AUSTIN, Texas — Daniel Ricciardo thinks that what Lewis Hamilton has been able to do on and off the track in 2018 shows that winning championships in Formula One is not simply about having the best machinery.
Hamilton is on the cusp of a fifth world title in what has been one of the most impressive campaigns of his Formula One career so far. His flawless performances have been in stark contrast to the string of errors made by main rival Sebastian Vettel.
Away from F1 this year, Hamilton launched his own fashion range with Tommy Hilfiger — TommyXLewis — and is believed to have at least one more in the pipeline for future. Ricciardo is impressed that he is able to do so much away from F1 and still perform at the highest level.
“Certainly my competitive side will always believe that I’m the best and that in that car I can do the same thing, yadda-ya,” he said. “But I definitely give him all the respect and it’s definitely not a go at Lewis.
“I think he’s been pretty awesome at being able to do what he’s done continuously on track for the best part of a decade but also done his own thing away from the track… for him to live the life he’s living but stil keep up such a performance, all credit to him.”
For much of the year, Ferrari was believed to have the stronger race car. Mercedes appears to have the performance edge again but Ricciardo believes the consistent level Hamilton has performed at all year has been the key difference maker.
“This year people realise that you can have the fastest car but you have to be able to perform week in, week out. Seb, for the most part, has had a fast car all year. But when you’re fighting for the title it’s those little one percenters that Lewis has got on top of more often than him and that’s really what’s dictated the pace of the championship now.
“I give Lewis full respect — the talent’s always been there, the speed’s always been there, everyone knows that, but for him to maintain this level of intensity, this level of speed and commitment is pretty strong. I certainly have no problem with applauding him on that, he deserves it. He deserves that this year 100 percent.”