Toto Wolff reveals incredible ‘moment’ he and Lewis Hamilton proved doubters wrong

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff celebrate victory. Sao Paulo November 2021.

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff punch the air and celebrate victory with the winner's trophy. Sao Paulo November 2021.

Toto Wolff recalled a time one lap stopped any criticism of the way Lewis Hamilton behaved during his early days at Mercedes.

Following his move from McLaren to the Silver Arrows, Hamilton seemed to step out of his shell a bit more and began attending events away from the F1 world, most notably in the fashion industry.

It is a part of his personality that he has become known for with the seven-time World Champion attending the 2022 Met Gala.

That trip across the Atlantic came during Mercedes’ dismal start to the 2022 season and while other team principals may look down on their driver doing extracurricular activities, Wolff has never been of that mindset.

Speaking to former England cricketer Nasser Hussain for Sky Sports’ Secrets of Success documentary, Wolff recalled a moment early on in their partnership when Hamilton silenced his critics.

“Lewis is a friend of mine and his drive to be creative and successful in the fashion industry is something I permitted from the beginning,” Wolff said.

“Because we have that pact, he performs. On that particular week I remember we were sitting with the engineers and he was FaceTiming me. He was saying: ‘Can you believe that I’m on the catwalk in Shanghai launching my own collection? Thank you for letting me do this’.

“I saw the happiness in his face and I knew that when he’s going to come to Singapore he’s going to be on it because he’s in a good space. He came late and then I had a press conference and all the journalists were all over me saying it’s not professional to miss the first meetings. I just smiled.

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“In qualifying he put in a lap that was unseen. On Sunday he took the lead and disappeared into the distance and was never seen. That is the moment when people stop telling me and telling him what to do.”

The two friends are currently engaged in business negotiations with the matter of Hamilton’s contract renewal on the table. As it stands, his Mercedes deal ends in 2023 but both parties have expressed an interest for it to continue.

Hamilton is the longest-serving driver with one team on the grid and is joint level with Michael Schumahcer for the most time spent at single constructor with the German having spent 11 years at Ferrari.