Only A Game? - Hamilton’s gamble, McLaren and my silver Ford Focus
The world of sport has seen its fair share of gambles down through the years but the decision of Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, to sever his ties with McLaren and join Mercedes could be one of the biggest ever.
I am not a fan of Hamilton but regarding his decision to walk away from McLaren I think he made the correct decision.
Hamilton signed for McLaren when he was 13 years-old, he is now 27, and was said to have been in tears when he decided to walk away and join Mercedes.
It’s all too easy to say that money was behind Hamilton’s decision to leave but the reality of the situation is that he turned down the chance to become the richest F1 driver when he rejected McLaren’s last minute offer of £17m per year.
I admit, Hamilton, does not come across as the most likeable driver in F1 but the way in which McLaren conducted their contract negotiations was nothing short of a joke - had hostages been involved they almost certainly would have all been shot.
It’s fashionable to trivialise the importance of the driver in F1 but there is no getting away from the fact that Hamilton, who won the drivers’ championship in 2007, is one of the sport’s hottest properties and most well known names.
Some will say that the only reason Hamilton won in 2007 was because the McLaren car was specifically designed for him and that’s true but whether driving my Ford Focus or an old Reliant Robin three wheeler Hamilton is one of the quickest drivers on planet earth.
Earlier in the year McLaren approached Hamilton and asked him to take a pay-cut. It was reported that they’d offered the British driver £8m per year and Hamilton described the offer as ‘s**t’.
McLaren really should have stuck to their guns because in the days before Hamilton announced that he’d be leaving they almost tripled their offer. The decision by McLaren to offer Hamilton such a vast wage is essentially an admittance of guilt and it’s something that could come back to bite them many times in the years to come.
Like every gamble, Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren could turn out to be one of the shrewdest decisions ever to happen in the world of F1 but for who?
It’s no secret that the current Mercedes car is not as good as the current model in use by McLaren so, how does Hamilton plan on winning races? It’s a question with many possible answers but the proof of the pudding will be in the driving.
One thing’s for sure, should Hamilton fail to win a driver’s world championship with Mercedes he will be forgotten and will never be talked about with the same respect and awe as drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
Be that as it may, there is also the chance that Hamilton has played McLaren like a proverbial violin and should the unveiling of the complicated engine/energy technology scheduled for 2014 be fully exploited by Mercedes then Hamilton will come out on top.
Hamilton takes over from seven time world champion Michael Schumacher and is replaced by Mexican Sergio Perez at McLaren but when he takes his place in the grid for the first time next year, you’d be forgiven for thinking he would have liked to have seen a little more respect and loyalty from McLaren. Hamilton’s not perfect but McLaren caused the rift and it is McLaren who will more than likely live with the consequences.
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Weather for Derry
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
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Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West