Lauda: Hamilton eyed new challenge
Lewis Hamilton, right, will partner Nico Rosberg, left, at Mercedes next season
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has revealed the role he played in luring Lewis Hamilton to make the switch from McLaren, reiterating the move was all about providing the British driver with a new challenge.
Mercedes announced on Thursday morning that Hamilton would be joining them on a three-year deal from the start of the 2013 Formula One season, ending a 14-year association with McLaren. The move was dubbed a mistake by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
However, three-time former world champion Lauda told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme: "The real discussion was, 'why should I leave a competitive car where my life is easier in the future?' My argument was, 'if you're looking for a new challenge then frankly the Mercedes team is one'."
Lauda added: "Thinking the other way round, if Michael Schumacher could not get the Mercedes team - for three years running - up front and you next year are doing much better, this makes a huge impact on your personality and people will rate you much higher than you are rated now.
"The money discussion I was not really involved in. The money was not really the case. The offer was very close to the one of McLaren. In the end it was that he looks for a new challenge.
"I understand him because if you drive six years for same the team and for the same people you get used to each other.
"It works for him because he won one championship and he is winning races, but nevertheless a new challenge with new people....you learn different things and different approaches - it's something that for a competitive guy like Lewis was very interesting."
Hamilton will replace Schumacher at the German team, with Mexican Sergio Perez - currently with Sauber - stepping in for the Briton at McLaren.
Lauda has no doubt about the Hamilton's speed and quality, but insisted there was no number one driver in the Mercedes team where Hamilton will partner Nico Rosberg.
"I think he is, (even) in a bad car, the best driver in the world because he's unbelievably quick," Lauda said. "He makes no compromise. So if Hamilton would join the team next year, which he is, I can tell you he will make a big move forward on speed."
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I wish you luck Lewis, it must have been a very difficult decision to leave Mc Laren, but you have Ross Braun, and I am sure that he will live up to his reputation and give you a great car for next season.
GOOD LUCK FOR THE REST OF THIS SEASON!!!
Good luck Lewis,
You need a new ' Challenge' Ross Braun seems a decent man. You should get on well there. Nico is a friend be like old times. You need some Luck now.
Good Luck and all the very best in your new Job!
Should be fun to see if Perez comes ahead of Jenson regular.
What a slap that would be, leading to head down, sulking, loads of introspective thinking.
Sorry Jenson you’re given such an easy time by the gang of three representing the BEEB its embarrassing!
What’s his name again the guy who catches golf balls in a car?
Well done Lewis my son go and make history as you are a true racer and with the right car and team you will continue doing what you love.
With Nico as your team mate you will be able to blend and exchange ideas as workmates and friend....Good Luck