McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says that 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton may already be regretting his decision to join Mercedes for upcoming season. Also he believes Mercedes had offered Hamilton a bigger salary.
Team head also added that he did “not fully understand” the motivation behind Hamilton’s choice to join a less aggressive team.
Q: Do you think he has already regretted his decision?
“I think he has on occasions, yes. Probably, when you make a decision you have to tell yourself that the decision is made so you have to look forward.”
“You say okay, that it is in the past so you don’t spend too much time thinking about why. You just look forward and make the best out of the new situation. Right now we still want to win races.”
“We are motivated by that and our conversation circles around that. And maybe he is completely dispassionate about it, but my guess is that we both will have very emotional moments in Brazil. When the separation has arrived. “Whitmarsh told through the extensive interview with the official Formula 1 website.
Q: Martin, what were the factors behind McLaren and Lewis Hamilton parting ways?
MW: The simple answer is that I don’t know. Lewis would be able to answer that question much better than me. If I were speculating there are a number of factors and the prime one, I think, is that there comes a time when a man feels he has to flee the nest. I think it was a bit of that and a range of different emotions. He has been with us for so many years that I do not fully understand it.
Q: Hamilton has spoken about the great opportunity a big team like Mercedes can give him. What does that make you?
MW: Ah, you have to justify your decision. He is not going to say ‘hey, they offered me more money’. He is also not going to say that he’s made an awful mistake. I hope he thinks today that he’s made an awful mistake and I hope he thinks that next year. He’s made that decision and he has to live with that decision. I have known him since he was 11 and worked with him since his teens and I know we will both be very emotional after Brazil. We have had one or two emotional moments since the decision was taken and I believe, but you must ask him, that we have a very good relationship.
Q: With Hamilton you banked on an inexperienced driver and hit the jackpot. Will the same happen with Sergio Perez? Do you have a passion for giving rather inexperienced drivers a chance?
WM: Yes, we do. Some of the greatest moments in my life I’ve had when working with Mika (Hakkinen) when he was young. And we won the world championship with Mika. And with Lewis, when he was young, so I am excited. It is a risk taking on a young driver. Bear in mind that when we took on Lewis he was the same age as Sergio is today and he was incredibly young, incredibly raw and incredibly talented. Now when Sergio gets to Australia in 2013 he will arrive with the kind of pressure that he can’t imagine right now. If you are a Ferrari or McLaren driver the scrutiny you are going to have is probably greater than a Red Bull driver and certainly more than Mercedes or any other team. At the first race, if he is not on the first two rows and fighting for a win the pressure will start to ramp. He doesn’t know that yet…