Lewis Hamilton left McLaren and joined, at the time, midfield Mercedes team in 2013. The Britom reveals he wasn’t sure about the jump when the team approached him in 2012.
“It wasn’t in Singapore that Niki [Lauda, Mercedes non-executive chairman at the time] ‘sold me a dream’,” said Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix Thursday press conference.
“I had spoken to Niki, I was back home in Monaco, and I was talking to him and he was talking to me. I’m pretty sure he was the first one I’d spoken to and he’s like ‘you’ve got to come to the team’. And I wasn’t convinced necessarily at the beginning.
“I think the convincing stage, which really made me look into it more, was when Ross [Brawn, Mercedes team principal at the time] came around my mum’s house, and sat in the kitchen and we had tea, and he showed me what the plan was for the team.
“That was the real, in-depth insight into what the team was planning and the changes that they were trying to do. So that was really the ‘selling’ point.”
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Hamilton went on to explain how his friendship with three-time Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda started.
“With Niki we worked on the layout of the deal. Good memories. I think the important part of Singapore was that Niki and I, more so for him, Niki realised that we had a lot in common and I think that was the start of our friendship because I remember him saying to me, ‘you’re a lot like me’.
“And I think he realised we had a lot more in common than he previously had thought since we hadn’t really spoken before so it was all done on assumption and what people write.”
Although Hamilton said he knew the move to Mercedes was the right thing for him, he admits he didn’t even dream of the successes the relationship would bring.
“I could only have dreamed – I say it time and time again – it was far beyond my wildest dreams thinking that anyone would get to seven. I dreamt of trying to do something that Ayrton [Senna] had done.
“Getting one world championship [with McLaren] was great and then it was very tough to get the second. And I spent years trying to help the team win another world championship.
“And then I had to make a big decision about whether I stay put and keep trundling along or go and do something more adventurous.
“Obviously I took that leap of faith and then we’ve gone one after the other here. I really just after each one try and count my blessings, because you have to be grateful for what you have, not what you might have, so that’s what I generally do.
“Naturally I knew I made a very good decision, when I made the decision, I knew it was the right thing for me. But did I know we would win six world titles? No.
“I think what it says is that in life we’ve got to definitely make sure we take that leap of faith. Do what you think is right for you and not what people tell you to do.
“Do the homework so you have the pros and cons and then go with it, whether it’s good or bad,” concluded the six-time champion.