LEWIS HAMILTON has dated a string of beautiful women — including Victoria’s Secret model Barbara Palvin.
So it is hardly surprising that one of his most treasured possessions is his little black book.
But instead of mobile numbers, the F1 championship leader’s black-and-red bound A4 pad contains drawings, descriptions and questions.
And they are all for Mercedes’ chief engineer Andrew Shovlin, who has also worked as Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher’s race engineer.
He says Hamilton has a hidden side that is a huge contrast to the fashion shows and jet-setting images he posts to his five million Instagram followers.
Shovlin said: “People don’t get to see how hard Lewis actually works. It all happens behind closed doors and he does not really shout about it.
“He has a reputation as being an aggressive driver, which is because he’s a quick qualifier, but he puts in a lot of hours that people don’t get to see.
“Lewis knows full well that if you do not prepare the technical side, you are not going to be competitive the next day.
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“So he has built up a great combination of natural skill, instinct and an unrivalled feel for the car and tyres.
“And he combines it well with the science we can bring to it — you cannot shortcut that homework. Often, Lewis leaves the paddock after the engineers.
“You cannot drive these cars without understanding them. There are lots of areas where you’ve got to be aware of how you manage the car.”
Shovlin, 43, started his career at BAR Honda before overseeing Button’s 2009 World Championship win with Brawn.
He then worked with Schumacher at Mercedes, where the seven-time world champion brought a meticulous attitude.
Hamilton, 32, was on pole for today’s Japanese Grand Prix — his tenth out of 16 races this season — and Shovlin rates his ability above anyone.
He added: “In terms of natural ability, Lewis is the highest I have ever seen and it comes from his feel for the car.
“You see it with the frequency of the laps he does in qualifying that you did not think were in the car.
“He just keeps finding more time. His car control is incredible.
“It is not just the days where we are dominating, it is also the days where we are struggling.
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“He seems to flip into a mode where he will try to piece together a lap and it’s rare he has a bad day. He still has the power to surprise. He puts together the technical side with natural talent.
“There were drivers who have had natural talent in the past but you cannot survive on talent alone — those days are ten, 20 years ago.”
Mercedes are a noticeably happier ship under the driver pairing of Hamilton and Finn Valtteri Bottas.
The friction between the Brit and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg caused tensions last season.
But Shovlin admits some of the now-retired German’s traits may have rubbed off on Hamilton, who arrived at Merc to replace Schumacher in 2013.
Shovlin said: “Michael would fight for every thousandth of a second because they all built up — Nico learnt a lot of that from working with Michael.
“That shaped how the team worked, so it might be that Lewis has now been drawn into that methodology.
“However, he has also brought his own energy into it to push the team to find higher levels of performance.”