F1 will realise Hamilton as good as Schumacher after he retires, says Toto Wolff

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes Formula 1 will only acknowledge Lewis Hamilton's achievements when he finally retires from the sport.

Last year the Briton became just the third driver in history to win five world championships and now has Michael Schumacher's tally of seven plus the German's all-time wins record of 91 coming into view.

However, Hamilton still cuts a divisive figure among fans while others question his position in the conversation as an all-time great and that is something Wolff finds particularly frustrating.

"Lewis, in my opinion, along with Michael, are the best we have ever seen," he told Abu Dhabi-based publication The National.

"We're only going to realise when he retires one day. We tend to never acknowledge somebody's great performance while it happens.

"We are always full of the types of people who retire or die, but they are never saying 'This guy is really unbelievable, we're alive to witness an exceptional performer'.

"I think we should recognise that while we are still racing."

Also Read:

The decision that will ultimately be looked back on as defining Hamilton's career was that to leave McLaren and join Mercedes in 2013, just before the German manufacturer became F1's dominant force a year later.

And now entering the seventh year of that partnership, Wolff reflected on how the 34-year-old has evolved in that time.

"The way he has developed as a human is exceptional," the Austrian stated.

"He's become a strong pillar of winning with the team, which is rather unusual for a driver; your driver is more complaining about the team than praising, and he praises.

"We have an environment of brutal honesty with each other. So, if things go wrong, we go into the meeting and we say: 'That was wrong, that was wrong, and that was wrong'. 

"That has allowed us to perform better, and he has a perfect attitude," Wolff concluded.