Certainly big respect.”
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