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Lewis Hamilton is leaving McLaren to ‘grow up’

By Malcolm Folley PUBLISHED: 17:45 EST, 8 December 2012 | UPDATED: 17:45 EST, 8 December 2012 Lewis Hamilton walked out of the McLaren headquarters on Friday after delivering a heartfelt and candid farewell speech to the workforce who supported his journey to Formula One stardom. Hamilton’s relationship may have soured with McLaren chairman Ron Dennis, the man who bankrolled him for 14 years from his childhood days as a karting prodigy, but he relished the opportunity to explain personally why he has chosen to drive for Mercedes from next year. ‘It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,’ admitted Hamilton, granted a dignified departure by McLaren, a rare privilege in a sport renowned for being heartless when drivers switch allegiance. Heavy heart: Lewis Hamilton said he is leaving McLaren to grow up Yet it was the right moment, insisted Hamilton, for him to explore life beyond the boundaries of McLaren. ‘It is to do with the process of growing up, of leaving home,’ he said. ‘That’s why I am taking the next step, to grow as a driver and as a human being.’ Yet Hamilton, who was leading his last race for McLaren in Brazil a fortnight ago when he was driven off the circuit by Nico Hulkenberg, acknowledged the inherent risk he has accepted by signing for Mercedes, a team with one win in three seasons. ‘The team I’m joining isn’t yet performing well,’ he said. ‘But I hope I’ll be able to help them get where they want to be.’ See you next year… Hamilton will drive for Mercedes Hamilton has been lured from McLaren to Mercedes by more than the simple economics of a threeyear contract worth £60million. He is attracted by the challenge of attempting to become the catalyst for the Mercedes team’s development – and future success – under Englishman Ross Brawn, who worked a similar alchemy with Michael Schumacher during their time together, first with Benetton, then with Ferrari. Hamilton is banking on Brawn – and Mercedes – making capital gains when new 1.4 turbo engines are introduced to Formula One for the 2014 season. Importantly, Hamilton also wants to be freed of the influence of Dennis, which in recent years has become claustrophobic. Dennis similarly fell out with Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, although all of them would testify to the brilliance of his leadership and vision for McLaren. So…

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Posted by admin 9 December 2012

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