According to Mercedes’ boss Wolff, Formula 1 has witnessed a new Lewis Hamilton after he won the final two races of the season after clinching the World Championship.
Looking at the past, Hamilton has usually struggled to keep up his form after winning the title, and it was only this year that he ended a record of never having won a race in a season he had clinched a crown.
Also, Hamilton lost the 2016 title to team mate Nice Rosberg after a half-hearted end to the prior season in which he was ousted by the German racer in the final three races of that year.
But a dominant show in Brazil and Abu Dhabi this year has convinced Wolff that he is a different driver now.
“He has actually driven stronger after winning the drivers’ title,” explained Wolff. “I feel he is so embedded in the team, and integrated, that the drivers’ title felt incomplete.
“For a driver it is really strange, because they are calibrated on a driver title, but he said it felt incomplete and we needed to seal the team title.
“When you look at his face, there was almost more relief and happiness about sealing the constructors’ title than the first one. And that is why he just didn’t take the foot off the throttle until the very end. That is somehow a new Lewis.”
“I think this year it was being in a different place in my life,” he said.
“I do want to continue to push the limits, push the boundaries and I wanted to finish the season on a solid high if I can.
“So that I can really continue to keep that foundation as strong as it has been this year, so I can use that to start on next year.
“I think in the past it was still good. It was no biggie that I didn’t win after I won the championship but I’m definitely happy with how it’s going this year.”