Lewis Hamilton explained the most important decision of his career when he decided to move to Mercedes in 2012 and says that it was important for him to contribute in development of the team to be able to compete for the titles.
After losing the title in the first F1 season in 2007 for just one point, Hamilton won the 2008 title, also for just one point against Massa and although McLaren had a car capable of winning in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Red Bull was too strong and won all the titles from 2010 to the end of 2013.
Alonso was another victim of the dominance of Vettel and Red Bull, who drove for Ferrari during that period and finished three times as runner-up, and Hamilton decided to sign for Mercedes after a disappointing weekend in Singapore in 2012, a race in which he retired from the lead.
Mercedes had only one win at that time since returning to F1 in 2010 as a factory team thanks to Rosberg’s triumph at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, but when new rules for power units were introduced in 2014, Mercedes won all drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
“I’ve been with McLaren since I was 13 and they were my family, I was very safe and very well taken care of with them,” Hamilton said in an interview with one of Mercedes’ sponsors Crowdstrike.
“But even though McLaren had a stunning history, multiple championships and successes, I felt I wasn’t necessarily helping build something.”
“They were already a great team and they had already experienced all that success. They had the biggest trophy cabinet and I wanted to go somewhere where I could help and be an important part of building something.”
“When I joined this team, they didn’t have a lot of trophies. They were on the rise, they were growing and building. People were coming. And I wanted to go somewhere and see if I could use everything I learned all those years working with McLaren, apply learned to a team that is not so successful to become successful. ”
Hamilton scored just one win in the first season with Mercedes in Hungary, with Rosberg adding another two wins for Mercedes in Monaco and Silverstone, and the team finished second in the constructors’ championship behind the untouchable Red Bull but ahead of Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren.
“There must have been moments when I thought ‘geez, I don’t know when I’m going to win again.’ I really had to analyze a lot of pros and cons.”
“But Senna used to say ‘if you don’t go for a gap, you’re not a racing driver anymore.’ I think if you don’t take risks in life, then you stand still.”
“I could have stayed at McLaren. When I look at it now, if I had stayed I wouldn’t have won any more titles. I would still only be champion once after 14 years.”
“Things happen for a reason. I’m very, very grateful that I took that step, that I decided to take a leap of faith.”
“And thanks to the people like Niki, rest his soul, and Ross and Mercedes for truly believing in me.”
Since moving to Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton has only lost once to his teammate – in 2016 to Rosberg who became champion. The second defeat in his career in the same car was inflicted by Button in McLaren in 2011 while in 2007 he beat Alonso in McLaren with the same number of points, thanks to a superior number of second places.