Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, two of the most successful drivers in Formula 1 history, share a passion for excellence, according to Andrew Shovlin, chief racing engineer for Mercedes, who has worked with both.
Having won the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, Hamilton caught up with the seven-time world champion in the number of victories – now he also has 91 such achievements. However, Shovlin believes that many still underestimate Lewis.
“He works very hard. Probably, many rivals believe that he is just piloting a very fast car, but at the same time he does not bother himself too much outside the cockpit, – said Shovlin. – However, Lewis is one of the most hardworking riders I have ever met.
When someone has been in the championship for so long, you start to think that he has reached his maximum, but Lewis continues to look for new approaches to piloting, finding ways to work with maximum efficiency with the car and tires.
He believes that even the smallest error or malfunction must be dealt with by the next racing weekend, and will not rest until this is achieved, for which he will make every effort.
Lewis has changed a lot since joining our team in 2013. Of course, the team also changed, but when he began to cooperate with us, he immediately went very quickly and showed the ability to give all his best for the sake of victory. Now Hamilton attaches much more importance to tactics, this is manifested in how he perceives the season as a whole, and how he arranges his work.
It’s not only about the fact that he is constantly looking for opportunities to pilot everything better, but in general about his attitude to life, how he relates to business. Now Lewis is at the highest level, it’s impressive – I’m talking about his stability, and about the persistence with which he gets points and controls the course of the championship. “
According to Shovlin, Schumacher was also distinguished by the same approach. He worked with Michael in 2010, when he returned to Formula 1 after a three-year break. Although the three seasons spent by the seven-time champion at Mercedes cannot be called successful, Shovlin understood due to what qualities Schumacher dominated the sport during the period when he played for Ferrari.
“Michael was distinguished by the ability in any situation to adapt his piloting style depending on the balance of the car. If it was necessary to adjust it for understeer to achieve the maximum possible speed, he did it. If it was necessary to achieve more efficient operation of the front tires, he coped with this, – says Shovlin. – Like Lewis, Michael did not have any characteristic style – good racers are distinguished by the fact that they are able to adapt to any features of the car.
Michael could say a lot during the lap: adjust the brake balance, monitor tire wear, give recommendations on how to warm them up to operating temperatures – he did all this. Lewis works the same way, and quite calmly. You can give him one instruction after another, he will not forget anything.
In general, when it comes to driving, they have more in common than you might imagine. However, outside the cockpit, they are very different. It is hardly possible to imagine people more dissimilar in character. “