Lewis Hamilton revealed that a meal at his mother’s house with Ross Brawn helped persuade him to join Mercedes for the 2013 season.
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes shocked the Formula 1 world at the time, having been at the front-running McLaren team for his entire career up to that point – with news of his transfer to the Silver Arrows being seen as a backwards step in that moment, given the advantage McLaren had over Mercedes.
He won a race in his first season with the team, before the turbo hybrid era came along and his move was vindicated, with driver and team combining to break almost every Formula 1 record ever since.
The seven-time World Champion revealed how his mind was working at the time his career-changing move came about.
“Obviously, I was with McLaren for so long. [For] the first time, I was coming to the end of my contract,” Hamilton said in an interview with Sky Sports F1 alongside MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
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“So I was thinking ‘OK, what are the steps that I have to take?’ and, at the time, I did have management but I wanted to do the decision myself, you know?
“I looked at the different options that I had, I wrote the pros and cons for each team: ‘Where’s this team going? Where’s that team going?'”
Hamilton went on to explain that, while it was a leap into the unknown for him at the time, there were some parallels for him given the previous relationship of the ongoing McLaren-Mercedes outfit.
But the influence of Brawn and the late World Champion Niki Lauda is what sealed the deal for him to take that step.
“Mercedes were a part of my team before. So it was McLaren and Mercedes throughout my racing career, and then they went and bought their own team,” Hamilton said.
“But they were really struggling. They were like the fifth-best team, but Ross Brawn came to my house, my mum’s house in the kitchen – we had tea.
“He’s telling me the different things they’re doing to progress as a team, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘this is very surreal’ because I was watching the Grands Prix when, if you remember Magny-Cours when Michael [Schumacher] did four pit-stops, and just watching the championships when Michael was winning.
“I’m thinking, ‘now the guy is in my kitchen’, or my mum’s kitchen, wanting me to join the team, which was really awesome.
On who actually convinced him to make the move to the team, he added: “It was Ross and Niki Lauda. Niki called me: ‘Hey, you must come to the team. This is the place!’
“I went, ‘But Niki, you’re not winning races? How’s that gonna happen?’ He said, ‘Oh, go and meet Ross! He will tell you’. So it was a joint effort from those two.”
The current season has started poorly for Hamilton and Mercedes by their lofty standards, with the Briton’s troubles at Imola seeing him finish outside the points, and leaving team principal Toto Wolff apologising to him after the race for providing an “undriveable” car so far this year.
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