Lewis Hamilton: Key Mercedes figure explains how 'mercenary' superstar has improved

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Mercedes' Chief Strategist James Vowles has explained how Lewis Hamilton has become more of a team-player as he has matured as a driver in Formula 1, having once been more of a 'mercenary.'

Hamilton has become one of the all-time greats in the sport's illustrious history in recent years as part of one of the most dominant teams the grid has ever witnessed.

He joined Mercedes in 2013 having won just the one title back in 2008 with McLaren, with him deciding he needed to make the switch in order to try and achieve the gongs and records his talent deserved.

Certainly, it was a bold move at the time but one that has absolutely paid off with the Mercedes garage knocking out title after title in the turbo-hybrid era.

That is not to say that things haven't needed to be worked on and improved throughout, though, and that includes in terms of Hamilton's team-work.

Speaking to the Beyond the Grid podcast, Vowles explained how the 7-time World Champion has become far better aware of the need to be a team-player in order to achieve individual accolades in the sport, with him labelling Hamilton now as 'the greatest sportsman that exists.'

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He said:

"He’s a very different character to the character that joined us. When he joined us he was a mercenary, he was here for himself to win races.

"That desire to win hasn’t disappeared, but what he’s realised is you do it with a team and as a part of a team and you become the greatest sportsman that exists as the result of it.

"One individual can’t do it by himself." 

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The podcast itself had four guests on it this week, with Vowles joined by Simon Cole, Andrew Shovlin and Ron Meadows as a quartet that have been a part of the Mercedes team in its different guises since the BAR days in the late-90s.

It's a fascinating listen as they discuss things from BAR to Brawn GP and Button, fiascos with Honda and Michael Schumacher's influence on Mercedes' success today as well as Nico Rosberg's retirement and, of course, the unbelivable success of Lewis Hamilton.

You can catch the full episode via this link.

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