Hamilton’s move to Mercedes will be good for him
By David Coulthard
30th September 2012 10:33 AM
A few weeks ago, after Eddie Jordan first broke the news that Lewis Hamilton had agreed terms with Mercedes, I speculated that change could be a good thing for Lewis. I’m going to go one step further now and argue that change was essential. Sometimes relationships just reach their natural conclusion. It’s funny hearing Martin Whitmarsh saying that Lewis is making a “mistake” in joining Mercedes because I can remember him talking to my then manager Martin Brundle towards the end of my time at McLaren, saying that our relationship had reached its natural conclusion. He was right. And to me this is exactly the same thing — Lewis’ relationship with McLaren had run its course. You don’t live your whole life at home. At some stage you have to move out. Grow up. Become a man. This is that moment for Lewis. After arriving in F1 in a blaze of glory, it has not been plain sailing. Lewis has made mistakes and had to do his growing up in the public spotlight. But he is trying to take control of his own destiny. One by one he has moved out of the shadows cast by his father, Anthony, by Ron Dennis, and now Martin, the McLaren team principal, as well.
But will he win championships with Mercedes? That, after all, is how he will be judged, isn’t it? Well, no. How many championships did Sir Stirling Moss win? Or Gilles Villeneuve? They are both remembered as brilliant racing drivers and iconic figures in F1 history. It isn’t all about winning. It is at least as much about the journey. Lewis has taken a big gamble in joining Mercedes but you could only say it was a mistake in retrospect. The fact is Mercedes have all the ingredients to do well – financial clout, a great engine, experienced personnel, forthcoming regulation changes which should level the field – and the best drivers are the ones who are able to make a cake out of those ingredients.
Fernando Alonso is a great example. He is like a conductor; he has everyone at Ferrari playing for him. Lewis has that challenge now, to see if he can be part of a new and exciting project. One thing is for certain, it is going to be fascinating watching it all play out. Lewis’ move may or may not work for him, or Mercedes, or McLaren, but it has thrown a live grenade into the paddock. The rest of this season has now taken on a different hue.
The writer is a former F1 driver
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