Lewis Hamilton is in the “best place” he has ever been during his five years at Mercedes, his boss Toto Wolff has claimed.
Hamilton will head to Baku, the scene for this week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, trailing Sebastian Vettel by 12 points in the title race following his victory last time out in Canada.
Hamilton and rival Vettel have three wins each in a championship battle where the momentum continues to shift from one driver to the other.
But Wolff, who has worked with Hamilton since he joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, has pointed towards the Englishman’s ease in which he has dealt with adversity this year.
Indeed Hamilton was noticeably upbeat after qualifying only 14th at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix – a race in which he would finish seventh and lose 19 points to Vettel.
Hamilton has this year revelled in both the dynamic of his title fight with Ferrari’s Vettel, and the departure of long-term rival Nico Rosberg from Mercedes after he retired within days of beating the Briton to the title.
“Lewis is in the best place I have seen him during any of the last five years since he joined the team,” Mercedes boss Wolff said. “Not only because he had a great weekend in Montreal, but because he is coping so well with the difficult days.
“This is what the very best are made of. When the fight gets tough, they get over it quickly and maximise their opportunities.
“When you have a bad day, you can either be downbeat about it or pull yourself up and start to act on it. This is what we have done. We moved on, and these are the days that make you progress much more than the good days.
“Every time we’ve had a difficult weekend we have come back stronger. And that speaks volumes for the people in this team.”
Hamilton got his championship challenge firmly back on track after a crushing performance in Montreal which culminated in his sixth victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The 32-year-old Briton will now look to overcome the demons of his last visit to Baku after he crashed out of qualifying and finished only fifth.