Hamilton hopes for competitive McLaren in '18
10 December 2017 – Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he hopes former team McLaren will be able to compete among the leading group in 2018, having ditched Honda power for Renault.
Hamilton, having been guided by McLaren in his junior career, raced for the team in Formula 1 from 2007 to 2012, taking the 2008 title, before sealing a move to Mercedes for 2013.
Hamilton has taken 41 wins and three championships in his five years at Mercedes, while McLaren has struggled, failing to take a victory, its plight accentuated by recent struggles with Honda.
McLaren has abandoned its Honda collaboration in order to link up with Renault, whose engines powered Red Bull to three wins and third place in the Constructors' Championship in 2017.
Hamilton is optimistic that he can fight with his former team, and ex-team-mate Fernando Alonso, at the sharp end of the pack in 2018.
"I had a great battle with Fernando towards the end of the season [in Mexico]," said Hamilton, when asked about McLaren's prospects by GPUpdate.net.
"I would love to have more battles with him on a much more level playground, as I think they've had such a difficult time.
"Being that I grew up with McLaren from 13 [years old], I go through qualifying and I always look to see where Fernando is and I always look to see where they are, and watching their progress.
"There's just a natural place in my heart for them because I achieved a huge amount with them.
"I really hope that next year is a successful year for them and I really hope that we are battling with them as McLaren deserves to be at the front.
"It's a fantastic team with incredible history, I'm incredibly proud of what Ron [Dennis] did with that team, and it doesn't matter who took over [as] for me it's always Ron's team.
"I hope that with this new power unit they're there with us, I hope you have another incredible World Champion up there with us fighting for the World Championship."
McLaren finished ninth in this year's Constructors' Championship, with a best race result of sixth.