Hamilton: I look back on joining Mercedes as absolutely the right decision
27 November, 2013
Late last year Lewis Hamilton shocked the Formula 1 world with his decision to leave McLaren and move to Mercedes, now 12 months on he is adamant that he has made the right decision while revealing that he “set the priorities right” in his life.
Hamilton wrote in his recent BBC column, “I learned a lot this season about prioritising my life a little bit better, putting the right things in place, better use of my time throughout the year. It’s just generally been a strong year for me personally.”
Many doubted that the decision to leave McLaren, with whom he had been involved with since the age of 13, was a good call. But Hamilton believes 2013 has vindicated that decision.
“I look back on joining Mercedes as absolutely the right decision to [have made]. I’ve really enjoyed working with the team and I’m confident [that] we are going to do well in the future,” said the 28 year old.
However, he admits; “It has brought some challenges, particularly getting comfortable with the car and nailing the set-up. I haven’t managed to get the car to feel the way I like [it] very often. I can get 85% of the way there, but that really limits what you can achieve.”
“I never expected that; it’s not something I’d struggled with before very often. But the cars are a bit more complex now and it makes it tricky. But you can’t dwell on that sort of thing. You just have to learn from it and try to move forward.”
On the upside he won a race and was on the podium five times, while McLaren suffered one of the worst seasons in their history – zero wins, zero podiums.
“There have been a number of highlights,” said Hamilton. “Obviously winning in Hungary was a big one, but there were plenty of others too – going to the factory for the first time before the season, the first day driving the car, our first podium in Malaysia, and so on.”
One victory did not do justice to Hamilton’s season as he was a contender for a few more top spot finishes, but luck was not always on his side.
“The British Grand Prix I have mixed feelings about. I should have won there, only to get a puncture after seven laps when I was leading comfortably. After I’d got back to the pits and changed tyres I was the fastest guy on the track, and fighting back up to finish fourth was a good feeling even if we just missed out on the podium,” mused the 2008 F1 World Champion.
Tyres captured the headlines for most of the year, and many point to Pirelli changing the tyre build mid-season as the turning point. From then on most teams failed to evolve their cars in a manner capable to contain, let alone match, Red Bull. The impact of these changes was also felt by the Silver Arrows.
“We at Mercedes were close to Red Bull before the tyres were changed mid-season as a result of the series of failures at Silverstone. But Red Bull got on top of the new tyres better than anyone else and no-one [was] able to get near them [after that],” ventured Hamilton. (GP247)
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