Sunday, 27 January 2013

Lewis Hamilton: Freedom to create success at Mercedes

On 28th September 2012 the world of Formula One received the much awaited news regarding Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes for the 2013 season.  The announcement of his liberation from the team he grew up with, McLaren, sparked much discussion and opinion about whether the correct decision had been made. 

Lewis starts work at Mercedes

Four months later, having started work for his new team, Lewis seems like a reformed character, demonstrating renewed vigour and motivation for his driving.  The road to advancement seemed to commence with immediate effect once the decision to unchain himself from McLaren was made.  His qualifying performances at the end of the season provided tangible evidence of this as he clocked up two Pole Positions, two second, and one third place.  In addition to this, he took the inaugural win in Austin, and although he suffered disappointing retirements in Abu Dhabi and Brazil, he could have won both.  No longer constrained by McLaren, Lewis was able to express himself fully on the race track.

Win in Austin

Exuding positivity about his move and fresh challenge at Mercedes, Lewis has expressed his aspiration to be part of their transformation from mediocre to Top Dog.  He told the Sun newspaper,

"To be great is turning something that is not particularly good into something special.  Such as working with this team and turning them into the most successful team in the sport."

"To turn it into the most successful team of it's era is a prospect that is exciting.  If we are able to do that it will be quite special."

At McLaren, Lewis was part of a team with a history of success.  His role was to maintain that success by delivering the goods at the end of the chain.  After six seasons of delivering to the best of his ability, elements of feeling 'stuck in a rut' appeared to start creeping in.  Joining Mercedes on the journey to success, with more freedom at his fingertips, he can go from the end of the chain to being an integral link.  

During an interview on the Sky Sports season review, Martin Whitmarsh admitted that McLaren could be over controlling.  This creates an atmosphere that is conducive to nurturing young drivers but can inhibit talents and skills as they grow.   Lewis Hamilton needed to make this move to avoid just 'being'.  Freeing himself from the shackles at McLaren has given him the optimism and motivation to prove himself at a different level.  Maybe Sebastian Vettel should take notes...

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