Lewis Hamilton: Martin Whitmarsh assumed I’d be staying at McLaren
Lewis Hamilton admits his decision to quit McLaren and join Mercedes from next season took some team members by surprise
Lewis Hamilton admits it he found it “very tough” telling McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh that he would be leaving the team to join Mercedes next year.
Hamilton agreed a three-year deal with Mercedes in September following months of speculation over the 27-year-old’s future.
The Brit says his move was purely motivated by his desire for a “new challenge” but concedes that some McLaren team members did not see it coming.
“I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge and have done for quite some time,” Hamilton told F1 Racing magazine.
“There were a lot of assumptions from people. I think Martin [Whitmarsh] assumed I would be staying, so when I made the call to him it was very tough and very emotional.
“Emotions were here, the mind thinking there. The heart was fighting the mind but I was in a comfortable place and just said: ‘Let’s do it.'”
Hamilton is preparing for the second-to-last race of the season at this weekend’s US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas – and he admits he is thrilled about returning to the States.
“I have to admit, I’m absolutely made-up that we’re going back to the States,” said Hamilton.
“It’s a fantastic country and a place where our sport truly deserves to be.
“I think the Circuit Of The Americas looks like it could also be the place modern Formula 1 finally calls home.
“I’ve only driven it on the computer and in the simulator, but I think it’s going to be a track that drivers enjoy, which produces some great, close racing, and which fans will quickly love.
“This is a new circuit, a new challenge and a new opportunity – I’m definitely looking to be the first grand prix winner at the Circuit Of The Americas.”