Lewis Hamilton revels in being 'my own man' after leaving McLaren for Mercedes
"I don't have to report to anyone" says Lewis of life at Merc
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 08/05/13 12:55pm
Lewis Hamilton: Feels he now has more freedom
Lewis Hamilton has described Ron Dennis as 'The Godfather' of McLaren in a wide-ranging interview detailing the 2008 title winner's new-found independence at Mercedes.
Hamilton's decision to leave McLaren at the end of last season marked the termination of a decade-long relationship. Having been groomed for F1 from boyhood by his former mentor Dennis, Hamilton has likened his departure as a bid for freedom which has finally seen him become his own man at Mercedes.
"At McLaren, Ron is the Godfather. Naturally there does come that power. I don't know if it's about fear but there were definitely parallels," Hamilton told The Daily Mirror.
"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.
"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 make decisions I want to make now. I'm my own man and that's what I always wanted.
"I'm happier now. I can do things and I don't have to report to anyone."
Having agonised over whether to sign an extension with McLaren throughout the 2012 campaign, Hamilton finally made the decision to depart for a fresh start at Mercedes in the days after last September's Singapore GP.
While the decision was widely regarded as a gamble, Hamilton says that it was actually the risk of quitting an established front-running outfit for a team which had won just a single grand prix in three seasons that was ultimately the decisive factor in his choice.
"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," said Hamilton.
"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 all, build those relationships, grab it with both hands, no time to mess around.
"There's no time for mistakes. It's all on me."