Lewis Hamilton’s behind-the-scenes reaction to Mercedes struggles detailed by Toto Wolff

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LEWIS HAMILTON has found it tough going this season, with his title hopes effectively over following the first few races.

Lewis Hamilton shows off his 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 car

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has opened up on how Lewis Hamilton responded to his torrid start to the campaign. After years of dominance, the Silver Arrows struggled to adapt to the new cars and regulations early on in 2022, and have yet to register a win.

Hamilton endured his worst start to a season since 2009, but his fortunes have improved in the last five races, with multiple P2 and P3 finishes. The Brit has spoken regularly about the efforts being made at Brackley to dig deep and get Mercedes back in the fight, saying the difficulties have been a “valuable lesson” for the team.

Wolff said that Hamilton went through a period of “acceptance of this as the new reality” in the early part of the year when the severity of Mercedes’ struggles became apparent. “That’s certainly not a joyful experience, but after the first few races, he was very special,” Wolff told Autosport.

“He got settled in a situation that was all about how can we move this car back to the front. And even when I was not at my best, he was the most positive person in the room, building everyone up even if driving this car is a handful.”

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Lewis Hamilton's behind-the-scenes reaction to Mercedes struggles detailed by Toto Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hailed Lewis Hamilton for his response to the tough start to the season (Image: GETTY)

In several practice sessions earlier in the season, the seven-time champion ran experimental set-ups on his car to try and discover the extent of Mercedes’ problems. Wolff felt it was “important to push for these extreme solutions” to try and remedy the struggles as both Hamilton and Mercedes found themselves in a new position trailing their rivals.

“In December, we raced for a world championship, and four months later, we have a car that is not championship material,” Wolff added. “So everyone – drivers, engineers, management – need to just find the ground and say, OK, this is the reality now, what are we doing about it?

“You can’t just flip the switch and say, OK, no problem, we’re going to work ourselves out of it.” Speaking of Hamilton, Wolff quashed any rumours he was planning to replace the star driver for the start of this season.

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Lewis Hamilton's behind-the-scenes reaction to Mercedes struggles detailed by Toto Wolff

It has been a tough season for Mercedes but their fortunes have started to improve (Image: GETTY)

Following the contentious events in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi GP last December, Hamilton took a two-month absence from all forms of media, leaving many to suggest he would walk away from the sport – with the Silver Arrows needing to replace him. One of the names put through the rumour mill as a potential replacement was Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, but team principal Wolff made it abundantly clear that those reports, and any other reports for that matter, were false.

“It’s a complete bull****,” Wolff said emphatically during an interview with the Italian branch of Motorsport.com. “I never called Sergio, he’s a good guy and I respect him, but I never talked to him and I was not in contact with any other driver.

​​“Lewis and I, even in the face of a not-so-encouraging scenario like the beginning of this season, we are always aligned in wanting to try to make things better and to be together next year. And we’ve been telling each other for a couple of months that we could go on, maybe five or 10 years, right? So none of that is true.”

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