Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton could be the best driver ever to race in Formula 1, and says his driver doesn’t get the appropriate recognition in his home country.
Hamilton secured the 86th pole position of his career at Paul Ricard and duly went on to dominate the race, easing away at the front to win by 18 seconds from team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Speaking after Hamilton took pole, Wolff says the British media don’t celebrate the five-time world champion’s achievements enough, and too often portray his personal life in a negative light.
“In general, in the UK, Lewis is not recognized how he should be recognized,” Wolff said. “One day he will stop his career with multiple records and people will say he was the greatest driver on the planet and we were witnesses on that journey and wasn’t he an interesting personality with all the things he did apart (from F1).
“But for whatever reason, there is this idea of hitting out. And maybe it provides a better headline or gives more clicks or sells more newspapers. But I don’t think it recognizes the opportunity we are part of to see maybe the best driver that has ever existed on an exceptional journey.”
Following Hamilton’s win in a processional race on Sunday, Wolff added that any backlash Mercedes receives through social media for its dominance in F1 is now being used as a motivational tool.
“The trolling that happens in social media has become so bad. People hide behind anonymous, or not even anonymous, accounts and hit out, which after some of these events has been really bad. Canada was pretty bad. To polarize is good, and it can be an emotional and heated discussion.
“But I think it has come to a point where sometimes the heated discussion around the sport is becoming abuse and becoming personal and I don’t think that has a place in sport.
“At first it’s hard to swallow, but it’s come to a point that it’s making us stronger, every hit creates more desire to prove.”
Mercedes has won all eight races so far this season and extended its advantage over Ferrari to 140 points with another one-two in France.