Abu Dhabi

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3 Valtteri Bottas

'McLaren departure was the right choice'

Wednesday 4th December 2013

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'McLaren departure was the right choice'

'McLaren departure was the right choice'

Lewis Hamilton believes his decision to leave McLaren at the end of the 2012 season to join Mercedes has proven to be the correct one.

McLaren ended 2012 strongly after Hamilton's then-team-mate Jenson Button won the final grand prix of the year in Brazil, while Mercedes struggled during the latter parts of the year, resulting in Hamilton's decision to swop Woking for Brackley to be widely criticised.

The fortunes of the two teams were largely reversed in 2013, with Mercedes finishing second in the Constructors' Championship while McLaren failed to record a podium finish en route to a fifth place finish.

Such was Mercedes' superiority over McLaren, Hamilton alone scored 67 points more than McLaren, a result the Briton feels vindicates his decision to switch teams.

"Yes, I think it was 98 percent of the people [who doubted me]. Yeah, it's nice, it's great," the 2008 World Champion told ESPN when asked if he is happy with his decision 12 months later.

"It felt like the right choice to me [at the time] and it has been, I've been really, really happy. It's much more than the results, it's been the whole experience of coming to terms with a new car and a new team, it's been really enjoyable."

Despite the Silver Arrows struggling with grip and tyre degradation at times during the year, Hamilton believes Mercedes made enough progress over the course of the season for the team to be well-prepared for the rules changes in 2014.

"The concept of something new and newness is exciting," he continued.

"In other years it looked like the progress had come to a halt while others were still developing, but to see the developments keep coming through is a really good step. Of course we want more next year and I hope we will deliver that, but I thought this year would be a foundation building year, I just didn't realise the foundation would be that positive.

"If it was an evolution of this year's car then it would be very hard to beat the Red Bulls because they are just so far ahead it would have been difficult to close that gap. I'm happy that it's all reset again because otherwise it would be five, six of seven world championships!"

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