Hamilton: McLaren offered more money than Mercedes for 2013

Lewis Hamilton during the photo call in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton during the photo call in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton claims McLaren offered him more money than Mercedes for 2013, but ultimately, the 2008 world champion opted to switch camps, with most in the paddock believing he wanted to fly the roost, make more money and enjoy a lighter off-track load.

Interestingly, however, Hamilton has told the German newsmagazine Focus that “McLaren’s offer (for 2013) was a bit more lucrative” than the Mercedes deal.

“I would have earned more there (at McLaren),” he insisted.

The German news agency SID estimates Hamilton’s new Mercedes retainer is around $100 million over three years.

Lewis Hamilton during his debut Grand Prix in Australia

Lewis Hamilton during his Grand Prix debut as a Mercedes driver in Australia

Money aside, Hamilton claims there were also sporting reasons for the switch. Indeed, given McLaren’s calamitous start with the flawed MP4-28, his choice now appears inspired.

“At McLaren it was usually that I would win four or five races (per season) but never the title at the end. This gave me the feeling that, for the long term, I’d rather go somewhere else,” said the 28-year-old.

Bernie Ecclestone told Formula 1 business journalist Christian Sylt last week that McLaren’s relationship with Hamilton had soured.

“(McLaren supremo) Ron (Dennis) said that he could have kept Lewis if he had wanted to but he didn’t want to,” the Formula 1 chief executive is quoted by Autoweek.

“Lewis told me that he would have rather taken a year off (than stay at McLaren). In fairness to Lewis, he didn’t leave McLaren over money,” Ecclestone added. “I don’t know what it was because of but it wasn’t to do with money.”

  • Speedo

    I would like to know what the Hamilton haters have to say as they have been saying that he went for more money. They crucified him without knowing the facts. He made the right choice as this years car seems to be worse than the 2009 car.

  • seeing scarlet

    I concur speedo, boy I was sure hoping Lewis would be at the front, unfortunately it seems like the he and Schumi are about the same on qualifying and result positions. So far at least, being a Ferrari Freak myself, I can only hope there is a 3 way challenge for the title between Alonso, Kimi and Lewis. That would be fun.

  • donna stanley

    i would like to point out not all Hamilton Haters said it was about money, and i am not sure the term Hamilton Haters is correct, as Maclaren Fans we were upset for him leaving as we were when David Caulthard left, no tears spilt over Alonso as his Ego was bigger than the team he was representing but on the face of it most Hamilton fans are pleased for him but feel deep down inside he will be back, and a change is as good as a rest….some of us are still agreaved also over the fact that English F1 fans now have to subscribe to SKY to see coverage of races we now only get 9 full races the rest are all highlights an as anyone knows highlights just don’t cut it

  • techinsane011

    Lewis, is Lewis, he knows how to win and winning in f1 is very important, mcLaren, just could not give him the car. Most of us that have followed Lewis through the years could see how and how frustrated he was getting with his old team. Button, said when the MP4-28 was introduced, as being very pleased with the car, after last Sunday, all that changed. Sad to see but you cannot expect a hungry driver to stay year after year and pass on winning the championship, it is just plane simple.

    Adrian Sutil and Lewis impressed me the most, I did not think the improvements to the Mercedes Engine was that huge compared to last year but they both proved me wrong.

  • froza Ferrari

    I agree with you.. But the MP4 -28 had another issue and due to a mistake it was the fastest during testing! Source-

  • froza Ferrari

    techinsane011 Sorry cannot paste link but here it is…..

    How a factory mistake made McLaren unrealistically fast in Jerez test

    McLaren’s impressive pace on the first day of testing in Jerez in February was generated by a mistake when the car was being put together in the factory, Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed to this blog.

    A suspension component was fitted incorrectly to the new car – apparently it was simply the wrong way round – and the unexpectedly low ride height that resulted happened to work well at the Spanish track. Button set the pace that day, suggesting that the MP4-28 could be the car to beat.

    However once the mistake was discovered that night, it was rectified, as the car could not be run in that state long term at other venue, especially with heavy fuel loads.

    Since then the team has struggled to get close to that initial performance, leading rivals and other observers to wonder just why the McLaren had been so impressive out of the box.

    On Friday in Australia Jenson Button pinpointed the issue by saying: “We had a set-up we didn’t think we had. It wasn’t one we could work with.”

    A little investigation has revealed that it wasn’t simply a question of a miscalculation of settings, but a part being fitted wrongly.

    “It was a part fitted incorrectly which caused us to run the car unrealistically low, that happened to play to the strengths of the car,” Whitmarsh confirmed when asked by this blog. “It wouldn’t work on a bumpy circuit like this. That’s why the car at the moment is too peaky in its performance, and that’s something we’ve got to resolve. It was a set-up which on many tracks was not realistic.”

    Whitmarsh also noted that McLaren’s extreme problems on Friday in Australia were related to trying to run the in a low configuration once again.

  • Hawk

    trust mcLaren. that car will surprise you in Shanghai. as for Lewis he would have ended in the same position 5th in the MP4-28. thats another problem McLaren has to consider, their drivers..

  • SLICK F1

    Hamilton made the right choice sometimes its not about the money,

  • Ramsayguy

    Mercedes must realize that success is more than hiring the best. If the car they drive is not sufficiently well engineered then no matter how good the driver (case in point Michael and now Lewis) podium finishes are always going to elude the team.

  • Derek Goddard

    In Lewis Hamilton’s defence the mclaren team last season was more than a joke people forget the decisions they made which over all affected lewis race for the tittle .
    Simple things like nor fueling him for the end of the race really bad pit changes not just lewis but Jenson.
    I felt very frustrated for Lewis last season, I feel bad as i am a Mclaren fan but to me it has been a bit like watching Arsenal this season . Ross Braun is a legend and I hope between him and Lewis they end Red Bulls dominance .