As a Lewis Hamilton fan, I wondered what others thought about him Leaving McLaren?
Hamilton is as talented as any driver I’ve seen since I started watching F1 in 1996. Plenty of experts who have been watching much longer than I have commented on how naturally talented he is. Did he need to leave McLaren to realise this potential?
My take on it is this:
Hamilton came in and created a storm in his rookie season, proving a match for double world champion Fernando Alonso. Many expected him to go on and create his own era in the Sport, picking up multiple titles.
That hasn’t happened, but why? In 6 seasons in F1 LH has picked up 20 victories and 25 pole positions. If you account for this season alone he should have at least 2 and possibly 3 more wins if you count Spain (starting from the back after he was stripped of pole) and it seems certain he would have won in Abu Dhabi and more than likely in Singapore too. There were other wins that went by the wayside due to mechanical failure in other seasons so he could easily have been on 25 wins by now. Not a bad record but since he won that world title in 2008, McLaren have never had consistently the fastest car (apart from a proportion of this season, they’ve never been out and out the fastest very often) has this played a role in him deciding to leave the team?
In the same time period Seb Vettel has come along and taken 2 world titles (and likely a 3rd this season), 25 Wins and 35 pole positions.
I think Hamilton has lost faith in McLarens ability to be able to win championships, they know they can win races but to win championships you need to be in the hunt to win or be on the podium at every race pretty much. I also feel that other than 2011 Hamilton consistently got the most of the McLaren he was given but his efforts have proven pretty fruitless.
At Mercedes he has the chance to make a fresh start with a new team of engineers. I think McLaren have never given him the chance to make his own decisions in the races (as opposed to Button – who has picked up half his wins for the team on judgement calls) and I think they will warm to him because of his incredible speed and commitment on the track. if they can get a decent car (which with the technical expertise they have there – they should) he can pick up wins and more titles at Merc. And with the big regulation change in 2014, he might have timed it right.
I’d be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this?