Former McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes AMG Petronas for the 2013 Formula One season was the topic of serious doubt for fans the world over. The fact is, no one expected Mercedes to leapfrog McLaren this year in performance but the first grand prix of the year has proven just that. McLaren are, indeed, struggling with the new MP4-28 chassis.
Hamilton may seem to have been a soothsayer now that team have found the pace to be a contender in 2013. Did Hamilton know something about the direction McLaren were heading in? It’s highly doubtful but hindsight is always 20/20. As for his decision to move and the current form of his old team, Hamilton said:
“No, I don’t look at them (after Melbourne) and think I’m happier. I look at our performance and realise just how good of a choice it was obviously,” he told the press in Kuala Lumpur.
“The team have made some fantastic steps forward… let’s hope that this car stays competitive through the year and we can continue to develop it,” said Lewis.
McLaren’s one calling card is a fierce determination to succeed and develop a car over the breadth of a season. While the out-of-the-box performance in Australia a week ago may not have been what the team wanted, they do know how to develop a car and Hamilton feels that is exactly what will happen:
“They have always been very strong at catching up… I feel that this is only a small little blip in their journey this year. I’m sure they’ll catch up,” Hamilton said.
McLaren’s “blips” are usually season-ending for smaller teams but the Woking-based outfit will be relentless in their pursuit of podium finishes and Hamilton was with the team long enough to know that you cannot underestimate their ability for a recovery shot. In fact, they can play from the rough, sand or cart path with dogged determination to finish par on the the day.