“I would still be a one-time world champion”- Lewis Hamilton confesses that his career wouldn’t be glorious if he hadn’t left McLaren.
Lewis Hamilton in partnership with Mercedes has been a dominant force in Formula 1 since last seven years, confirming that his migration from McLaren was a really crucial step in his career, even if people back then objected it.
Confessing that his success is partially credited to Mercedes’ might, Hamilton claimed that his career would have faced a downward trajectory if he had stayed in McLaren.
“I’d been with McLaren since I was 13 so it was my family, and I was very safe there, I was well taken care of,” he said in an interview for Mercedes sponsor Crowdstrike.
“But I think McLaren had this amazing history, they had multiple championships, they were super-successful, and I felt that I wasn’t necessarily helping build something.”
“It was already an illustrious team, and 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, and it was growing, it was building. More people were 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.”
I would still be a one-time world champion if I stayed at McLaren.
Hamilton further credits his 7 world champions haul to Mercedes’ might, also surfacing the possible stagnancy or even decline he could have faced if McLaren had remained.
“For sure there was 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 I had stayed, I wouldn’t have another championship to my name. I would still be a one-time world champion after 14 years.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda – who died in 2019 – persuaded Hamilton to leave McLaren for their team.
“Things happen for a reason, one way or another,” he said. “And I’m really, really grateful that I took that step. I took that leap of faith. It’s thanks to people like Niki – rest his soul – and to Ross and Mercedes for truly believing in me.”