Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has opened up about one of the most valued members of his Mercedes team; New Zealand–born physiotherapist Angela Cullen.
Hamilton described Cullen as “one of the greatest things that’s happened to me in my life” following the pairing’s four-year stint working together.
“People for sure won’t understand it, naturally, because they see it from a distance, but she has been one of the greatest things that’s happened to me in my life,” he said, speaking to Netherlands outlet Ziggo Sport.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of people… and she’s the single hardest-working woman that I get to be around. She’s focused, selfless, and she makes my weekends peaceful. Every day I wake up, whatever time it is, she’s just positive – never a single day has she been negative, so that’s very, very important.”
Cullen made her start in the industry via the Hintsa Performance; a high performance coaching firm with past and present clients ranging from Sebastien Vettel to CEOs and others in high-stakes corporate roles.
Cullen and Hamilton’s relationship in the sport is likely to span the rest of the British driver’s career. The two sport the same ‘Loyalty’ tattoo on their left arms — a trait reportedly consistent among the team’s inner sanctum. She’s been involved in sport for over two decades.
Along with performing physiotherapy tasks, Cullen manages getting Hamilton to and from the race track each weekend, picking up numerous other management and PA roles with the popular racer each day — both in the paddock and in pit lane.
“I think it’s important in life to put positive people around you. You can’t be going around with deadweights, you can’t be going around with people who don’t inspire you to be better and lift you up when you’re down. You need to be around people who can do that for you, and she’s one of them,” Hamilton added.
“When you come into Formula 1, there’s this whole idea of physios, but a lot of them, or some of them, are just trainers. They still take on the title of ‘physio’ – but a physio is a physiotherapist, and for years, I’d always had a male trainer, but I noticed that I was always having different problems.
“So you’d have to just deal with it through the weekend and I was like, ‘This doesn’t make sense. I don’t need to train on the weekends.’ So I was like, ‘I need to find a physio.’ Angela had done a bit of work on me back home, so I spoke to her and asked her, ‘Would you like to come on the road with me?’ and little did I know that we would have the greatest partnership.”
Following the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix two weekends ago, a race which saw Hamilton claim victory and Mercedes clinch a seventh constructors title, Cullen posted a message of her own about the team and Hamilton over Instagram.
“When I first started working with Lewis to be honest I had little hands on knowledge of the F1 paddock,” she said.
“You had read endless stores about the physical and mental demands placed on the F1 drivers but it wasn’t until 2016 my first season that I really experience the realities. The intensity of every weekend . The demands on energy and focused determination necessary to produce results with the tiny margines that separate success and utter disappointment .
“The need to stay mentally and physically top of your game, embracing ever changing technologies and rule changes, challenging the known to achieve the exceptional . Enduring politics and intensity of being in the media spotlight. Navigating disappointments and quickly learning to only grow stronger. And then after all this getting in the car and being physically and mentally in shape to push.
“Lewis you truly are superhuman and every day it’s an absolute honor and pleasure to work with you and I am so grateful to be part of this. And still there is so much more to come.”