Lewis Hamilton admits to "mixed emotions" ahead of his McLaren swansong in Brazil
Hamilton says weekend is emotional, but is also excited about Mercs
By James Galloway.. Last Updated: 25/11/12 10:57am
Lewis Hamilton has admitted he prepares to start his final race for McLaren with "mixed emotions" on a weekend that has inevitably led him to look both backwards and forwards in his career.
Sunday's season-ending race marks what for now at least will be 2008 World Champion's 110th and final race for the team he has been associated with since the age of 13, with Hamilton having given himself the best chance of winning it by claiming pole from team-mate Jenson Button.
Although both driver and his current team boss Martin Whitmarsh have more than hinted this weekend that their parting of the ways might only prove a temporary one, Hamilton nonetheless joins Mercedes in January on a three-year contract and therefore the significance of Interlagos is not lost on the 27-year-old.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Martin Brundle that will air in full during Sky Sports F1's live coverage of the Brazilian title decider from 2.30pm on Sunday, Hamilton said while his exit was sad on the one hand, he was still excited to be on the verge of a "new chapter" in his career.
"I have mixed emotions," he told Martin.
"I arrived today knowing that this was the beginning of the last race with McLaren. It's very emotional and I think as the weekend goes on I'll get more and more emotional about it. But I've got to try and separate that from my thoughts of the race and try and get on with the race and try to win but it's going to be tough.
"Coming across here, this finish line, for the last time with the team 'til who knows when, is sad in many ways but its also a beautiful thing in many ways as well because I'm going to start a new chapter in my life."
Speaking in a specially-commissioned video clip ahead of his departure, Hamilton made clear that he will always see McLaren as his "family" and reiterated that he could never say never about returning in the future.
"I'm going to look back at my career at McLaren as a wonderful chapter in my life," he said.
"My relationship with McLaren started from such an early age, I know them so well, they're like family to me, so I'm kind of just moving away from home.
"Some people do move back, who knows, but the most important thing is that [McLaren] will always be my home."
A week on from his fourth win of the season in Austin, Hamilton has set himself up with the chance of ending his McLaren career with back-to-back victories - the same sequence he achieved with his first two wins for the team in 2007.
With his 2013 employer in contrast ending the campaign on a five-race pointless streak, Hamilton said he was going all out to make the most of his final drive in the MP4-27.
"I don't know when I'm next going to have a car that will be as competitive as the one I have," he told the British press on Saturday night.
"So, I'm going to drive the nuts off it here."