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Hamilton "grateful" for "leap of faith"

NEWS STORY
27/01/2021

Seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton admits that had he never taken the gamble and left McLaren for Mercedes, he might well have remained a one-time title winner.

At Pitpass we hold our hands up and admit that we believed Lewis Hamilton was committing professional suicide when, in 2012, he announced that he was leaving McLaren, the team that had brought him to F1 and taken him to the title, for Mercedes.

The German manufacturer had bought Brawn following its sensational title win in 2009, and while it had encouraged Michael Schumacher back to F1 never looked likely to repeat its predecessor's feat.

However, team boss Ross Brawn, along with Niki Lauda, convinced Hamilton to leave his 'family home', a move that sent shockwaves through the sport.

That first season suggested that the sceptics, including Pitpass, had been correct, but then came the arrival of the new (hybrid) formula and Toto Wolff.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In a podcast for Crowdstrike, one of Mercedes many sponsors, Hamilton shed light on his extraordinary decision.

"I'd been with McLaren since I was thirteen so it was my family and I was very safe there, I was well taken care of," he admits.

"But though McLaren had this amazing history, multiple championships, and were super-successful, I felt that I wasn't necessarily helping build something," he adds.

"It was already an illustrious team, it already had all that success. It had the biggest cabinet of trophies and I wanted to go somewhere where I could help, could be a big part of building something.

"When I joined this team, it didn't have many trophies in the cabinet. It was on the way up, it was growing, it was building. There were more people coming. And I was like, I want to go somewhere and see if I can utilise everything I've learned in all these years, the privilege of working at McLaren, apply those learnings to a team that's not being very successful to becoming successful."

The Briton admits that there were times during that first season at Brackley that he questioned his decision.

"For sure there were moments when I was like, 'geez, I don't know when I'm going to win again'. I had to really analyse a lot of the pros and cons.

"But for me, taking the risk... Senna used to say; 'if you're not going for a gap, you're no longer racing driver'. I think if you're not taking risks in life, then you're standing still.

"So I could have stayed there. In hindsight, if you look at if I had stayed I wouldn't have another championship to my name. I would still be a one-time world champion after fourteen years.

"Things happen for a reason, one way or another," he continues. "And I'm really, really grateful that I took that step, that I took that leap of faith.

"It's thanks to people like Niki, rest his soul, and to Ross and to Mercedes for truly believing in me."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Mudri, 28/01/2021 9:25

""It's thanks to people like Niki, rest his soul, and to Ross and to Mercedes for truly believing in me.".............. that is the truest thing you have ever said Lewis. Be humble son - we need to see an honest, knowledgeable, lucid and smart World Champ."

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2. Posted by jcr, 27/01/2021 19:36

"And the Dollar speaks wonders."

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3. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 27/01/2021 17:02

"I'm sure some Vettle/Verstappen/LeClerc/Alonso fan will be along shortly to say "See! Even Lewis admits it's the car, not him!!!1!eleventy!!!"

It takes both a great driver and a great car to win once, never mind as many times as Lewis has. That has always been the case, and always will be the case. Even in spec series, the way the car is prepped makes a huge difference and a top notch driver in a poorly (or even midling) prepped car won't win, or at least not often.

I hope this interview is a portent of Lewis signing the contract. But, who knows? Maybe he's telegraphing a move to a team (or different category!) that doesn't have the trophy cabinet he's largely filled at Mercedes F1."

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4. Posted by Max Drives Like Grandma, 27/01/2021 15:47

"A Great Philosopher once said: "Good Things Happens To Good People, and Great Things Happens To Great People!"

When Niki Lauda and Ross Brawn made the approach to sign Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes, Lewis had already won One F1 World Title, and in only his second year in F1, but then McLaren as a team were already heading in a downward trajectory!
However, Lewis still managed to win races in every season from 2009 to 2012!
It must have been obvious to Niki and Ross, as well as to all the team principals in the F1 paddock that Lewis was an extremely talented driver, and I am guessing that Niki and Ross were afraid that Lewis would turn them down because Mercedes didn't have a lot of success at that point! I am quite sure that they had to try very hard to convince Lewis to join Mercedes, giving him a grand vision of what Mercedes were doing to become world champions in the near future!
Luckily, I don't believe Lewis needed much convincing because he was already extremely frustrated by McLaren's lack of progress between 2009 to 2012, and in particular, their unreliability was shocking! I don't think Lewis really had a choice but to take a risk on Mercedes, and everything turned out superbly!
I don't think anyone can deny that Lewis's immense input helped to make the Mercedes car what it was by the end of 2013 when it started being competitive and what it is now!

There you are, and the rest is history!

Well done Sir Lewis Hamilton, 7 Time F1 World Champion, and very well deserved!
Now sign that Mercedes Contract and make your enemies cry like a baby! "

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