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'Mixed emotions' for Hamilton in McLaren finale

25 November 2012

Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly refuted suggestions that he's having second thoughts about quitting McLaren - the team he's been associated with since he was a boy - in order for a 2013 switch to Mercedes.

But on Saturday ahead of the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Interlagos, Hamilton was willing to admit that he had 'mixed feelings' about his exit from the Woking-based team.

"I have mixed emotions," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle in Sao Paulo. "It's very emotional and I think as the weekend goes on I'll get more and more emotional about it.

"I arrived today knowing that this was the beginning of the last race with McLaren," he continued. "But I've got to try and separate that from my thoughts of the race and try and get on with the race and try to win.

"It's going to be tough," he added.

While Hamilton insists to not regretting his decision to move to Mercedes next season, despite that team's alarming slump in form in the second half of 2012, there have been hints in recent days that Hamilton's departure from McLaren might not prove to be a permanent state of affairs.

"We'd have him back, yes," McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Sky Sports News on Thursday. "So let's hope it's just a gap year."

"We have an incredible relationship," said Hamilton of his long history with the team. "My relationship with McLaren started from such an early age. I know them so well, they're like family to me - so I'm kind of just moving away from home.

"I am walking over that bridge and down a different path [but] if that path brings me back, then who knows?" he added. "Some people do move back ... but the most important thing is that [McLaren] will always be my home."

But for now, Hamilton had to look upon Sunday's race as being the end of his time at McLaren - and that means going out in style if he possibly can.

"Coming across here, this finish line, for the last time with the team 'til who knows when, is sad in many ways," he agreed. "But its also a beautiful thing in many ways as well because I'm going to start a new chapter in my life."

"It's been a good weekend so far. Grateful to be able to put the car on the front row and to have the last one-two in qualifying with Jenson in the same team," he said on Saturday. "Just a fantastic job by the team. So grateful for all the opportunities they've given me. I hope that we can turn it into something really positive."

The lights go out for the race at 2pm local time, 4pm GMT, with the forecasts predicting anything from a dry race to torrential rain and showers in between, beaning that Hamilton's finale with McLaren could prove to be an exciting, eventful and memorable occasion for all concerned.