Whitmarsh said at the time of the announcement in September 2012 that he believed it was “a mistake” for Hamilton to join Mercedes for the 2013 season.
Since then, the 35-year-old Briton has won five more world championships – in addition to his first with McLaren in 2008 – is on track for a seventh overall record, and has added 70 more race wins to tie Michael Schumacher. total of 91.
In contrast, since Hamilton left eight years ago, McLaren has not won any races and only had five podiums.
Hamilton’s call to leave McLaren, to which he had been attached since the age of 13, was widely questioned at the time and he recently acknowledged that it was “one of the most difficult decisions. ” to take.
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He said informing Whitmarsh, then McLaren’s team manager, that he was due to leave the team in the fall of 2012 was a particularly difficult conversation to have.
“Calling my boss, calling Martin in particular, was one of the toughest calls I’ve ever had to make,” Hamilton said, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I hope he forgave me now! I think so because he understands, but ultimately I think it was the right decision.
“I knew it was the right decision for me personally and I think that’s how life is in general. No one can tell you what to do, only you will know personally what is right or wrong for yourself.
“No one can influence this decision. As long as you are doing your homework you have to do what is right for you and at that time that is what I did.
Hamilton reiterated the thought processes he had that led him to make the decision to switch to Mercedes.
He said: “Without the support from McLaren I wouldn’t have made it to Formula 1, being that it’s so expensive, so there was no way, as a family, that we would have the kind of money that other families are able to spend. sport.
“So my loyalty was to them, but at the time, I had to think about what the future held for me and what I wanted to be a part of.
“I wanted to be part of a team that maybe hadn’t been as successful, that was growing, and I wanted to be a part of that growing journey, building something relatively new.
“It was an exciting challenge and I didn’t know how long it would take before we could win. But I really believed we would get there at some point.
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