Lewis Hamilton admits that it is hard to watch the demise of McLaren who have gone from perennial grand prix winners to back of the grid strugglers, after all this is his former team who were instrumental in turning him from a karting wonder-boy into a Formula 1 superstar.
It is well known that Hamilton’s early racing career was nurtured by McLaren and mentored by Ron Dennis, through the junior categories to his Formula 1 debut in 2007 and on to his first F1 world championship title win in 2008.
But in 2012 Hamilton announced that he would depart the Woking outfit for Mercedes. The news prompted an outcry from British media and many questioned the wisdom of such a move.
At that point McLaren were a power with Hamilton and teammate Jenson Button scoring three wins apiece, while Mercedes with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher only managed a single win that year.
With Schumacher retiring, Hamilton was lured to the team by Niki Lauda and subsequently endured negative press regarding his decision, but he stuck to his guns and the rest is now history.
Fast forward to the current V6 turbo era and there is absolutely no way that Hamilton is regretting his decision.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal at the time, was totally wrong when he told media at the time, “Mercedes is a great partner of ours and they are a great team. But for anyone leaving McLaren, and he wants to win, I think that’s a mistake because I have faith and belief in this team.”
Hamilton, who since leaving Woking has collected 17 wins plus another F1 world title and maybe two come the end of this season, is nevertheless sad to see his former team relegated to the back of the grid.
“We all know it’s been difficult for them this year. It’s definitely hard for me to see that,” said Hamilton. “It is a great team, such a huge team, that’s had such great success and it’s a team that I was a part of for many years.”
“It feels very abnormal to see them in the position they are in right now. But you’ve got the great Ron Dennis there, a lot of great engineers, and a team spirit which eventually I believe will pull through.”
“It is a dark place for them right now but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel,” added Hamilton