What is the first thing that usually comes to a spectator’s head when they hear the name, ‘Lewis Hamilton’? An F1 driver who used the power of Mercedes to win himself 6 world championship titles; the talent part often comes later. But, what we don’t see is the fact that the Brit made one of the biggest gambles in 2013, which was indeed the stepping stone to where he is now.
Hamilton was driving for a reliable championship-contending McLaren, enjoying a rather huge paycheck every year. And despite such positives emerging from the British outfit, Hamilton dragged himself to a setback by signing a deal with the then mid-field team, Mercedes AMG.
The pay wasn’t significant, but yet, he trusted Mercedes’ goals and, hoping for a better car in the future, pulled himself out of his long-time supporters, McLaren.
Interestingly, there have been a lot of talks surrounding Hamilton ever since his rival, Fernando Alonso, returned to F1 in 2021. Comparisons started showing up, with many reckoning Alonso is a far better driver than Hamilton. What’s more, suggestions started pouring in that the Spaniard could’ve won more titles with Mercedes.
Well, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, is not pleased hearing such ideologies. The Austrian opined that Alonso, unlike Hamilton, went after money than the car, and that resulted in his hybrid-era failure.
“There are examples, even now, people who went for the money rather than the car. Fernando Alonso is, without doubt, one of the best Formula 1 drivers to have raced. Ever,” he said during an interview with DailyMail.
“It is disappointing for the sport that he hasn’t got more than two titles to his name. But it’s about knowing that you’re part of the solar system, you’re not the sun. Some drivers are ill-advised. They get in the media spotlight and they start to believe they’re the sun. And you’re not.”
Wolff questioned the people who reckon they could have won world championship titles in Hamilton’s car. The Austrian opined that it is often easy to downplay someone’s success, but in reality, it was Hamilton who made one of the boldest moves, while others opted against it.
“The people who say they could be world champions in Lewis’ car — well, why aren’t you in that car? Why did he switch from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013? It was a bold move,” he said
Overall, these are indeed reasonable words from the Mercedes boss, who has been in the business since 2013. Of course, it was a mix of Hamilton’s talent and Mercedes’ superiority that helped the duo garner the 13 world championship titles.
But, do you think any other driver could have thrived similarly in the shoes of the 7-time world champion??