Lewis Hamilton believes maturing throughout his Formula 1 career has ultimately helped him get to the level he has now reached.
Hamilton made his F1 bow in 2007 with McLaren and won his first world championship the following season, but had to wait until 2014 and a switch to Mercedes to claim his second drivers’ title.
The Briton has gone on to become a five-time world champion and currently holds a 29-point advantage in the 2019 standings after winning five of the opening seven races so far this season.
Hamilton’s latest victory at the Canadian Grand Prix marked the 78th win of his F1 career and came at the same venue of his maiden triumph.
“Well naturally I was 22-years old, pretty much a kid still and for me, personally, I feel like I’ve matured a lot later,” Hamilton said.
“I was thrown in at the deep end of this incredible circus and sport. One thing I was prepared for was to race but I wasn’t prepared for the whole circus that comes along with it.
“I don’t know if I could say what the sport’s taught me. Naturally, through all these different experiences I’ve learned a lot about who I am, how to adapt to the different situations that surround me.
“I’ve done everything through trial and error. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over these years. Many of you [the media] have been with me through that journey and definitely seen those mistakes, the good and the bad so there’s not really much that the media or you guys don’t know about me in terms of my character.
“I’m not perfect but I’ve grown a huge amount with the sport and the sport’s given my life meaning so I’m forever grateful to it.”
Hamilton explained how having a “wiser head” on his shoulders has enabled him to extract more from his on-track performances.
“Naturally today, I’m 34-years old, I’m a grown man and still love driving,” he said.
“I’m still driving with the same heart that I did, I think, when I was 22 but just much more level head on my shoulders, a much wiser head on my shoulders which has enabled me to drive with the style and the skill that I had before but just finesse it a lot better.
“But also we get to travel the world, we get to see different cultures and all these different beautiful countries and people and I think what I’ve really, really learned is really to enjoy.
“Firstly, not to take notice of what people think of you because every is going to have an opinion and then, as long as you know you’ve got great people around you who do love you – like your family most importantly – then all you’ve got to do is just enjoy what you do and do the best you can, because our days are limited, as I always say.
“I try to make sure I can go to bed tonight and know that I gave everything this weekend [in Canada] and I’ll come back stronger at the next race and hope not to make mistakes on the Friday for example.”