F1 »

Hill: Hamilton needed to leave McLaren

Damon Hill says McLaren left Lewis Hamilton with no option but to explore his options elsewhere
Former F1 champion Damon Hill says he felt McLaren left Lewis Hamilton with no option but to look for a move elsewhere having managed the Briton to 'within an inch of his life'.

It was confirmed on Friday that Hamilton will join Mercedes for the 2013 season after electing to quit the team that has guided his career since he was 13-years-old.

The move will see Hamilton leave one of the most successful teams in F1 to join one that has just a single win since taking over Brawn GP ahead of the 2010 season, but Hill said he felt a range of issues had led to the Briton making the decision.

“Lewis has been like a caged bird at McLaren,” he told the Daily Mail. “He'd been managed to within an inch of his life. I can't blame him for looking to move elsewhere. Lewis needed to leave McLaren to stretch his wings.”

Hamilton's move is set to give him more freedom to pursue personal sponsorship deals, which wasn't possible at McLaren, while the fact he will be able to keep any trophies he wins is also said to be factor in the decision. At McLaren, any trophies won by the driver remain with the team at its Woking base.

“I could never get my head around the logic that the team takes the driver's trophy,” Hill said. “It's the principle, not the trophy, that is at stake. After you have won a championship, and jumped through a lot of hoops, there is a point when you think: "This is my life". You can have a bellyful of becoming a performing seal. You don't want to be on probation for your whole career.

“Of course, you still have to fight inside the car; but there is a time when, surely, you have proved you can motivate yourself. These are things Lewis has tried to balance.”

Hill added that he felt it would be interesting to see what impact Hamilton's decision will now have on F1 going forward.

“This is quite a shift in the power balance in Formula One,” he said. “It shows a driver is a more important ingredient in the sport than the teams like to think. Formula One would do well to remember the public relates to a driver's career path more than any team with the exception of Ferrari. The rest are just operations. To the public, the sport is about the drivers.

“There is a huge disconnect between the philosophy of a team and a driver. Drivers just want to race, they don't see Formula One as a marketing exercise or product development. To a team, a driver is a hired hand. But drivers have a right to a career path. They don't belong to a team.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.09.2012 - Free practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
22.09.2012 - Free practice 3, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
22.09.2012 - Qualyfing, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
Sauber C36 Ferrari
Sauber C36 Ferrari
Sauber C36 Ferrari
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Antonio Giovinazzi - Ferrari SF15-T
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Tom - Unregistered

October 01, 2012 11:12 AM

Taipan- Watching f1 races to see one driver fail. More obsessed with LH than any of Hamilton's fanboys posting on this site (and there are many) Great.


October 01, 2012 11:01 AM

Hater's gonna hate. I love the fact you can't wait for the next Lewis story to come up just so you can post something negative AGAIN. I'm off to the bike section to praise some of the awesome performances in GP and BSB.... Try the praise thing (doesn't have to be Lewis), you might enjoy it lol

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.