Hamilton says he doesn’t regret Mercedes move

2012 United States Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Korea International Circuit, 2012Lewis Hamilton denies he regrets deciding to move to Mercedes for 2013 despite the team not having scored in the four races since the announcement was made.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said last month he thinks Hamilton has regretted the decision.

Asked about that in the United States Grand Prix press conference Hamilton said: “I was a little bit surprised to hear that.

“It, clearly, is absolutely not the case. But I’ve got a great team, I’ve been with them such a long time, so I’m sure everyone has emotions within the team.

“But I’m still here giving 100% to them for the last two races. And of course it’s quite emotional for me but I’m very, very happy with the decision I’ve made.”

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70 comments on Hamilton says he doesn’t regret Mercedes move

  1. He doesn’t regeret leaving a team which gave him glory 4 years ago 8and in F1 that sounds like eternity now) but that has regulerly let him down this year. In comparison, he is going to a team which will probably let him down on the first year but than willl adjust to his style and maybe let him get the wdc again…. eventually

  2. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 15th November 2012, 18:03

    that’s very clever of Martin W to fend off questions regarding Perez’s maturity when it comes to wheel to wheel racing and distracting everyone by still talking about Lewis’s decision.

  3. Obi-Spa Kenobi (@obi-spa-kenobi) said on 15th November 2012, 18:08

    I’m not particularly a Hamilton fan, but I’ll be curious to see what he and Mercedes can do with the car in the off-season and what he can do with it next year. It will be interesting to see his reactions if the car doesn’t perform to the top of the grid like he is generally used to.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 16th November 2012, 0:09

      I agree, I think it’ll make for a good season. I also want to see how Button goes, and the reaction if the Mclaren turns out to be a very good car next year. As it was at the start of this year.

    • well going by Mclaren’s performance in the past few years, Lewis should be used to it really. I wish I was being cynical, but this is a good dose of truth

    • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 16th November 2012, 14:37

      I agree with this and it’s great to have one of the top drivers in yet another team with enough money to contend. We now have 5 top drivers in 5 teams which could contend for race victory, next season couldn’t be beter on paper … Not sure the 5 teams will have great cars at the start of the season but not so important if the others are closely packed and take points from each other, really curious to see how it will go

  4. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 15th November 2012, 18:23

    Yeah Lewis just wait…

  5. depalm said on 15th November 2012, 18:26

    “But I’m very, very happy with the decision I’ve made.”
    Let’s see in one year.

  6. Why would he regret leaving a team which has failed to win a constructors’ championship 1999 not because of a lack of speed but because of their uncanny ability to screw up badly? For such an experienced team I should expect more of them, after all to finish first first you have to finish.

  7. He’s certainly looked noticeably more happy and relaxed in interviews since it was announced, so I don’t see any reason to doubt him. Hopefully he stays happy!

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 15th November 2012, 18:38

      Actually I’m a little thrown off by how nonchalantly he has dealt with all the failures this year. Usually the right response is to jump on the Team Principal and scream until their ears are hurting after the 2nd failure. He just waltzes and hugs them – it’s a little eerie. It’s almost like throwing in the towel and giving up on them.

      • I agree. It’s nice to be nice guy but it get’s you nowhere. It is interesting to imagine how Lewis’ big hero; Senna would have reacted to all these mistakes. He certainly wouldn’t have hugged the team. He would rather have set them so straight that it would have eventually helped!

        • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 15th November 2012, 22:35

          @poul so if he acts with class and dignity and doesn’t lash out at the team, it’s his fault because he’s not helping them realize their screw-ups? the guy really can’t catch a break…geez.

          • Hold on, when exactly did I blame him or tell him to lash out at all? I just think a different approach probably might have worked to his advantage. I am not there to catch the details of what is going on but certainly some drivers would have been less accepting.

            I don’t think Senna would have lashed out but I think he would have demanded the engineers to spend all their waken hours with him to scrutinize every single bit of data to prevent repetition. I also think some of those engineers would have hated Senna for it – until they actually won that championship in return for the hard work.

          • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 16th November 2012, 5:22


            There are some other key elements (which don’t know about) that aided Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren. Since the posting of telemetry data on twitter and extended discussions on the contract, his attitude towards the team had completely changed; this change happened way before his announcement to join Mercedes. What is more strange is that McLaren were very quick to announce the signing of Perez before the news of Hamilton got out. Why? Probably to make it look like they were not the ones who lost out. I believe signing of Perez was a knee-jerk reaction. Now, Martin Whitmarsh is clearly tasting sour grapes because he spends more time and energy talking about Hamilton’s decision than Hamilton himself. Clearly it is bothering him and he is trying to reflect it. Personally, he should be wishing Hamilton the best and not reminding him that he is going to regret it. Not a very nice thing to do by MW.

      • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 15th November 2012, 18:49

        ¿The right response? I would’ve expect that from the 2008 Hamilton but now I think he is more mature and his ultimate response is changing teams. He doesn’t need to scream how bad his team is and that wouldn’t make him better.

      • Aldoid said on 15th November 2012, 18:59

        There’d hardly be any point to him throwing a fit… and it seems more like McLaren has given up on him, rather than him giving up on them. How many failures has he had since announcing his decision to leave? All of a sudden they’ve forgotten how to screw a car together properly. Not hinting at anything dirty going on behind the scenes, but Lewis has been driving his heart out: qualifying & racing well, doing his job, & is it four races in a row now he’s had reliability issues. He’s not given up at all, IMO. He just knows there’s little hope for him doing any better this season. He knows just how capable McLaren are at turning sure wins into losses & knows he won’t have to deal with it next year (not sure if Merc will be capable of giving him a car capable of winning, but that’s a new problem he’ll have to deal with if that’s the case). I’d be upbeat & optimistic too if I were in his shoes.

        • Jason (@jason12) said on 15th November 2012, 20:08

          And good luck to JB next year.

        • +2 Also people seem to forget the Lewis Hamilton of last year, when he was so more prone to mistakes, more rush in his moves and overall less mature. This year Hamilton has been pretty impressive and consistent in his performance and understood the car a lot better than Jenson Button did. The fact that he speaks his mind in front of the press more frequently than other drivers do has probably distracted people from his racing performance.

          At the end of the day, the fact that he chose to move to another team means there was something that didn’t feel right. It doesn’t matter if McLaren go on and win 5 championships in a row next year on, or if Lewis does so with another team. In hindsight it will be easy to judge (if we must), but today I respect his choice and I recognise that he is a great driver.

          In fact I think he is a much better driver today than he was when he won the championship back in 2008. It’s just the package of team-driver that doesn’t work anymore for whatever reason. If we must appoint fault to someone then we would have to say it’s both the team’s and Lewis’ fault for the split (it never is one party’s fault), but I think McLaren’s share is just a bit bigger this time.

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th November 2012, 11:30

          Despite Eddie Jordan’s protestations, I don’t think the recent McLaren troubles have been down to the eponymous ‘finger trouble’ – they’ve been failures in key sealed parts of the car that have just broken down.

          Jenson’s Monza retirement was the same fuel issue as Lewis’s AD retirement.

          Lewis’s gearbox just ‘broke’ in Singapore, possibly due to the impacts of the mickey-mouse chicane.

          The damper problems in Japan & India were also running failures, since they happened the car was on track (the Japan issue couldn’t be fixed because the car was in Parc Ferme).

          Yes, all units could have been manufactured better at source, but it’s hardly the teams fault if they give up during a GP, especially if there’s no outside influences like impacts.

          It’s worth mentioning that we don’t actually know what Red Bull’s alternator position is – I believe some journalists revealed that they were running their last available 2011-spec Alternators in Abu Dhabi. Have they managed to fix the 2012 version or could this all fall over if the weather suddenly gets really hot in Austin?

      • just PR, inside the walls he was probably screaming to Martin

  8. baldgye (@baldgye) said on 15th November 2012, 18:50

    I don’t understand how anyone could think he would regret this dissission, becasue it dsnt matter if Merc don’t have the best car, becasue at McLaren even when they have had the best car they have been unable to actually compete really in the championship, for what ever reason.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 16th November 2012, 11:33

      2007 aside (which they effectively won in all but allotted points), McLaren haven’t finished outside the top 3 in every WCC since (IIRC) 2004.

      Yes, they haven’t managed to sew it up, but they’re probably the most consistently competitive team in the past 20 years.

  9. why would a driver regret leaving a team that hasn’t won a constructors championship in 14 years and have only won the drivers once, and that was by the leaving driver. Martin needs to focus on how Perez and Button are going to be on pole and win races. I can’t see that very often with those two.

  10. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 15th November 2012, 19:36

    Next year will look like he has made a mistake most probably, fighting for the lower end of the points whilst JB perhaps picks up the odd win. But i feel even with this likely situation next year he’ll be more motivated than ever to turn it around and make Mercedes a World Championship winning team in the coming years, something which even Schumacher couldn’t inspire.

    This is exactly the move Hamilton needs regardless of the Mercedes’ performance next year.

  11. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 15th November 2012, 19:46

    I think more to the point – why would a driver openly admit a regret?

    Now I’m not saying Lewis is regretting the move – and I’m not saying he doesn’t. But he’d only position himself as a **** to the media if he said “I wish I hadn’t done that” – not to mention how such a statement would absolutely beautify relations between him and Mercedes

  12. 23kennyboy23 said on 15th November 2012, 20:10

    I really wish someone would do to Williams what Hamilton plans on doing to Mercedes.

    • Aldoid said on 15th November 2012, 21:12

      I think this year’s Williams doesn’t need too much turning around. It’s a pretty good car that’s being driven by so-so drivers, IMO. Maldonado qualifies pretty well more often than not, but is erratic & very adept at throwing away points. He’s done better in the latter part of the season, but he’s still squandered more than a handful of points. Senna is a bit better than him at staying out of trouble, but he’s an awful qualifier. Plus I feel he’s just not that quick, & speed isn’t something you can teach at this level IMO. I’d imagine the inconsistency of the drivers must make it a nightmare for them to get meaningful data on how to improve the car also, but I’m no expert… just speculating. If they’d had a pair of solid drivers, I think Williams would’ve been right up there with Lotus, or close to it at least.

  13. Dusty in California (@dusty-in-california) said on 15th November 2012, 20:19

    Diplomatic response from Hamilton, considering Whitmarsh’s comment. My personal reaction (and I’m sure Lewis’ upon first hearing it) was not printable in this family website.

    • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 15th November 2012, 22:29

      Hamilton 1, Whitmarsh 0. It’s absolutely great to see Lewis having the moral highground after all the screw-ups Mclaren have made this year and after those ‘i hope he fails’ bitter comments from Whitmarsh.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th November 2012, 7:21

      There was not much Withmarsh could do though when asked explicitly if he tought Hamilton did regret it he answered that he can imagine that there have been moments like that. Hardly reason to get angry at MW, after all we wouldn’t expect him to say that he understands how great it all is (and Merc having not scored in the last couple of races would have likely made everyone doubt their desicion at times)?

  14. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 15th November 2012, 20:53

    I’m sure that Ham knew his move to Mercedes was risky, but I think it was a move that he had to make for the sake of his own sanity. Sure it won’t be a cruise but it’s not mission impossible either. Ham must’ve thought long and hard about this decision, I doubt he’s approaching the situation with his eyes wide shut.

    Providing he can surround himself with a few good men and keep the collateral damage to a minimum, I have faith that he will be the top gun, the man to beat. His relationship with McLaren was volatile to say the least (almost war of the world’s esque). Too often I got the impression that it was about the colour of money and not the overall success of the team.

    F1 is a risky business at the best of times and if both parties aren’t on the same wave length (like Ham and McLaren appeared to be) its a cocktail for disaster of tropic thunder proportions. As for Whitmarsh, his thinly veiled attacks on Ham just emphasize his insecurity and lack of faith in Perez’s ability. That’s the truth, but Whitmarsh can’t handle the truth! He’s definitely in the minority report-ing his view that Ham regretted his move.

    Only time will tell what the future holds for Ham, hopefully this weekend we’ll see vanilla sky over the Austin circuit and Ham will win and in the process help keep the title hunt alive for the final race in Brazil.

  15. andae23 (@andae23) said on 15th November 2012, 21:18

    Funny how so many people seem to know that Hamilton will be regretting his decision to leave McLaren next year. Just wait and see how things work out, then you can start giving your opinion.

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