No one controls me now, says Hamilton
7 May 2013 – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he is thriving in his new surroundings after coming out of "a very controlled" McLaren environment, admitting that there were times when he struggled for motivation with his former employers.
Having raced in the top echelon as a McLaren driver since 2007, Hamilton made a bold switch to the Silver Arrows at the end of 2012. As his maiden term with the outfit reaches its quarter mark, the 28-year-old is in a much more positive frame of mind.
"I have been in a very controlled environment since I can remember and it’s not until the last couple of years that I’ve come out of that control," Hamilton explained during an interview with the Daily Mirror.
"No one controls me now. I’m able to be my own man. Obviously I’ve got bosses at Mercedes in Ross Brawn, Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda. I’m happier now. I can do things and I don’t have to report to anyone."
Hamilton alluded to the 2011 campaign as an example of his growing troubles at McLaren, with the former World Champion being outscored by a team-mate for the first time in his Grand Prix career following a string of mistakes and collisions.
"It was lack of energy, lack of motivation," said Hamilton. "It’s almost like depression but it’s not depression. It saps your energy and it saps your will to do want to do things. You are not able to focus on the job at hand. There was a point where I was driving and I was crashing for no reason. I was just not on the ball."
Looking back at his departure from McLaren at the end of 2012, Hamilton says the element of risk posed by signing for Mercedes played a key role.
"Being this someone who likes adrenalin and taking risks," he commented, "I think there was a point where I weighed up the options and they were both good options but one was slightly riskier than the other and I wanted to try it. It’s a little bit like when you leave home. In fact a bit more extreme than that. Taking that leap.
"If I stayed, I would remain in that environment I’m used to my whole life. I would stay with people I’d known my whole life. I’d have been protected. If I go the other way it’s all brand new. I have to make the best use of it, build those relationships, grab it with both hands, no time to mess around. There’s no time for mistakes. It’s all on me."