Hu­mil­ity is the key to suc­cess for boss Wolff

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Sport - PHILIP DUN­CAN at In­ter­la­gos

LEWIS Hamil­ton’s Mer­cedes boss Toto Wolff in­sists he is not mo­tor rac­ing’s “Spe­cial One”, de­spite be­ing on the verge of lead­ing his team to an­other world ti­tle.

Af­ter Hamil­ton, 33, wrapped up the in­di­vid­ual hon­ours at the last round in Mex­ico a fort­night ago, Mer­cedes will be­come only the sec­ond team in F1 his­tory to win five con­sec­u­tive con­struc­tors’ ti­tles – if Fer­rari fail to outscore them by 13 points at to­mor­row’s penul­ti­mate round of the sea­son in Brazil.

As team prin­ci­pal, Wolff, 46, has been a per­ma­nent fix­ture in Mer­cedes’ al­most un­prece­dented run of suc­cess, while Hamil­ton has also flour­ished un­der the Aus­trian’s re­laxed style of lead­er­ship. In their pomp, McLaren and Red Bull both won four team ti­tles on the trot, but only the com­bi­na­tion of Michael Schu­macher and his Fer­rari boss Jean Todt claim­ing six on the spin will have won more in a row than the Sil­ver Ar­rows.

Mer­cedes have not al­ways pos­sessed the fastest ma­chin­ery this year, but, when un­der pres­sure, have cracked fewer times than their ri­vals.

Quite rightly, Hamil­ton, in prob­a­bly his finest cam­paign, has taken the plau­dits, but does Wolff feel he is wor­thy of the same ac­claim? “The down­fall of any leader in a sport’s team is when he gets car­ried away with his own ego,” Wolff said.

“You have seen in foot­ball that if you start to think you are the ‘Spe­cial One’, or that you are bet­ter than the oth­ers, that is the mo­ment when you will be beaten. Hu­mil­ity is a su­per­im­por­tant fac­tor in all of our lives, and I try to re­mind my­self ev­ery that evening, just calm down.”

Un­like the heavy con­straints placed on Hamil­ton at McLaren, Wolff has af­forded his star driver free reign. And al­though he re­vealed the path has not al­ways been smooth, es­pe­cially at the start, he be­lieves his de­ci­sion has been vin­di­cated.

Wolff pointed to Septem­ber’s Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, a sea­son- defin­ing race, where Hamil­ton pro­duced what he de­scribed as a “magic” lap in qual­i­fy­ing to take pole and the win af­ter fly­ing 25,000 miles around the globe to launch his Tommy Hil­figer fash­ion col­lec­tion.

“At the start it was very dif­fi­cult,” Wolff added. “Some of my mar­ket­ing col­leagues couldn’t com­pre­hend that Lewis was be­ing pho­tographed with his Fer­rari in Los An­ge­les, or that he was wear­ing dif­fer­ent brands to ones that spon­sored Mer­cedes.

“For me, it al­ways came down to the per­for­mance level on track, and as long as he did that, he can lead the life he wants to live. Some drivers are into med­i­ta­tion, but Lewis fol­lows his hob­bies to take his mind off rac­ing, which re­leases the stress.”

Mark Thomp­son/ Getty Images

Mer­cedes boss Toto Wolff, cen­tre, with driversLewis Hamil­ton, left, and Valt­teri Bot­tas

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