Whitmarsh: Hamilton has had regrets about leaving McLaren

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh believes that Lewis Hamilton has had moments of regret about moving to Mercedes for 2013 since the deal was announced

Whitmarsh: Hamilton has had regrets about leaving McLaren

The 2008 world champion's future was resolved in the week following the Singapore Grand Prix, when it was announced that he will replace Michael Schumacher alongside Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Hamilton has already played down his hopes for next season, and he has spoken of his desire to turn Mercedes into a top team as being one of the prime reasons behind his move.

But his current boss Whitmarsh, speaking to formula1.com, believes that Hamilton will have had some doubts about the switch since it was confirmed.

When asked if Hamilton has regretted his decision, Whitmarsh said: "I think he has on occasions, yes.

"Probably, when you make a decision you have to tell yourself that the decision is made so you have to look forward."

He added that it was only natural for Hamilton to highlight the positives behind switching to a team further down the grid than McLaren.

"You have to justify your decision," he said. "He's not going to say 'hey, they offered me more money'. He's also not going to say that he's made an awful mistake.

"I hope he thinks today that he's made an awful mistake and I hope he thinks that next year.

"He's made that decision and he has to live with that decision."

Whitmarsh also said that he still doesn't know why Hamilton left, and that he feels that the Briton was wrong to make his decision in the wake of his disappointing retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix.

"The simple answer is that I don't know," he said when asked what the reasons were for Hamilton's move.

"If I were speculating there are a number of factors and the prime one, I think, is that there comes a time when a man feels he has to flee the nest.

"He has been with us for so many years that I do not fully understand it.

"He told me right after Singapore and I am pretty sure he hadn't made his mind up until the Monday or Tuesday after Singapore.

"It is always bad to make a decision in the aftermath of a bad race.

"I respect his decision, but I believe that he would be better off with us - we are the stronger team - and we intend to beat him next year."

AUTOSPORT SAYS
F1 editor Edd Straw

If Lewis Hamilton did have any pangs of regret at turning his back on McLaren and moving to underachieving Mercedes, they won't have been eased by the recent form of the Brackley team.

In the four races since Hamilton signed his deal - Japan, Korea, India and Abu Dhabi - Mercedes pairing Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have failed to score a point. And despite coming close with Schumacher in the latter race before a puncture intervened, without high attrition, he wouldn't even have been in that position.

During those four races, Rosberg and Schumacher have been marginal top 10 qualifiers, the former impressing on Saturday in India and Abu Dhabi, but faded in the races even when on-track misfortune didn't intervene.

On the plus side for Hamilton, development work has focused on understanding parts for next year, meaning that this rocky patch could potentially lead to the 2013 car being stronger out of the box.

That's the theory anyway...

JAPAN  Start Finish Nico Rosberg 13th Retired Michael Schumacher 23rd 11th KOREA Nico Rosberg 9th Retired Michael Schumacher 10th 13th INDIA Nico Rosberg 10th 11th Michael Schumacher 14th 22nd (retired) ABU DHABI Nico Rosberg 7th Retired Michael Schumacher 13th 11th 
shares
comments
United States Grand Prix: Mercedes preview quotes

Previous article

United States Grand Prix: Mercedes preview quotes

Next article

United States Grand Prix: Sauber preview quotes

United States Grand Prix: Sauber preview quotes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams McLaren
Author Glenn Freeman
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021