Lewis Hamilton admits that he’s dealing with mixed emotions as he prepares to start his final race for McLaren.
While there is the small matter of the season finale in Brazil to contend with, which he will fittingly start from pole position, Hamilton is also dealing with a weekend that has forced him to both look back on and forward in his career.
The Brit will race his 110th race for McLaren on Sunday, a team he has been associated with since the tender age of 13, and while both he and current team boss Martin Whitmarsh have hinted that their separation may yet prove to be only temporary, Hamilton has still signed a three-year deal with Mercedes, making this weekend a significant and emotional one.
Speaking exclusively to Martin Brundle for Sky Sports, Hamilton said he was both sad and excited ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I have mixed emotions,” he said.
“I arrived today knowing that this was the beginning of the last race with McLaren. It’s very emotional and I think as the weekend goes on I’ll get more and more emotional about it. 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 but it’s going to be tough.
“Coming across here, this finish line, for the last time with the team ’til who knows when, is sad in many ways but its also a beautiful thing in many ways as well because I’m going to start a new chapter in my life.”
Hamilton added that McLaren is his “family” and that he would never rule out the possibility of returning one day.
“I’m going to look back at my career at McLaren as a wonderful chapter in my life,” he said.
“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.
“Some people do move back, who knows, but the most important thing is that (McLaren) will always be my home.”