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Hamilton looks for long-term success at Mercedes

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Andrew Benson | 14:58 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton's move to Mercedes is the biggest development in the Formula 1 driver market for three years.

Ahead of the 2010 season, Fernando Alonso moved to Ferrari, world champion Jenson Button switched from world champions Brawn (soon to become Mercedes) to McLaren and Michael Schumacher came out of retirement to replace Button.

Now, the man who most consider to be the fastest driver in the world has taken a huge gamble by switching from McLaren, who have the best car this year and have won five races this season alone, to Mercedes, who have won one race in three years.

To make way for Hamilton, Mercedes have ditched the most successful racing driver of all time.

Schumacher's return at the wheel of a Mercedes 'Silver Arrow' was billed as a dream for all concerned, but with one podium finish in three years the German marque have abandoned the project.


Hamilton leaves a team that has won more races in the last 30 years than anyone else. Photo: Getty

That the announcement was made just five days after the latest in a series of collisions in which Schumacher rammed into the back of another driver after misjudging his closing speed simply rubs salt into the wound.

Hamilton will be replaced at McLaren by one of F1's most promising rising stars - Sauber's Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who has taken three excellent podium finishes this year.

That's quite a shake-up, and it raises any number of fascinating questions, the first and most obvious of which is why Hamilton would leave a team that has won more races in the last 30 years than anyone else - even Ferrari - for one that has won one in the last three.

The explanation for that lies both at his new and current teams.

Mercedes sold the drive to Hamilton on the basis that they were in the best position to deliver him long-term success. In this, there are echoes of Schumacher's move to Ferrari in 1996.

Back then, the Italian team were in the doldrums, having won just one race the previous year. But Schumacher fancied a project, and saw potential. It took time, but by 1997 he was competing for the title, and from 2000 he won five in a row.

The architect of that success was Ross Brawn, then Ferrari's technical director and now Mercedes' team boss. Brawn is one of the most respected figures in F1, and Hamilton is banking on him being able to transform Mercedes in the same way as he did Ferrari.

Undoubtedly, Brawn will have made a convincing case to Hamilton; he is a very persuasive and credible man. It is also worth pointing out that Mercedes - in their former guise of Brawn - have won the world title more recently than McLaren. Button succeeded Hamilton as world champion in 2009.

Mercedes believe that the new regulations for 2014, when both the cars and engines will be significantly changed, will play into their hands.

They are devoting a lot of resources towards that year, and are optimistic they will be in good shape - just as Brawn were, in fact, when the last big rule change happened for 2009.

And Mercedes have a technical team that, on paper, is immensely strong. In Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis, they have three men who have been technical directors in their own right at other top teams all working under Brawn.

Part of this argument is predicated on the fact that new engine regulations always favour teams run or directly supported by engine manufacturers, on the basis that they are best placed to benefit from developments, and to integrate the car with the engine.

But this is where that argument falls down a little - McLaren may be a mere 'customer' of Mercedes for the first time next year, but they are still going to be using Mercedes engines in 2014, and on the basis of parity of performance.

The love affair with McLaren, who took him on as a 13-year-old karting prodigy, ended some time ago.

Since 2010, Hamilton has been complaining from time to time about the McLaren's lack of aerodynamic downforce compared to the best car of the time.

Through 2009-11, he grew increasingly frustrated at his team's apparent inability to challenge Red Bull. Hamilton is well aware of how good he is, and it hurt to watch Sebastian Vettel win two titles on the trot and not be able to challenge him.

That explains his ill-advised - and dangerously public - approach to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.

This year, McLaren started the season with the fastest car for the first time since, arguably, 2005. But again they could not get out of their own way.

Pit-stop blunders affected Hamilton's races in Malaysia and China early in the season, and then a terrible mistake in not putting enough fuel in Hamilton's car in qualifying in Spain turned an almost certain win into a battle for minor points.

These errors badly affected his title charge and in early summer his management started approaching other teams.

His favoured choice was almost certainly Red Bull, but they weren't interested. They also approached Ferrari, where Alonso vetoed Hamilton. That left Mercedes.

It is ironic that his decision to move teams has been announced on the back of four races that McLaren have dominated.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's relationship with McLaren Group chairman Ron Dennis, the man who signed him up and who promoted him to the F1 team in 2007, has collapsed.

It was noticeable that after Hamilton's win in Italy earlier this month Dennis stood, arms-folded and stoney-faced, beneath the podium, not applauding once. Nor did Dennis don one of McLaren's 'rocket-red' victory T-shirts, or join in the champagne celebrations with the team once Hamilton had completed his media duties.

In Singapore last weekend, it seemed that McLaren still believed they had a chance of keeping Hamilton; at least that was the impression from talking to the team.

But did Dennis already know in Monza of Hamilton's decision to defect? Was Hamilton's sombre mood after that win a reflection of his wondering whether he had made the right decision?

Was Hamilton's ill-advised decision to post a picture of confidential McLaren telemetry on the social networking site Twitter on the morning of the Belgian Grand Prix, the weekend before Italy, the action of a man who had had enough and didn't care any more because he knew he was leaving?

When was the Mercedes deal actually finally signed?

Was it done before BBC Sport broke the story of it being imminent in the week leading up to the Italian race?

Or was it not inked, finally, until this week, on the basis that only now has the Mercedes board committed to new commercial terms with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone?

In which case, was the gearbox failure that cost Hamilton a certain victory in Singapore, and effectively extinguished his title hopes for good, the straw that broke the camel's back?

In short, was Hamilton's decision based on cold, hard logic, rooted primarily in performance, in making more money, or founded on emotion as much as calculation. Or was it a combination of all those factors?

All these questions will be answered in time. Whatever led to Hamilton's decision, it is fair to say that it is an enormous gamble, one on which the next phase of his career hangs.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think it will be strange for British fans to have split loyalties again. With Hamilton and Button at McLaren it was an all British show, and they pretty much had unanimous backing from the British F1 fans.

    I think Hamilton will lose some fans, and some credibility over this move. It's been three years with Mercedes in their current guise, since they won the world title - limping over the line - and they've not really done anything of note. A middle of the pack team.

    Lets see if that changes.

  • Comment number 2.

    A move Lewis should have made a while ago when Martin W took over. Since he's taken over from Ron D Mclaren have not been the same team.
    Plus sometimes change is good and it will show how slow Button really is when Perez beats him in the same car. :)

  • Comment number 3.

    Hamilton has pretty much signalled the end of his competetive F1 career for at at least the next 3 years. Even with the 2014 changes, I can't see Mercedes beating the other teams. Ferrari = works team. Red Bull = Renault (Infiniti) works team. Even if the Mercedes is itself a works team, I can't see them winning. Yes the Mercedes engine is good, it hasn't come close to the 2010 & 2011 titles, and realistically, the 2012 title too.

    Hamilton is a good driver, but I daresay Perez has the potential to be even better. I may sound bitter but Hamilton has NEVER PAID HIS DUES. Perez has, and will reap the benfit of this. Look back at the others: Alonso - Minardi. Vettel - Toro Rosso. Button - Williams/ Benneton. Massa - Sauber. Webber - Minardi/ Williams. Rosberg - Williams. Basically, Hamilton was cherrypicked straight away and I personally belive he has an ego because of this - yes Vettel has an ego but he has earned it. People seem to forget that Hamilton was gifted his 2008 World Championship and has NEVER SINCE been close to winning a second. Even with Mercedes, he won't.

    2012 WDC - S. Vettel
    2013 WDC - F. Alonso
    2014 WDC - S. Perez
    2015 WDC - F. Alonso
    2016 WDC - S. Vettel (in a Ferrari)

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Will Hamilton's move to Mercedes prove a success based on a calculated risk? Only time will tell but potentially there could be another loser in all this. Have Red Bull thought about what happens after the 2013 season? It's rumoured their star driver Vettel is off to Ferrari for 2014 and Webber will be past his best - what options does that leave them with? The current top three drivers will be bound to other teams - Alonso and Vettel at Ferrari and Hamilton at Mercedes. Red Bull 'not being interested' in signing Hamilton could prove to be very shortsighted.

  • Comment number 6.

    I did not want Lewis Hamilton to leave Mclaren but this has been on the cards for a while, with his contract being up at the end of the year.

    People can praise him or hate on him but put yourself in his shoes. He's getting paid quite a bit more over at Mercedes and hes got the chance to work for Ross Brawn. What would we do?

  • Comment number 7.

    2. At 16:36 28th Sep 2012, Oracle wrote:
    A move Lewis should have made a while ago when Martin W took over. Since he's taken over from Ron D Mclaren have not been the same team.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Perhaps Ron Dennis saw the writing on the wall. McLaren were humbled by the 2009 regulations, and were embarrassing until the final third of the season. A team with such resources should have never been in that position. With Red Bull this season, they have been neutured but the are still competetive. Ron Dennis must have realised that leaving the team in the hands of a rookie with a season's experience was bad for the team.

  • Comment number 8.

    6. At 16:43 28th Sep 2012, Nav Sandhu wrote:
    I did not want Lewis Hamilton to leave Mclaren but this has been on the cards for a while, with his contract being up at the end of the year.

    People can praise him or hate on him but put yourself in his shoes. He's getting paid quite a bit more over at Mercedes and hes got the chance to work for Ross Brawn. What would we do?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Surely Brawn is past it now. I mean the last success he had was 2009 with Brawn GP. To say he kept the nucleus of the team and has had MORE money, I think he has severely under performed.

  • Comment number 9.

    "the man who most consider to be the fastest driver in the world" - UK is still not the whole world

  • Comment number 10.

    5. At 16:42 28th Sep 2012, holden330 wrote:
    Will Hamilton's move to Mercedes prove a success based on a calculated risk? Only time will tell but potentially there could be another loser in all this. Have Red Bull thought about what happens after the 2013 season? It's rumoured their star driver Vettel is off to Ferrari for 2014 and Webber will be past his best - what options does that leave them with? The current top three drivers will be bound to other teams - Alonso and Vettel at Ferrari and Hamilton at Mercedes. Red Bull 'not being interested' in signing Hamilton could prove to be very shortsighted.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I honestly feel Alonso and Vettel cannot work together in the same team. Two leaders a team do not make...

  • Comment number 11.

    @4
    Think you will find Hamilton beat Rosberg but they were both only 14 so hardly means much and while Andrew Benson can be biased, saying Hamilton is the fastest is hardly that as a lot would say the same. Just fastest is not the best in F1.

    Good reporting on the whole saga today by the BBC and of course by Eddie for breaking the news.

  • Comment number 12.

    Anyone feel Eddie was used to stir up the situation?

  • Comment number 13.

    @4 I am not a massive hamilton fan but will admit he is definately the quickest driver in F1 at the moment, He has the best ability for getting the most out of any car he is given, Alonso is probably second in this respect and Vettel only truly shines when the car is near perfect as Button does

  • Comment number 14.

    @4 - While I agree Mr Benson has questionable bias and is far too eager to show it, even Alonso says Lewis is faster over a single lap than himself and is one of the fastest drivers ever - the fact that he is an incomplete driver (also Brundle's words from last post-race discussion) and seems to need almost as much mind-management as Massa leads to a less than stellar record in converting that jaw-dropping speed into reliable performances.

  • Comment number 15.

    @11

    F3 Championship they were not 14. Rosberg won the title, Kubica 2nd, Hamilton 3rd.

    Look it up and get your facts right if you dont believe me.

    Im not talking about when they were karting team mates, im talking about proper racing in Formula 3 single seaters before they went to GP2. GP2 in which Hamilton just beat Nelson Piquet Jnr to the title and was outpaced by him on numerous occasions.

    Hamilton's driving in every way is over rated. He makes so many mistakes and is so clumsy and at times isnt even that quick.

    Im sorry to the UK but go to any other country and you will see he is just another driver not built up to be some legend that he clearly hasnt got the ability to live up to.

  • Comment number 16.

    8. At 16:45 28th Sep 2012, VettelManUtd90 wrote:
    Surely Brawn is past it now. I mean the last success he had was 2009 with Brawn GP. To say he kept the nucleus of the team and has had MORE money, I think he has severely under performed.

    -----------

    I disagree Brawn is definitely the right person Lewis should have picked because he's still mastermind to bring championship to Merc.
    Merc have been working hard for last 3 years to build solid platform hence brought Schmy in to get his technical advise and now time is right to get 1 of the best drive on the grid to put in the car for 2014 season. And yes next year will not be as planned for Lewis (2nd championship)

  • Comment number 17.

    I doubt Hamilton moved for the money. If he did, he would've demanded a salary that rivals Alonso's. As it is, he will still be earning less than half of what Alonso earns and not much more than what he was earning at McLaren. He knows that Ross Brawn has the capabilities of building an all-conquering team and he wants to be the driver to lift the team to that level, rather than being just another in the long list of racing drivers who were successful at McLaren. He wants to be he driver who builds Mercedes' success in the same way that Schumacher built Ferrari's.

  • Comment number 18.

    A lot of speculation in the article - has Ron Dennis' relationship with Lewis Hamilton disintegrated? Dennis has not said anything, neither has Hamilton to make this a fact. All this claim is based on is guess work. Does Dennis do a jig and breakdance whenever Button wins a race?

    Also, where is the proof that Hamilton pursued Horner of Red Bull in order to join them? or Ferrari? Were we not told throughout 2007 that Hamilton hated Alonso, why would he want to partner him?

    I respect facts, not guess work. If there is concrete proof lets see it please.

  • Comment number 19.

    It finally happened. Despite McLaren's for building a fast car, it has only produced one WDC which is Lewis Hamilton since 1999. That is once in 13 years. It shows McLarren is good at building fast cars, but not winning cars that finnish each race in a podium. Operational errors contribute to this dismal success rate for creating a WDC winner.

    So, Hamilton's mind probably went like this: Even with a fast car, I have only been a champion once in 4 years. If I will not win a WDC at F1 as many times as I want, then it might as well fail at Mercedes, where the money and inducements are more attractive and the aggravation much less.

    Thanks McLarrent for the good times, but no thanks.

    Good for you Lewis and good luck with your team.

  • Comment number 20.

    @4 Granted in 2010 and 2011 he made silly errors which pointed to petulance but this season he has been 'error free'. Can you substantiate your claim that Hamilton makes "so many mistakes" and is a "clumsy driver"?
    Doesn't Hamilton's performance this season justify him being called the 'fastest' driver in the world?
    Obviously you don't appreciate his talents but it is commonly held among the F1 fraternity that Hamilton makes up a threesome of the finest drivers in the world along with Vettel and Alonso.

  • Comment number 21.

    Money moves mountains, im a big Hamilton fan and it appears to me that money was the main reason for his move. He was on £10m per year (reportedly) and theres no doubt he will be making more then that at Mercedes.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 16

    I can see what you're saying, but is Schumacher's advice really that valuable. He dominated in an earlier era which, to be frank, has no relevance today.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ross Brawn past it? Im sure people said that about Alex Ferguson between 2004-2006 and look what happned. Rust never sleeps.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    23. At 17:00 28th Sep 2012, Nav Sandhu wrote:
    Ross Brawn past it? Im sure people said that about Alex Ferguson between 2004-2006 and look what happned. Rust never sleeps.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Michael Scumacher?

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 4

    "most people in the paddock feel he is over rated, makes so many mistakes, and is a very clumsy driver."

    Just making up stories from this supposed inside knowledge you have of the F1 paddock..

  • Comment number 27.

    BENSON!!!!

    Alonso has NEVER vetoed McLaren

    He said the opposite in fact, that he would welcome him as a team mate and anybody else for that matter.

    Im sure Fernando would love to put right the balance between the drivers and correct the ridiculous farce that was his year at McLaren.

    If Hamilton is ever Alonso's team mate again which is something i don't think Hamilton would dare to do we would all see the gulf in class between them and this would finally end the myth that Hamilton is anywhere near as good as Fernando.

    He isn't so stop pretending.

    Every article you write gets more ridiculous and full of utter garbage.

  • Comment number 28.

    I maybe on my own but I actually respect Hamilton for this decision. Staying at Mclaren would have been the easier choice but he has challenged himself in taking this potentially risky decision. It is not true to say that he has not paid his dues because his seat in 2007 was reliant on his success on the way there, including comprehensively winning GP2 the year before. Mclaren haven't delivered for him since his winning year in 2008.

    I am looking forward to next season more than ever.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hamilton has the fastest car. Vettel kept him very honest at Singapore in a slower car and showed at the end of the race that he had a lot of pace in hand while Webber is down in 10th. How this proves Hamilton to be the fastest driver in F1 i will never know.

    He has shown that even with the best car he cannot win. In 2011 the McLaren was a superb car more than a match for the Red Bull in race trim as early on as Barcelona when hamilton was unable to pass Vettel. Vettel was pure and simply too good for him and drove the wheels off the Red Bull to earn his second WDC.

    How someone can come into the sport in the best car and only fluke one WDC by one point thanks to Massa's engine failure in Hungary and poor reliability earlier in the season and of course Timo Glock's 'parking' at Brazil shows just how good Hamilton is.

    But then anyone who gets beaten by Button really can't be very quick can they.

    Fanboys are so funny!!!!

    Hamilton is over rated pure and simple!!!!! He has also probably won his only WDC!

    Indycar beckons..........I wonder why he wouldnt go there on equal status with Rosberg???????

    Oh yes....Rosberg might beat him

  • Comment number 30.

    Hmm people are actually saying he's not the fastest driver based on a slower F-category quite long time ago. Great analysis skills guys.

    You can only compare him where he's at. In F1. He's always had a fairly good car, but in most cases has out performed his team mate. The exceptions being Alonso (finished equal on points) and Button (by a few points in the season where Hamilton imploded).

    He is one of the fastest drivers week in, week out regardless. He's a fantastic driver, and arguably one of the most exciting on the track to watch, pulling off overtakes where many wouldn't expect. He is a flawed driver though, in terms of decision making and temperament.

    I think it's a positive move. He's been at McLaren a long time, sometimes you need a fresh start, different work force. He's got more money, a new project, Ross Brawn and the backing of a large manufacturer. It's an exciting move, similar to the one Alonso made.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm certainly not convinced that Hamilton's decision was based on "cold, hard, logic", much more likely to be on the ability to earn more and suggested to him by his management company. That really was the worst decision he ever made by going with a management who are far more interested in exploiting his name and image beyond the confines of the sport. Ever since he signed for XIX the focus has been on Hamilton the brand rather than Hamilton the F1 driver. When he first arrived in F1 he was the smiling, relaxed competitor interested only in being a winner. How often in the past couple of years have we seen Hamilton smile? His whole demeanour around the team and the paddock has not been conducive to generating a winning atmosphere in the team. I have felt really sorry for his mechanics and those who have had to work with him. I doubt Martin Whitmarsh will be overly sorry to see him go and you can virtually guarantee 110% that the atmosphere in the McLaren garage will be considerably better next season. Hamilton going has to be the best thing for McLaren!

  • Comment number 32.

    McLaren losing the petulant child will be a blessing for them. Hamiliton maybe fastest driver on the circuit but he not the best racer or a team palyer. McLaren lost two of the best racers (Kimi and Alonso) because of Hamilton and this has held the teams development back. With Button and Perez I predict a costructors' chamionship win for McLaren next season (Alonso or Vettel will win the drivers' championship).

  • Comment number 33.

    @29 You cannot compare Hamilton to Vettel at Singapore because LH did not finish the race! We will never know if SV would have beaten LH to the flag.

    Furthermore, LH has won more (not many more, but more) points at Mclaren than JB during their time together there so I don't understand your point about being beaten by him.

    I understand if you are not a fan of LH, you don't have to be, but at least present a decent argument.

  • Comment number 34.

    Only Hamilton knows the real reason and motivation for the switch, I say good riddance. Was it the potential for many world championships or rooted in greed and fame (off the track) Alarm bells were ringing with me the day he sacked his Father, who does that? So the petulant boy wonder could not get the external sponsorshiphip deals with his McLaren contract, but Simon Fuiller was on hand to concince him that he would be the next David Beckham global media/sponser superstar? in their dreams. Would you buy a second hand car from Lewis Hamilton?

  • Comment number 35.

    @15

    Youre going on about Piquet Jr and Rosberg beating hamilton in the F3 and GP2 days and using this to basically say that Hamilton is over rated.
    Can a driver not improve, the same as any other sportsman ???
    Obviously Lewis's learning curve was far steeper than the others mentioned. What your doing at 17-20 yrs old doesnt mean thats what your abilities will always be.
    What these guys did in their early days dont really matter tbh, wheres Kubica now, wheres Piquet ??
    Hamilton is a class act and is still only young, and F1 goes in cycles and Mercedes will be fighting for wins in the near future!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Little doubt this has been a done deal for some time now, as Mclaren obviously had his replacement already lined up and ready to sign on the dotted line.
    Of more interest now, is that the whole Mclaren focus must now inevitably shift to Button (no kudos for them in Hamilton winning races) and with it more weight on Button's shoulders. How will he respond to being unquestionable No:1. Will he up his game even more? I suspect he might surprise.

  • Comment number 37.

    @4 Hamilton clearly is the fastest driver in the world I dont think that is in dispute. The nature of his departure is what is causing the fuss. Nobody talks about how Lewis was robbed of the the title because his own team mate, Alonso was jealous of his speed and didn't let him past to win the title instead giving the title to Raikonen. Instead of Maclaren supporting Hamilton for the incident, they have given him dudd cars, pit teams and cant manage his clutch settings. Vettel isn't in the same league as Hamilton and to see him a 2 time champion is disappointing. I hope Mercedes can hit the ground running and finally the best driver in F1, and one of the best in history, can win multiple titles.

  • Comment number 38.

    @37

    Sure, it was the Alonso thing, not the fact that he overcooked his tyres in China or ran wide at Turn 4 in Brazil.

  • Comment number 39.

    Could someone ask Nico Rosberg how he feels about being a number 2 driver next year since it was reported that Lewis Hamilton is going to be unequivocal number 1?

  • Comment number 40.

    @15 - well I have looked it up and just before they went to GP2 Hamilton raced in Formula 3 Euroseries in 2005 with ART and he won it, so that can't be it can it?

    In 2004 he and Kubica and Rosberg raced in F3 and Rosberg finshed 4th, Hamilton 5th and Kubica 7th in the championship. Is that what you mean?

    By your standard then, Jamie Green, who won the title that year should be driving for Mercedes. Of course, he is, but in the DTM!

    You're off your rocker if you think he (Hamilton) isn't up to the job. He and Nico will have a good ding dong there in a difficult car at first. But Nico hasn't trounced MS the way it was thought he would and could (certainly not this year anyway). Hamilton will coming to Merc will force Nico to raise his game further. It will be good for the team.

    Don't write them off and don't diss Hamilton 'cos you don't like him.The 2008 title wasn't 'gifted' to him. He had to be there to make the pass at the last corner and he was.

    I'm no Hamilton 'fanboy', but the negativity here is undeserved. Keep it in perspective, at least a little bit

  • Comment number 41.

    Its easy to compare Schumacher's move to Ferrari and Hamilton's move to Mercedes, except, Schumacher went having won two world championships with his team, to a team that were just poor. Hamilton's move seems like its come more from desperation - 'somethings not working, must be the team'.

    Guaranteeing the same success is a much harder combination. Regulations are much tighter, budgets are restricted, automatic gearboxes... aren't allowed. All of this was with Ross Brawn as technical director, and Jean Todt as Manager. Its a bit like assuming Messi would be just as good as a manager.

    We know Mercedes did it under Brawn, but the majority of their success was based around the double diffuser, which gave them an advantage at the start of the year, but not towards the end. Where were they for the next year? Absolutely nowhere. So if they have promised Hamilton the WDC, it looks like they cant sustain winning.

    Its funny how they want to turn Hamilton into this ultimate brand. Michael Schumacher is arguably the most famous formula 1 driver of all time. You know how he did this? By winning. By being absolutely ruthless. By moving to a team, building it around him, and winning like no else has done before. He didn't do it by moving to different teams, notably McLaren tempting him, probably with big money.

    Theres a saying in football. Play for the badge on the front, and the fans will remember the name on the back.

    I think its somewhat hypocritical that Hamilton still wears his Senna-esque helmet. Does Hamilton want more money so that he can set up his own foundation, help families, educate children? Or is it so that he can afford to get his girlfriend a vajazzle any day of the week?

    People seem to be forgetting the psychological problems here too. Hamilton must hate it when Button wins. Partly because being beaten by your team mate is awful, but partly because everyone says Button is just so rubbish. Partly because this 'rubbish' driver has come into a team and after a year, everyone likes him more.

    Now imagine when Button wins races next year. Its going to seem even more like 'that could have been me'.

    There also the buzz around the rising star of Sergio Perez. He is an excellent driver. The only person who has really been able to take the fight to Alonso. Everyone will be comparing his performance to Hamilton. If he doesn't crash, he's already doing better.

    Then there is the problem of being british in an all german team. The fans will surely favour Nico? Not to mention that Hamilton will have barged their idol since 1994 out.

    Will things really be that different with Mercedes too? Their pit crew seem to be pretty solid. Reliability is poor for Michael but good for Nico. The only problem i think is that Hamilton is used to being at the front. He's going to crash, lots.
    I know McLaren have caused him problems at the start of the year, but half of the blame is on Hamilton.

    He lost the championship in 2007 in China. McLaren left him out on worn tyres. That just means you are extra cautious on pit entry. Or where did all of this sixth sense grip finding disappear to? Its common knowledge, old tyres+wet=go slower. And lets be honest, 2008 should have been Massa's, if it wasn't for Nelson Piquet cheating.

    Give it a few races and Hamilton will be frustrated, probably taking it out on everyone.

  • Comment number 42.

    @F1-2-1-2-1

    Your posts, quite frankly have been very embarrassing to read. You are so blind with hatred you will not take the arguments of anyone. You just want to hate one person so much that you will just take some predictions from thin air to put them down rather than use hard fact which everyone likes to see. You seem to forget, Hamilton beat Alonso in his rookie season and won the title not by fluke but by calculation and cool driving. Something you conveniently forget. So stop your immature behavior since you are just embarrassing yourself.

    Oh and when you use the "your a Hammy fanboy" I aint actually. I prefer Button more. But I respect Hamilton as he is a good racer and is fun to watch. I am looking forward to a strong season from Hamilton next year and maybe even a surprise WDC from this season.

  • Comment number 43.

    Adios and good riddance. Not a team player unless its his team

  • Comment number 44.

    Mr. Benson...
    An article about LH and still you manage to have a POP at MSC.
    It would also seem that the vast majority of bloggers agree that LH is a mediocre driver in a good car!
    Will you ever have anything to write that is worthy of being deemed accurate and interesting.

  • Comment number 45.

    It is either the stupidest move he has made or the most brilliant. Hamilton has been intensely loyal to McLaren, and it is a shame to see him go. Everything depends on how mercedes do things ; reliable fast car or not? I fear Mercedes wants to cut its budget, not strengthen it, and his new contract will lead to a dead end. What team will want a driver whose attitude is among the worst in F1? I hopre he is right.

  • Comment number 46.

    @3 - what a joke of a comment! What do you mean you hamilton haven't paid his dues? what about all the years in junior formula's he had to race to be where he is now? I would agree his lack of experience costed him world championship in 2007! But to challenge two time world champion in his debut season is something special and he could not have achieved it without talent.

    I cannot believe the number of Lewis Hamilton haters. It must be so painful for you all to see someone being successful and making money!

    What a bunch of losers!

  • Comment number 47.

    Come on. Truth is hamilton really wanted to stay on, but Mcl clearly did not want him. Its really that simple. You want to know why? they offered him LESSSS initially. That was Mcl saying, beat it dude. That really hurt Lewis, especially that the team, that he undoubtedly made successful to a certain extent, turned their attention to Button. Fair play, Button is a class act on his day, but he came in and sort of 'took over'. This decision is the best LH has made in a while....
    From top 3 team to top 4, watch this space... chip on ma shoulder!

  • Comment number 48.

    Also, good luck Lewis. Its going to feel amazing if you do win a race, hearing Das Lied der Deutschen after God Save The King

  • Comment number 49.

    While I understand that Hamilton wants a fresh challenge, he couldn't honestly complain that McLaren have delivered the fastest car at the start of the season and are still the fastest car now. Plus, it will be harder work for Mercedes because they will have to adapt their car to Hamilton's aggressive driving style but also accomadate Rosberg, who has a much smoother driving style. McLaren on the other hand have Button and Perez who both have smooth driving styles. I can also understand that Hamilton is trying to help a team progress to championships but if we were to trust either Schumacher or Hamilton to help out on the technical side, we would choose Schumacher. Still should be interesting to see Hamilton in a Silver Arrow. Another question is who is going to give up the yellow helmet (probably Rosberg).

  • Comment number 50.

    Hamilton won his only season in GP2 by a country mile. He also won in F3, by over 350 points more than his nearest rival. In his fourth F3 race, he put his car on pole, in Macau, never having seen the track before. IN 2005, he won 16 from 20 races.

    To say he is not very quick, is about as childish as saying he's not very good; he's demonstrably both.

    That Mclaren fought with Mclaren to keep him, pay him more than his team mate and offer him better terms, speaks more about his ability, than anyone on here, simply filled with hatred.

  • Comment number 51.

    Everyone needs a change sometimes (good or bad) -- you desperately crave for something different. May be Hamilton went into that zone.
    Benson as usual in every article hypes up everything and writes garbage simply: "biggest driver movement in three years" (Kimi's entry in 2012 was disregarded because of no reason except his personal view), "fastest driver in F1" -- with that car like McLaren anyone except Button can drive very fast, "McLaren fastest since 2005" -- does he mean fastest over everyone by a second or just fastest as comparable to others? If it is former, then 2007 and 2008 will be called as good years also.
    Ron Dennis even at this age appears like a grumpy old guy. People like to move to better pastures and even those whom you nurtured. So he should have let of Lewis smilingly. Reminds me of someone in my office who never lets go of his subordinates and makes life difficult for them when he comes to know if someone is leaving.

  • Comment number 52.

    @41

    Great rant - However, the Mercedes team is based in the UK where the cars and engines are built and the team management is British.

    Appart from that all good stuff.

  • Comment number 53.

    @51: "if it is former" should read as "if it is latter".

  • Comment number 54.

    I hope McLaren continue their success without Lewis...
    Bring back Ron Dennis..

    How dare Hamilton wear the colours of the Great Ayrton Senna is beyond me...

  • Comment number 55.

    Whatever Hamilton says, he was swayed by the money. The mental gymnastics that is required to justify the move on the basis of likelihood of wins is great. Don't agree with me? Then trot along to any betting site and look at the odds. Bookies are smart and reflect the consensus. Odds are that Hamilton is less likely to win championship next year than Button or Perez. ergo he went for the money even he doesn't know it himself!

  • Comment number 56.

    For all their posturing and promises, Mercedes are at heart still the BAR/Honda perennial underachievers who won the title once through a clever interpretion of a vaguely-worded technical specification.

  • Comment number 57.

    @46

    He hasn't paid his dues in F1 - everyone comes through one way or another, but in F1 he has been handed one of the best drives straight away...

  • Comment number 58.

    Bit of a shake up makes it more interesting. The way the BBC pundits big up Di Resta I would have thought he would have gone to Mclaren. Maybe he is going elsewhere? Be good to see what Hamilton can do in a Mercedes. Could be even more frustrating. Reckon Button's more progressive attitude to competition has got to him and he wants that No1 status!

  • Comment number 59.

    @F1-2-1-2-1 So if that's the case, how come Alonso rates LH as his most feared rival... ? I always find that the LH detractors are rather illogical and often factually inaccurate. Also, Button has often said that LH is one of the fastest drivers in F1 history. So your assertions do not stack up. You have to be pretty special to be as fast as -and beat - a reigning double WDC in your rookie season.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 4 lol di resta beat vettel in f3 and? lewis will out qualify Rosberg its just how is meant to be

  • Comment number 61.

    @Dazzer In fact the money offered was pretty well the same. LH detractors again getting their facts all wrong...

  • Comment number 62.

    Hamilton always has something to moan about. He is the reason that Alonso left MacLaren because he was not the No 1 in the team. This appears to be the same reason now, as Button is every much as good a driver that he is.

    I would say that they now regret letting Alonso leave instead of Hamilton, as Alonso is a much better driver than Hamilton will ever be, along with what seems to have a better understanding of how a car works.

    I am not surprised that he has left, as he probably has in his contract that he will be the number 1 driver, eventhough Nico did beat him in F3, along with alot more money!!

    I am glad to see Perez in the car now, as I would say that himself and Button will make a very good team together, more so than anybody could do with Hamilton and his ultra ego, to which he has still to prove. He won the world championship with the best car by miles, and it was only on the last corner in the last race that he did win it.

    I am not a fan of Hamilton, as I think he has the wrong attitude when it comes to other drivers and team mates.

  • Comment number 63.

    here's how it will work, button will feel like the "man" at maclaren so he should be, but than Perez would get the feel of the car and will start to out qualify button, button will complain, the tyres were going off, the balance of the car and blah blah, the right rare was going off, Button will congratulate Perez on out qualifying him, than button will go off to make a master plan to get Perez off the team.

  • Comment number 64.

    Hamilton needed a fresh start, it was getting stale for him at Macca. Although I don't buy into this argument that Merc, with the new regs, will necessarily have an advantage in 2014, just because they will be building their own engines for their own cars. The 2009 Brawn was originally designed and built around a Honda engine.

  • Comment number 65.

    Agree with @28 LC1 I respect him much more for this. It takes guts to take a risk rather than just sit with what is comfortable even if you know it isn't quite right. If people didn't challenge the norm than the world would stagnate, no? He could have easily parked his butt at McC and gone through the motions! What other scenarios could this apply to?! ;-) I should imagine most on this blog just go through the motions in life, is it exciting? I always try and mix it up sometimes, couldn't bear it otherwise!
    The loyalty argument doesn't work 14 years of loyalty is plenty from both sides! He has a chance to build a team with Brawn and do something only greats have done - it may work it may not, but he is trying and many won't!
    I don't know why people keep repeating money and his lifestyle- Brawn has said more money wasn't offered, he will be getting less then Alonso and Vettel and both Andrew B and EJ have already said this, what more do u want? Like the Tories keep repeating the same lie over and over again and people will finally believe u.
    Also does no one remember Playboy Jenson, far more outrageous than the teetotal one girlfriend LH in his day! Hardly rock and roll is he? Seems v focused to me! No one hating JB for this, quite rightly!
    I can't wait to see Rosberg and Ham at Merc and Perez at McC will be awesome. The driver line up was getting stale a shake up once in a while is good for the sport!
    @28 I think we are in the minority though! Sad really, LH is a top 3 driver and he's British why are we hating him?! Jealous perhaps? I

  • Comment number 66.

    @63 - Can you take your drivel some where else!

  • Comment number 67.

    Looking at this year's races one can understand Hamilton's frutration at the errors made by his McLaren Team. But let us remember that Lewis had make a few mistakes of his own. My view is that he has now made the biggest mistake of his life. If he wants to win then he should have signed with McLaren,

  • Comment number 68.

    "I know we made a very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula 1 driver is enjoying today, other than himself," Martin Whitmarsh about Hamilton move.

    'Nuff said from the horse's mouth! It clearly wasn't about money as I have been saying. MW also said they couldn't have offered him anymore to make him stay. His time at McC has come to natural end. Can we stop the money thing it detracts from the real debate - Will Hamilton's risk pay off? Did he make right decision? I am not the oracle but I hope it does. Brave move! Good luck Lewis! Personally I believe McC will be ok with Perez and Button and LH will benefit from the guidance and experience of Brawn. I just hope he hasn't sacrificed his title hopes but he must believe in brawn to make such a big move.... Sorry musing....!

  • Comment number 69.

    No question this move is a gamble but so was the move of Schumacher to Ferrari in 1996, a team in greater strife than Mercedes are at present.
    It must also be remembered Mclaren may have a great pedigree for winning races but championships have been few and far between in the last 14 years.
    Mclaren last won a constructors title in 1998 and a drivers title in 2008.
    Mclaren have also lost a prodigious talent in Hamilton. Even though Perez is an exciting young talent he is largely unproven and Button will probably struggle to achieve the consistency of high performances Hamilton always provided at Mclaren.
    Should Mercedes get their act together in the next 18 or so months then the Mercedes/Hamilton partnership could be awesome.
    If all goes pear shaped Lewis could still jump ship and rejoin Mclaren or head to Red Bull in the future. Vettel may join Ferrari in 2014 and Webber is close to retirement so Red Bull will need a heavyweight replacement.
    One final thing, I think it is important somebody provides counsel to Schumacher. He must retire now and not defile his achievements any further by joining Sauber.

  • Comment number 70.

    Difficult for drivers to make a judgement of which team will be better with all of the engineering changes coming up, Mclaren haven't been able to really cut the mustard for the past few seasons so who says they will in the next few seasons. At a reported £60m contract for Lewis it's heads he wins tails he wins.

  • Comment number 71.

    So if Lewis goes to Mercedes and ends up about as fast as Nico, will Benson say sorry to Schumacher for all the bad press he has given him this year?

    dident think so.

    Why do we need this bloke to state the bleeding obvious and get paid for it?

  • Comment number 72.

    I think this move makes F1 even more exciting next season. I like the fact that the five world champions are all at different teams now (maybe all six if Schumacher signs for Sauber).

    However I think Lewis may have to sit tight and take the flack until the new regs in 2014 as I cannot see Merc being any better than the fourth best team next year (I can see them maybe overtaking Lotus).

    I also think that Lewis has seen this move as his only option. I think from his perspective things had become intoilerable for him at Mclaren. I think if he could of had a one year deal at Mclaren he would have taken it, knowing he was in the best possible car he could get and look to move in 2014. However Mclaren would were never going to allow that or a one year get out clause, etc.

  • Comment number 73.

    I wonder why McL didn't go for Di Resta, an all British line up what could be better.

    Shame really

  • Comment number 74.

    @73

    because Perez has performed better than Di Resta on the whole this year??

  • Comment number 75.

    I can see Lewis Hamilton returning to Mclaren at a later point. Nigel Mansell drove for Williams, left for Ferrari and then came back. Drivers change teams all the time and some of them go back. Circumstances change.

  • Comment number 76.

    "If you can't stand the heat, get out of ..." Interesting that Alonso bleated and ran when the whippersnapper Hamilton embarrassed him as a rookie and then Button proved his mettle at McLaren. It is no good to the marketing men to have an awkward competitor in the same team. Logical for him to move when, no doubt, he heard Ros's persuasive siren song. And the money ain't bad!

  • Comment number 77.

    28.
    At 17:16 28th Sep 2012, LC1 wrote:

    I maybe on my own but I actually respect Hamilton for this decision. Staying at Mclaren would have been the easier choice but he has challenged himself in taking this potentially risky decision. It is not true to say that he has not paid his dues because his seat in 2007 was reliant on his success on the way there, including comprehensively winning GP2 the year before. Mclaren haven't delivered for him since his winning year in 2008.

    I am looking forward to next season more than ever.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Spot on, He has taken the risky option that if it works could be the defining moment of his career. Everyone will remember Schumi for his success at Ferrari when he joined a Team in the doldrums and converted them back to a giant force in F1, if this works Hamilton could do the same for Mercedes.

  • Comment number 78.

    I wasn't going to comment any further on this move given I've made my points on other blogs, but having read the first few ludicrous comments below this article, my hand has been forced...

    @1 - Gavelaa

    McClaren have won the drivers title once this century, and that was with Hamilton. They haven't even managed one constructors title this century. Mercedes/Brawn have won both more recently, and when they did it was off the back of big rule changes as are due next year. Hamilton hasn't lost any credibility with this move, but you have with your comments. If you think Whitmarsh will deliver more success than Brawn, then that's your prerogative, but again it's a statement lacking credibility.

    @3 - VettelManUtd90

    Words almost fail me having read your comment which certainly wins worst of the day. To say Hamilton has pretty much signalled the end of his competitive F1 career for 3 years following this move shows a staggering lack of knowledge for the sport, the people involved in the move and...well everything. Then to back that comment up with reasoning Ferrari and Red Bull are works teams makes it look even more nonsensical. You finish up by saying Hamilton never paid his dues in the sport, and was gifted a world title. What gifted a title more than say Button at where was it...oh yes Brawn? Aside from Lewis' success leading up to F1, you also seem to biasedly forget he outpaced Alonso (the man then considered the best in F1) in his rookie year at McClaren, also getting 9 consecutive podiums, and if anything he didn't get what he deserved that year...why? Quite topically it was because McClaren made the idiotic decision to keep him out too long on wearing tyres following the weather change and that decision blew his race literally and with it a guaranteed title.

    @4 - F1-2-1-2-1

    How can you accuse Benson of talking nonsense and bias for suggesting Lewis is the fastest F1 driver and then claim only him, Brundle and some fanboys think he is the faster driver and 'NO ONE ELSE DOES'!

    Err I think you'll find most intelligent viewers of the sport, and those with direct experience of the sport think he is either the fastest driver, arguably the fastest, or at the very least one of the top 3 fastest in a debate with Vettel and Alonso. When side by side in the same car in his rookie year with Alonso you could see his pace direct to the Spaniard, and obviously we can only debate when it comes to Vettel given the differences in cars. To say it's nonsense and bias for anyone to think Hamilton is the fastest is in itself nonsensical and bias.

  • Comment number 79.

    The most bizarre thing about this whole affair is that Eddie Jordan got it right. Now that is plain amazing. I'll be looking out of the window for flying pigs tomorrow.

  • Comment number 80.

    To say Hamilton is clumsy is like saying Usain bolt is slow, how rediculous! I never understood the Hamilton haters, Vettel yes with his one finger salute, Maldonado with his intentional ramming of other drivers but Hamilton? Its got to be pure jealousy. Also who cares about who beat who in F3, or GP2 or whatever it was, this is F1 and the only person you can compare is your team mate. I seem to remember Hamilton beating team mate Alonso on race wins in 2007, Kovolainen in 2008, 2009, Button in 2010 and only last year was he beaton when he clearly had personal problems and lost focus.

  • Comment number 81.

    @78, I agree with you with the exception of you blaming McLaren for China 2007. Hamilton was the one driving and the only one who knew how much grip he had on his tyres. In variable conditions like that, telemetry data isn't enough. I have to say that the blame there rests on Hamilton's shoulders.

    On every other front however, correct. Though those 4 comments certainly set themselves up for it.

  • Comment number 82.

    This @F1-2-1-2-1 guy's havin a laugh, he's not a lewis fan fair enough, but why would you bother backing up your comments with basic lies?! Luckily, it seems a few of you have put him/her straight already so it's not just me that thinks he/she doesn't know what they're on about

  • Comment number 83.

    Really makes me laugh when people say Hamilton has fanboys... The people who support Hamilton are the true F1 fans! Where were all the Button fans when he was racing for Honda? Button's fans are fanboys, who are so blind to see that he isn't that good. Not a part of me rates Button as a racer, he's so average it's ridiculous - if the car isn't completely perfect then he won't do anything, he always moans about the rear-grip but I guess no one picks up on that because he's such a 'nice guy'. Even, Fernando Alonso said that Hamilton is the only driver he fears because he can win whether the car is good or bad. Anyone who say's Hamilton is overrated is plainly ludicrous to say such a thing..

  • Comment number 84.

    also, Hamilton moans for genuine reasons. EVERY TIME Button performs poorly he moans about the lack of grip, he struggles to get out of Q2 and moans because he has no grip. Hammy also moans because he has the pace to win and is more vocal about it, Button has the pace to take a conservative 5th place

  • Comment number 85.

    @62 - sorry Button didn't win the World Championship with the best car did he? Brawn took advantage of the rule changes and Button got lucky. Around the mid point of the season Red Bull started to catch Brawn up. I could be wrong in saying Button didn't win a race from the 9th race onwards....

  • Comment number 86.

    @79

    Eddie only got this right because Bernie wanted him to. He needed somebody to stoke the flames - Eddie was his prodding tool...

  • Comment number 87.

    @ #4 F1-2-1-2-1

    you are dismissing this journalist's and everybody else's opinions on here like you are an expert on F1. do you work in F1? have you ever driven an F1 car?

    to dismiss martin brundle's view that hamilton is one of the fastest drivers in F1 at the moment like he is some kind of joker who sky have just plucked off the street is laughable. he knows more about F1 than you could even contemplate, because he's been there and done it

    i would stop embarrassing yourself by spurting out biased, anti-hamilton dribble like your opinion is gospel and nobody else's opinion, including the experts, could ever be correct because you dont share the same view. its incredibly arrogant

    you are allowed to disagree with somebody, but writing comments as if you are the only one who is factually correct is typical of the barrage of wanna be journalists who flood these blog pages every day.

    try writing it as your view point rather than a factual put down of everybody else

  • Comment number 88.

    This could either be the making of Lewis or a great failure. As people have stated, he has had a very comfortable time in F1, driving for a great team. Maybe he feels questions marks over his career will always remain unless he takes a team with clear ambitions but limited success and wins a WDC. Brawn and Mercedes have obviously sold him on their vision for the next 3 years of F1. If it doesn't work he will still only be 30 and still have time on his side to go chasing titles.

  • Comment number 89.

    @65. At 18:43 28th Sep 2012, Winny

    A very enjoyable post. I could not agree more. Benson and many others are over-analyzing.
    Hamilton went partly because, well, life`s too short.
    I think the Mercs will look very tasty in 2013 from about race 5.

  • Comment number 90.

    Trust me.... Hamilton will severley regret this decision for the rest of his life!!

    He does not have the correct mental attitude for F1. Fantastic driver - yes. BUT lacking in attitude and loyalty!

  • Comment number 91.

    hamilton is better than alonso,alonso will wipe the floor with vettel,webber and button are lucky drivers,perez and the others are not good enough,etc,etc....
    what a pile of delusion and rubbish

    F1 IS a sport for teams, a spectacle ("show") for followers, a good business for the people involved and an addicton for the drivers.

    no one is denying what some drivers have achieved (even sacrificed) or may in the future but you CANNOT say he/she is the best out there UNTILL EVERY MAN IS GIVEN EQUAL MACHINERY
    and beaten all the others. there are simply too many variables to single out one individual at present.

    i have been watching f1 for 11 years and thoroughly enjoyed 2009 and 2012 seasons for the difference between top car and bottom car is comparitively small.

    i am sure the comment will draw negativity from the fanboys but just maybe some people out there will recognize the logic behind it.

    it is only a dream but maybe someday there will be a TRUE world drivers championship where every driver is driving the same (very fast technically) car around the most challenging
    tracks and conditions(not valencia, abu dhabi, bahrain but suzuka, spa, singapore/monaco) in the world and proven their true worth by beating the others.

    I KNOW IT WONT HAPPEN BUT NEVER SAY NEVER.....

  • Comment number 92.

    British media report Hamilton will make a minimum of £15m per year with mercedes, a rise of £5m per year on his current Mclaren deal. Who wouldnt move if offered that deal? End of.

  • Comment number 93.

    Sometimes in life you have remain faithful even when your team are not performing. Hamilton has forgotten who dragged him from oblivion and polished his skills. I hope he fails miserably at Mercedes. If he can sleep at night excusing his actions with "I am moving to win" when its all about a pay packet that is already full.... rest easy Lewis......watch Jensen's butt for most of next year but enjoy the cash !

  • Comment number 94.

    Yawn...another "my driver is faster than your driver!" Argument after an interesting blog.

    I do though love how the anti-Button and anti-Hamilton fans go at eachothers throats at the drop of a hat. Lightens my days!

    Sad to see Hamilton leave McLaren, but wish him all the best. And for all the "Lewis is the fastest driver on the grid"-hype he is receiving, I hope that Rosberg doesn't match or beat him...all the delirious fan-boys are going to explode! Hamilton's in rage and Button's in glee! A serious question though: what do you people think of Lewis's time at McLaren? From his perspective? Ultimately an overall success or failure? For me, I think it's been more a failure, because Lewis hasn't yet shown the consistency to deliver the prizes his speed promises...

    Good luck Lewis and Sergio in your new ventures!

  • Comment number 95.

    "... was Hamilton's decision based on cold, hard logic, rooted primarily in performance... or founded on emotion?"

    Hamilton isn't the sort of guy who always makes cool, sensible decisions, on or off the track. He's prone to terrible, impetuous lunges - many bringing bans last year for accidents; and longer ago when he tried an insane lunge past Massa at Monza in 2010, for example. Also there have been misjudgments off track, like the dreadful leaking of McLaren telemetry at Spa.

    Even more, there's been Hamilton's slow decay from a full-on racing driver into a media celebrity, hence the diamond earrings, pop star girlfriend, red carpets... how many F1 drivers pose like that, these days? Button was warned as a young driver, by Briatore, that he was too keen on the trappings of F1 - yachts, parties - and not keen enough on the hard work. He learned, and changed: Hamilton has gone the other way.

    Hamilton if fearsomely talented, but he lacks the cold ruthlessness of Schumacher in his pomp. Brawn is brilliant too, but he's won driver's titles with three teams already, an astonishing feat - and asking for a fourth might be too much. Both may be past their best.

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm not sure this is the best career move by Lewis. I am not a Hamilton fan but you don't have to be to realise this is a terrible move - McLaren are guaranteed to be in the title hunt in at least 1 in every 2 seasons going by the last 10 years.

    The Mercedes car on the other hand is a dog of a car. People forget that when Schumacher took Ferrari from the doldrums there was so much more testing available, there was the opportunity to take an average car and really work with it by putting in hour after hour. Hamilton, while he will undoubtedly bring a lot of positives to the table in terms of the car's development, won't have the same opportunities to take the team and make it his as Schumacher did at Ferrari.

    I look forward to next season purely because we will see Mercedes win 1 or 2 races max again and it will be shown that Nico and Schumacher have got just about as much out of that dog of a car as is physically possible.

    All the chat about Schumacher joining Sauber as well - truth be told, he should probably retire and hopefully end this season on a high. The ironic thing is though that he would have had a better chance of winning a race this season / scoring more points if he was in a Sauber, which seems the far more impressive outfit this season. Rosberg's win in China has well and truly masked how bad a team Mercedes have been this year.

    So in sum, Lewis will be richer in pocket and many, many opportunities around the world will open to him now (i.e. definitely this will help open the doors further to a possible racing career in America should he wish it). However, he will be poorer in race wins, pole positions and world championships. It will be like Fernando Alonso's 2 seasons back at Renault.

  • Comment number 97.

    Hamilton will need to wait at least a couple of year before he can challenge or even win the title with Mercedes. At the moment Mercedes's F1 cars are simply not good enough to challenge for the title and as fast and competitive as Red Bull's, Ferrari's and McLaren's F1 cars.

  • Comment number 98.

    Interesting points raised - it was particularly interesting to hear about the deterioration of Hamilton's relationship with Ron Dennis.

    However, the quality of this written piece leaves a lot to be desired with its poor structure and endless lists. Questions raised in the conclusion are not discussed in the body of the piece, leaving the reader bemused as to where they came from.

    It is a sad indictment of the modern world that command of English can be forsaken by the world's leading broadcaster if a piece is given the title "blog".

  • Comment number 99.

    There is the one incontrovertible fact that Mercedes think Hamilton good enough to pay him more than McLaren and move out Schumacher who they had wooed back to F1. Yet none of this occurs to the keyboard warriors. Not a Hamilton 'fan' but yet to come across another driver who attracts such blind, illogical prejudice (either way).

  • Comment number 100.

    Love it, Hamilton has thrown away his career because he can be sold volcano insurance! Brawn has done the team building thing once and won one title from a massive loop hole exploitation. No chance that will happen again in 2014.

    Hamilton's ego and greed has destroyed a talented driver, and better yet given Perez a chance to show how and why he is the real next big thing. 14-1 for him to win the title next year almost seems stupid not too, Perez is the only real winner in this situation, and for once I am happy with Hamilton's actions because of the outcome.

    MSc back to Ferrari for one final season too, Massa is gone either way and will tour round in a Sauber. Seems a more sensible solution to events...

 

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