Visit from a World Champion: Hamilton at the Mercedes plant in Sindelfingen

Visit from a World Champion: Hamilton at the Mercedes plant in Sindelfingen

Lewis Hamilton, Sindelfingen

After the grand finale to the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi and the subsequent test session at the Yas Marina Circuit, Lewis Hamilton still had a few engagements in his diary as newly crowned World Champion.

Before receiving the World Championship trophy at the official FIA Awards Ceremony in Paris, he paid visits to Petronas, the title partner of the Silver Arrows in Kuala Lumpur, and to colleagues at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen.

“It’s always fascinating to see the production line,” said Lewis, who lent a hand on the assembly belt. “To actually see the robots moving, to see the men at work doing 1,000 cars a day in shifts. That number of cars doesn’ t even compute. It’s insane. I had such a warm welcome when I got to the cantina. The most impressive thing was to see the employees and how hard everyone was working, how diligent everyone has to be to make these cars. The quality control is quite remarkable.”

Three questions for Lewis Hamilton

Lewis, how would you sum up your 2017 season?

Lewis Hamilton: It’s been an amazing season but by no means a perfect one. There are always areas you can improve on. I won nine races and Valtteri [Bottas] won three, but there are 20 races, and a perfect season is when you win every single one of them. But it’s a positive thing because it means you can always improve. It was definitely one of the strongest seasons we’ve ever had. The beginning of the season was a little bit up and down, but the second part of the season was very consistent. Reliability has been the best it has ever been. In terms of my performance, my starts were much better this year, and I was much more comfortable with this year’s car so that I was able to extract a lot more from it race by race.

When did you first get the sense that you might win the World Championship again?

Lewis Hamilton: When I arrived for the first race. That’s my mindset every season. I have that same mindset now for next year. When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset. If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win. Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again. We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forward.

What are your plans for the winter holiday?

Lewis Hamilton: I go to the same place in the mountains every year. I have my dogs, I’m in the snow, and it’s very quiet and peaceful there. I spend most of the day sitting by the fireplace. We go skiing, watch some movies and catch up with some TV series. I’ve never even seen any of Game of Thrones. My friends and especially my brother are huge fans, and I think I’m going to get into it in the winter.