Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff holds the belief that Lewis Hamilton’s exceptional quality lies in his willingness to acknowledge his mistakes.
During the recent Italian Grand Prix, in the latter stages of the race, Hamilton had a collision with McLaren’s rising star, Oscar Piastri, while they were battling for seventh place at the Della Roggia chicane.
This incident necessitated Piastri to pit for a replacement front wing, and Hamilton received a five-second penalty from the race stewards for his role in the collision with the McLaren newcomer.
Hamilton promptly extended his apologies to Piastri and openly acknowledged his error, a trait of candour and honesty that earned accolades from Wolff.
Although Hamilton is renowned for his remarkable on-track prowess and unwavering consistency, what truly distinguishes him in Wolff’s eyes is his readiness to acknowledge his errors, regardless of how seldom they may happen.
“He’s very sportsmanlike with these things, and he is the only one that I see out there admitting and saying: ‘I got this wrong’,” Wolff said at Monza.
“We just had a chat and [he said] he didn’t see him on the right and: ‘It goes on me.’
“I think that kind of sportsmanship is what you need to admire with him, as pretty much everyone is always complaining and moaning just to try to not gain a penalty.”
Within the McLaren team, while Piastri faced the consequences of Hamilton’s maneuver, team principal Andrea Stella also expressed appreciation for the integrity displayed by the seven-time F1 world champion.
“I think maybe Lewis got a little frustrated because, in reality, I think Lewis would have overtaken Oscar,” Stella explained. “If not there, he would have overtaken at the next opportunity.
“So in a similar way, I think there was no need to take too much risk for Lewis because he had the pace to overtake with more margin, I would say.
“Lewis is a fair competitor. If he apologised it shows his qualities as a competitor and as a person. He definitely has our respect.”