Hamilton Now Understands That 'You Can't Win Them All'
Lewis Hamilton says his approach to racing has changed over the years, the five-time world champion now perceiving F1 as "a marathon not a sprint"
Hamilton is currently in his thirteenth season of Grand Prix racing and is likely heading towards his sixth world title.
The Mercedes driver says his "philosophy" in racing has evolved since his early days in the sport, with a longer-term perspective on things now guiding his approach to the competition and to risk.
"Now, the goal is to help the team get the most points and finish as high as possible," explained Hamilton, quoted by Motorsport.com.
"When you're slightly further back, you're willing to take a little bit more risk to gain one extra position, and when you're in the lead, you're thinking long-term.
"It's a subtle difference, but also when you're younger, you care less in general, you know? Your perceptions are different when you're younger to when we're all older.
"When you're 21 to where you are now - so now I'm in the car, I'm thinking of how much space I have to give each driver.
"I'm thinking of the fact that I have 2000 people who make my car and they rely on me to make the smart decision and not be selfish and try to get that extra one spot - which would be good but it comes at a cost of potentially losing the team the constructors' championship.
"I think as I got older I've become more of a team player, more of an understanding of 'you can't win them all'.
"As a kid, you're like 'no, I have to win every single one!'. And I understand that it's a long game, it's a marathon not a sprint. And that philosophy for me, I didn't know that when I was 21 or 22 years old."
Hamilton's 81-win track record in F1 is now just ten victories short of Michael Schumacher's all-time milestone of 91 triumphs.
Yet the 34-year-old insists it is his quest for perfection rather than records that fuels his longevity.
"If it feels perfect every weekend, then maybe after you think 'eh, what's the point?' But the fact is, it's never perfect. It's a constant chase for perfection," he added.
"Even in fitness, through the year, you're going up and down, some weeks you train more, some weeks you train less.
"There's always things to improve. That's just how Formula 1 is and that's what I love about it."
"I love doing what I do. One or two years ago, it was more of a question of how long I would be going, but I'm enjoying it more and more, as I navigate through this beautiful thing called life, and position my life differently, and have these other things that I also get to enjoy."
Thanks to a regulation overhaul, Formula 1 will usher in a new era in 2021 and the promise of a prosperous future. And that's just another element that's keeping Hamilton's flame burning strong.
"I'm excited for what's around the corner for 2021," he admits.
"Motivation-wise, it's easy, it's never ever been a question. But I'm excited to see the way the sport shifts.
"It'll be interesting to see whether they do a good job or whether they do a bad job, and how I can be a part of helping shift that for the future generation."