Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton says the only team-mate he ever learnt anything from is Fernando Alonso, and it was mental strength that helped him to beat Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel this season, earning him his fourth world title.
Speaking in an interview with Amanda Davies for CNN’s The Circuit the Brit was extremely candid, explaining that he did not feel he learnt anything from former team-mate, and the man who beat him to the world championship in 2016, Nico Rosberg.
“No. Zero. From all my teammates that I’ve raced with, I don’t generally take much from them.
“I’d say probably the only teammate I’ve ever really learned something from would have been Fernando [Alonso] — it was my first year in F1… After that, I would say I was able to have the experience, so I never felt I was taking anything from another driver.
“I was just always trying to enhance and unlock my own abilities.”
Hamilton went on to speak about his time at Mercedes so far and how he has developed as a driver across those years with the German squad.
The Brit admitted that although he joined Mercedes back in 2013 with exuberance and well-meaning, if he had applied the work ethic he does today back then, he would no doubt be onto his fifth world title by now.
“I think I came to the team with a good energy but my work ethic is so much better today — so I would have applied that at the beginning.
“I probably would have five championships right now, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Losing the championship last year enabled me to be the driver and the man I am today.”
Hamilton also confirmed that there was no reason for people to worry about him extending his contract with Mercedes; he just wants to make sure he gets the best deal possible.
“Nope. Don’t have any doubts – just have to be very, very good at negotiating…”
Having lost out on the title to Rosberg in 2016, in what was a close and fractious battle, Hamilton says he was able to overcome Vettel this season because of his improved mental strength in 2017.
“The mental side of things was key to this year.
“That really is the case for a lot of top athletes competing. It’s the smallest thing, we’re talking about small percentages.
“I think that’s really, for me, been the biggest difference between us.”
The Brit who is a strong personality in the Formula 1 paddock, and a great ambassador for the sport, especially in the US, says he is humbled by the respect he receives from other drivers, and he equally has that respect for his fellow drivers..
“It’s really come to light the respect I have received from certain drivers, and that’s something I really, really appreciate because naturally you want to be respected by your peers…
“I have that respect for other people who I race with. To hear that reflected and reciprocated, that’s a great feeling.”
The full interview with CNN can be seen at this link: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/sports/2017/11/16/lewis-hamilton-four-time-formula-one-f1-champion-fernando-alonso-vettel-mercedes-circuit-spc.cnn