Lewis Hamilton is one of the best drivers in the world today. Like Obama, he is half black. Since he has been thirteen when McLaren signed him to their Young Driver Support Programme – love that spelling – he has been racing, either directly or indirectly, for McLaren. Yesterday, he left to go to Mercedes. I think it is a great decision.
McLaren, in many ways, has been his family – his mother left when he was two and his father was his manager until about two years ago – so, in many ways, he is leaving home. I think that is part of the reason going to Mercedes is a great decision. At some point we have to leave home to become an adult and I think that this is that time for Hamilton.
But more importantly, McLaren just doesn’t seem able to win a championship (although Hamilton won a championship as a driver) . They have been second for much of the 2000’s but don’t seem able to turn the corner to first. Mercedes have been much worse and will probably finish in fifth place this year. But I think that it might be easier to get to first from fifth than from perpetual second. In second, the temptation is to do the same thing as last year, only harder. In fifth, everybody knows that there have to be big changes.