Lewis Hamilton: Desire ‘to Build Something’ Led to Mercedes Switch From McLaren

Published 01/28/2021, 3:44 AM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on before the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


During the latter part of the 2000s, McLaren were undeniably one of the best F1 teams on the grid that constantly had their eyes on the titles, all thanks to Lewis Hamilton.

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Despite their breathtaking history, the then-one time world champion, Lewis, made a leap to a much slower Mercedes AMG team, which left the entire F1 community in shock.

Much to everyone’s suprise, it turned out to be the perfect decision, as what followed was an immense success for the driver and the team. However, despite the glory at Mercedes, there is one big question in almost everyone’s head.

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Why would Lewis go after a struggling team, when he had the powerful McLaren in hand?

What did Lewis say?

During a podcast, Lewis Hamilton opened up the reason behind the gamble of accepting Mercedes’ offer for the 2013 F1 season.

I felt that I wasn’t necessarily helping build something. It [McLaren] was already an illustrious team, it already had the success. It had the biggest cabinet of trophies,” he said while featuring in ‘A Formula for Success‘ podcast.

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain and Niki Lauda of Germany and Mercedes during the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

And I wanted to go somewhere, where I could be a part of building something, you know.”

Well, eventually, his presence in Mercedes turned out to boost the team’s performance on the track, as Mercedes grew up to be one of the most dominant F1 teams in years. It has been 7 years since a team other than the Silver Arrows won a constructor’s or a driver’s title.

Mercedes was on the way up when I joined the team: Lewis Hamilton

The seven-time world champion portrayed how Mercedes looked when he joined them in 2013, and it showed no signs of being a potential championship-winning candidate.

When I joined this team, it didn’t have many trophies in the cabinet,” he said. “It was on the way up, it was growing, it was building, there was more people coming.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory with team principal Toto Wolff during the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

I was like I wanna go somewhere, see if I can utilize everything I’ve learnt on all these years, to the privilege of working in McLaren. Can I apply those learnings to a team that’s not being very successful to becoming successful?

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Considering how much of Lewis’s contribution is running in the stream of Mercedes’ success in F1, it could be disastrous to let go of him at the moment.

Moreover, with Valtteri Bottas struggling, his experience might not be much of a help to the potential successor, George Russell. Hence, the probability of Mercedes hanging onto Lewis for the upcoming season is quite high.

Will the Briton use this opportunity to carry himself to new heights and arise as the world’s first eight-time F1 world champion? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

909 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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