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Lewis Hamilton

Wolff reveals how Hamilton has changed since karting

Susie Wolff says Lewis Hamilton hasn't changed as a person during his racing career, revealing that he's the same person he was during his karting days.

Hamilton Bahrain
To news overview © Pirelli

Former racing driver Susie Wolff has revealed that Lewis Hamilton is still the same person he was over two decades ago, during his karting career.

Wolff, formerly Stoddart prior to her marriage to now-Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, raced against Hamilton during their karting days, and has remained in close contact with the seven-time World Champion.

The former Williams test driver, who retired from driving in 2015 and now has a burgeoning career as Venturi team boss in Formula E, spoke about her admiration of Hamilton when she appeared on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

"Lewis is the same person he's always been"

"He absolutely is," Wolff said, when asked by host Tom Clarkson whether Hamilton is the same person he was 20 years ago, before the trappings and glamour of a stellar Formula 1 career.

"I have no reservations in saying that. Just two days ago, we were reminiscing about something that had happened in the karting days that we had remembered, and if I haven't seen him for a while, the first thing he does is ask me how my parents, John and Sally, are – and we reminisce a lot.

"I watched some of the races together with Anthony, his dad, and he's absolutely the same.

"I just have so much admiration and respect for Lewis, what he's achieved, how he manages his life to be the best possible racing driver that he can be."

Hamilton "has the guts to be different"

With Hamilton having to deal with the huge pressure of a titanic title battle in late 2021, as well as the sheer disappointment and shock at how the title decider in Abu Dhabi played out, Wolff said she takes inspiration from how resilient he can be.

"For me, what is incredible to watch is just how deep he can dig in moments of pressure," she said.

"I didn't have that, to that extent, as a racing driver, but he has an incredible ability in the car, and out of the car.

"I'm inspired by Lewis as a racing driver, but also as a human being. Obviously, I see that some of the negative comments around what he does, and how vocal he is in different areas, but you know what? It takes guts to be different.

"I know that to a lesser extent, because I was different in the paddock, and it's easy to be the same as everyone else. It's easy just to rock up, race, leave and not worry.

"But he has the guts to be different, to stand up and to use his platform for other causes, and I think that's got to be commended. Because the easier route is to do nothing.

"I think where he's at now, and the determination he has, and his ability off track to do what he does and to move on – it takes a lot of strength."

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