Hamilton shocked the F1 paddock in 2012 by announcing his shock move to Mercedes from McLaren.

At the time, McLaren were constantly fighting for race wins and championships, while Mercedes had won just one race prior to Hamilton’s arrival in 2013.

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Hamilton was lambasted for his decision but it quickly paid off as he secured a second drivers’ title in 2014 before winning five more in the subsequent six years to move level with Michael Schumacher on seven in 2020.

His brave decision to move to Mercedes will go down as one of the best in sporting history, particularly given that the team didn’t look close to being a championship-winning outfit, banking on the new engine regulations in 2014.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s F1 Singapore GP, Hamilton spoke about the significance of winning his second title - six years after winning his first - and the doubts he had at times in the intervening period with McLaren.

“It [winning a second title] definitely changed a lot in my life because I had that dry spell,” Hamilton explained. 

“I would say more so because I had taken the step and leap of faith in moving to another team [Mercedes] and I went against most of the advice I had around me, people that you would consider mentors, who all said to stay where I was [McLaren], stay put and the experience I had, it was actually after this race, people seem to think it was during this race that I made the decision to move [Singapore 2012]. Actually, this race had no effect on that. 

“The gearbox failed here in 2012 - that had no effect on my decision as those things happen. The week after, sitting in Thailand, I managed to be in a peaceful place and it really came to me that I was going to take this leap. To have taken that step and obviously all the backlash makes you question if you really have made the right decision.”

During his time with Mercedes, Hamilton has moved clear of every driver in F1 history in terms of race wins, pole positions and podiums.

Had it not been for the controversial ending to last season at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he’d have eight titles to his name.

“I am so proud and grateful to all the team members for how they welcomed me into the team and gave me the position to be able to fight for a world title,” he added. 

“With all the doubts over the years and the questions that would play in your mind, whether it would even happen again, which you always overcome because you have to continue to believe. 

“To finally get back into that position, it was a very, very special year, and also for the team, who had also been on the receiving end of the negativity that perhaps they’re not good enough or whatever it may be. 

“It was a huge, huge moment and it really catapulted us into the next years of success and development. What a journey it has been.”