‘Remarkable’ Hamilton looks ‘fresh as a daisy’

Date published: October 5 2021 - Jon Wilde

Lewis Hamilton after qualifying at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone July 2021.

Damon Hill thinks Lewis Hamilton has got his work-life balance spot-on, leaving him looking as “fresh as a daisy”.

The seven-time World Champion has plenty going on outside of Formula 1 and his social media accounts portray keen interests in music, fashion and sustainability, in addition to his initiatives in promoting diversity.

That, according to Hill, means Hamilton has the ability to switch off at times from the intensity of a titanic F1 World Championship battle with Max Verstappen and use the breaks in between races to come back refreshed, ready to perform at his optimum level.

It represents a different approach, says the 1996 World Champion, to that of Michael Schumacher, who enjoyed a similarly dominant era to Hamilton.

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“It’s the standard they perform at and the consistency and the ability they have to keep delivering that, over years, is the remarkable thing,” said Hill on the F1 Nation podcast.

“But I think what Lewis has done is he’s created space for himself where he can get away from Formula 1 because if it’s all about Formula 1, you can get burned out – and he doesn’t look burned out.

“To me, he looks like he’s as fresh as a daisy. But there were times when Michael was in tears with the pressure, and any of you who have seen the Michael Schumacher documentary recently, it does reveal the pressures he was under and the responsibility he felt.

“It is draining, but you need to have balance in your life and Lewis has fought hard to give himself – and Mercedes and Toto Wolff have given him – that space.

“They haven’t overworked him, they haven’t used up all his free time. He goes and recharges his batteries, comes back and he’s ready to go again.”

Hill can also vouch for how vital it is to have some downtime, citing how a break had enabled him to freshen up and return as a winner – for the first time since he had famously clinched the crown at Suzuka – in the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix for Jordan.

 

“I think it’s really crucial,” said Hill when asked how useful the time is to switch off as a driver.

“In fact, one of my best performances, I think, was Spa in ’98 and it’s no coincidence it happened just after the summer holidays.

“I’d been out splashing about in Spain on a WaveRunner, having fun and just came back refreshed, and my driving was much better for some reason.

“I jumped in the car and it was like I was enjoying what I was doing, and I think that’s really important. You’ve got to enjoy it, you’ve got to look forward to it and maybe removing yourself from it sometimes increases your desire to get back in and do it again.”

 

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