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Hamilton: I want to make history with Mercedes

NEWS STORY
23/04/2018

Giving his strongest hint yet that he aims to remain with Mercedes once his current contract runs out this year, Lewis Hamilton has said he wants to "make history" with the German manufacturer, helping it to become the most successful "F1 team in history", the Briton admitting that he is particularly targeting the records of the red cars (Ferrari).

With 6 drivers titles to Ferrari's 15, Mercedes still has some way to go, while the fact that the Constructors' Championship didn't come into being until 1958 - after the German manufacturer had left F1, having won the 1954 and 1955 tiles with Juan Manuel Fangio - accounts for its 4 titles compared to Ferrari's 16. (The Argentine having actually won his 1954 title with both Maserati and Mercedes).

Indeed, McLaren (12) and Williams (7), have won more drivers titles, not forgetting 9 (Williams) and 8 (McLaren) constructors' titles.

Nonetheless, speaking to team boss Toto Wolff in a special interview for the team's website, Hamilton made clear his intentions.

"My hope for the future is that we continue, continue to grow, excel and always move forwards," says the Briton. "Obviously, to build our relationship. But I really want to take this team the furthest it has ever been. I want to be part of this journey where Mercedes are the most successful Formula One team in history.

"I want to push it as far as I can, with the lifespan as a driver that I have, that it would take a long, long time for anyone else to catch up. I think it would really upset the red cars and the red team, so that's my goal..."

Asked what convinced him to join Mercedes in the first place, a move that many - including Pitpass - saw as ill-advised, the Briton reveals: "I remember being in Monaco, down by the pool, during the summer of 2012, I guess. And Niki calling me and he's like 'We want you!' We had never really ever spoken, me and Niki. He didn't have a good view of me. I don't know why. He didn't really know me. We hadn't even met and had a conversation.

"So I'd hear these things that he would say about me in the media and I was like 'Why is Niki hating on me?' And then, when we started talking, particularly when we first met, we started to realise that we had a lot in common and we were very similar in our views of racing - like 'Actually, he's not a bad dude!'

"Then Ross (Brawn) came to my Mum's house and sat in my kitchen, which was pretty cool. Growing up watching Michael winning all those championships, Seeing Ross on the pit wall for all those Grands Prix and I've got the guy in my Mum's kitchen asking me to, basically, replace Michael.

"I love the idea that you watch Michael go to Ferrari and take them from not being successful. Being a part of that journey and winning - it looked amazing to watch and I wanted to do something like that.

"I'd already done everything I think I could have done at McLaren. I saw Mercedes as this baby about to start growing into something and I wanted to be a part of it. People saw it as a big risk but I'm a risk taker and that's exciting. If you're not taking risks, you're not living."

The interview was recorded over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, a weekend which was to see the German team fail to win three successive races for the first time since the hybrid formula was introduced in 2014.

"What do you think when you watch a video after a race of you banging the table?" asks Hamilton. "That I look stupid but it's the emotion that I have," replies Wolff, "I am so angry when that happens because the pain of losing lasts so much longer. The joy from winning is two hours or five hours, but the losing..."

"But the build-up is so long. I have the exact same..." admits Hamilton. "When I heard about your gearbox three or four days ago, I woke up at 4am in the morning," admits Wolff, "Susie said 'what is going on?' I replied, 'I'm thinking about this damn gearbox!'".

"I have the same," says Hamilton. "The worst thing is I think people watching often find it difficult... because today, after qualifying, I'm in a pain, a pain that I can't describe. No matter how many years I've been racing, it's still there. You know you can do better but it didn't quite work out. It's not the end of the world but it just lingers with you. After the last race, I had sleepless nights as well, where I'd wake up from a nightmare, but the nightmare is me in the race and other things are happening, all these different scenarios. 'What if I'd done this, what if we'd done that? Could we have won?' I don't know if you'd been running through that."

"Remember our discussion Sunday after Melbourne," says Wolff. "It's just a really difficult moment, for me it gives me physical pain." "Same," replies Hamilton, "but it wouldn't be the same without that pain. Imagine if we'd just cruised on by, whether you win or you lose, and it's just cool. It wouldn't be the same. If you didn't have the lows, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the highs..."

Asked his best memory, Hamilton says: "I think last year was such a special year for us in terms of all of us being unified and the momentum that we were able to create. We kept supporting each other. When one part of the team slipped a little bit we were strong enough to lift each other up, when I slipped a little bit the team was able to lift me up.

"Overall, it was a momentous year in the relationship. Naturally, our relationship has been growing through that whole phase. It wouldn't be the same if you weren't competitive. You can see how competitive you are. I'm always hoping I do a good job when I come across the line in qualifying because otherwise you bang the table."

"But you want me to bang the table..." says Wolff. "We need the money to be invested in the car, not new tables," replies Hamilton.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Uffen, 27/04/2018 15:05

"Well, Lewis, you've already made history, pages and pages of it. Mission Accomplished. "

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2. Posted by GreenFlag, 23/04/2018 18:58

"ESTM - Lewis has made tens of millions (Pounds/$$$/Euros) and will continue to do so long after he retires (thru sponsorships, investments, etc.). I doubt money is motivating him any more. Titles and making history is now his motivation. Sure, he'll take the money, and he'll earn it, but he'd probably stay at MB for no pay, just to be able to win."

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3. Posted by ESTM PRFT, 23/04/2018 15:17

"Can this be read as "I want to make more money at Mercedes"?"

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