Hamilton looks back on his Mercedes debut in Australia 10 years on: “So many people told me it was wrong”
It has been ten years since Lewis Hamilton made the bold decision to switch from McLaren to Mercedes, and in that time he has won six Drivers’ Championships, 82 race wins, and 77 pole positions. Hamilton’s move to the Brackley squad wasn’t an easy one, with Mercedes finishing behind in the constructors’ standings in 2012, but Hamilton knew he needed a change to continue growing as a driver.
In an exclusive feature for the official Mercedes F1 website, Hamilton reflected on his feelings at the time, stating: “Did it feel like a risk? Of course! When you make decisions, you go through changes and it’s always going to be a risk. But I would feel like I’m not living if I’m not taking risks, not constantly challenging myself and those around me. It was the inevitable direction I had to go, and it felt right.”
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was met with skepticism by many, but he had no second thoughts. The Briton went with his gut feeling, knowing that if he didn’t make the move, he would have regretted it. Hamilton admitted to having a moment of reflection around Christmas, wondering if he had made the right decision. But he quickly put those doubts aside and focused on bringing the best he could to the team.
Hamilton’s time at Mercedes has been marked by success, but he credits the team’s constant evolution and growth for keeping him motivated. “I feel like the whole team has been evolving, with new people, new structures being put in place, new targets being set,” he said.
The current F1 season hasn’t been the easiest for Mercedes, with Red Bull setting the pace, but Hamilton remains confident in the team’s ability to bounce back. “We don’t have a great car right now but we’re putting one foot in front of the other. We know we can get back to the front,” he stated.
As Hamilton begins his eleventh season with Mercedes, all signs point towards another new deal beyond 2023. The driver stated that he hasn’t felt the need to move on yet, as the team continues to challenge him and push him to grow. Hamilton’s time with Mercedes has been an incredible journey, one that he is grateful for. “I’ve been given the ability to be myself and been accepted by Mercedes,” he said.