Despite securing a seventh World Championship Lewis Hamilton still looks “hungry as a lion” according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
The rain fell heavily again before the start of the race in Istanbul, but as drivers literally crawled off the line Hamilton was able to find enough traction to make it up to P3, but Mercedes’ struggles for grip on the full wets soon returned as both Red Bulls along with Sebastian Vettel made their way through.
But as the track very slowly dried and moved into intermediate territory Hamilton came into his own, pitting on Lap 9 he would wear his inters down to slicks, bulldozing his way into P1 by passing Racing Point’s Sergio Perez on Lap 37 to take a lead which he never relinquished, winning the race over the Mexican driver by 31.6 seconds.
With another wet-weather masterclass, Hamilton has now tied Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships.
“It shows how he’s capable of coping with the situation that went against him at the beginning,” Wolff told Sky F1.
“He was the only one who kept it on the road, that is the difference today.”
Both Hamilton and Wolff are out of contract though at the end of 2020 , and the Austrian said he is a factor in Hamilton’s decision on whether or not to stay with Mercedes and vice versa.
“I think that we are both a factor of each other,” Wolff explained.
“There is such a big structure behind me from the team, that if I were to go they would still be winning.
“And whether that is something that I will also see as my obligation in the future, to make sure that the team is winning, then I will set the foundations for that.
“But that moment has not yet come.”
How does it feel to be right in the middle of our World Championship celebrations?
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Hamilton has raced full-time in Formula 1 since 2007, so after 14 seasons and seven World Championships it would be understandable if his motivation started to drop a little.
But Wolff said Hamilton right now is the most motivated he has ever been, saying the Briton was as “hungry as a lion” in the Turkish GP.
“Yes, look at what has happened today, he was hungry as a lion,” said Wolff.
“Driving a tyre on slicks at the end with a risk of rain, I don’t see any of the motivation dropping.”
Mercedes have now secured the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for the past seven seasons in a row, so where does 2020 rank among those years of dominance for the Silver Arrows?
“This year was very very special because it was so difficult not only for us but for everybody in the world,” Wolff explained.
“And I hope we were able to entertain the people and coming out on top in such a year, after such a tough race, just feels exceptional.”