Blundell backs Hamilton move

Ex-McLaren driver says time was right for a new challenge

By William Esler at Donington Park.   Last Updated: 01/10/12 11:05am

  • Share:

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell has backed Lewis Hamilton's move from McLaren to Mercedes, stating that the time seemed right for a move.

Hamilton has been guided by McLaren since meeting Ron Dennis as a child and having progressed through the junior categories made his F1 debut with the team in 2007, narrowly missing on the World Championship in his debut season.

Whilst Blundell feels instant success for the new partnership at the Silver Arrows is unlikely, the 46-year-old says the move could prove beneficial in the long-term.

"I think the timing was right," Blundell told Sky Sports.

THE ONLY PLACE TO BE

Sky Sports F1 HD is THE only place to watch the 2012 F1 season in full live. Our extensive coverage continues with the Japanese GP exclusively live on 5 -7th October.
FRIDAY 5th - P1 from 1:45am. P2 from 5:45am
SATURDAY 6th - P3 from 2:45am. Q from 5:00am
SUNDAY 7th - Race from 5.30am
To find out all the different ways to watch the action, click here

"Obviously Lewis has been at McLaren since he was 13 years old, they have achieved everything they wanted to achieve - they've won races and a World Championship together. I think at the end of the day, the future was one that was going to be based on several areas which made both parties happy and quite clearly they couldn't get to that part.

"The other option of Mercedes-Benz coming along clearly produced something Lewis was comfortable with and the undertakings there must be enough for him to sit up and take notice.

"It is going to be very interesting to see how it pans out. I don't think the short-term results are going to be there with Lewis and Mercedes, but I think longer-term, particularly with the new engine regulations coming in in 2014 it could be a smart choice."

Blundell drove for McLaren, Brabham, Ligier and Tyrrell during his F1 career and knows the challenges that a driver can face when moving to a new team.

"The thing is Lewis doesn't know any different. He has only really been a round the McLaren organisation. In many ways it will be quite challenging for him, he is going to have to understand a different mentality of working and approach. He is going to have to understand all the individuals - he knew the others for half his life!

"They will look to him for 100% effort, 100% commitment, 100% performance to help them move forwards - that's why they have employed him. That is what it is all about and they won't have any understanding of where he was when he was a 13-year-old youngster coming through the ranks at McLaren.

"So he is going to go there on a different platform. He is going to go there certainly with some new objectives and certainly with some new challenges."

Echoing the comments by McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, Blundell feels Hamilton will continue to receive McLaren's full support as anything else would not benefit either party.

"McLaren will give him 100% because they know they have a great opportunity to win that race with Lewis behind the wheel and it serves no purpose for them to do anything other than that. They still want to go out on a high and win as many races as they can and to have two options with Lewis and Jenson you couldn't ask for more.

"Yes, maybe in terms of where they head for the future, the amount of information that is available to a driver knowing that he is going on to a competitor may change. But that is not going to change what he is sitting in Sunday afternoon to get his job done."

Next up on the F1 calendar is the Japanese Grand Prix at what Blundell says is one of the greatest tracks in the world.

"Suzuka is one of the toughest circuits on the map and is one of the most challenging for a Formula 1 driver," he enthused.

"There are key corners in there, the conditions can also become quite tricky - we've seen some wet races there before - but it is a great place to go because I don't think there is any other circuit in the world where when the sunrise comes up, you already see a grandstand full with adoring fans. And that is certainly what we get in Japan - they are the most enthusiastic fans I have seen in the world."

And despite all of the off track distractions, Blundell expects Hamilton to triumph in Japan.

"I'm going to put my money on it and say Lewis is going to do it. He is just going to go there and get the job done, underline his move and underline what there is at McLaren still."

  • Share:

Related

Hamilton joins Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton still adapting to car

Lewis Hamilton says he isn't getting the best out of his Mercedes as often as he needs to and must keep patient for win.

Lewis Hamilton: Desperate to join the ranks of multiple F1 Champions

Hamilton fears for his legacy

Lewis Hamilton has hinted he left McLaren due to fears he was "wasting away the best years" of his Formula 1 career.

Hamilton: Still getting to grips with the W04

Hamilton still on the brakes

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he lacks the confidence to commit to his late-braking style in the Mercedes W04.

Most Popular

Features

Market trading

Market trading

Which teams already have drivers under lock and key - and which ones could have vacancies - for 2015?

An uncertain market

An uncertain market

Mark Hughes explains how uncertainty about Fernando Alonso's future is affecting F1's transfer market.

JB responds to Ron

JB responds to Ron

Jenson says everyone at McLaren must work harder after Dennis called for more from his lead driver.