London: We don’t need to ask ‘will he or won’t he?’ any more. He did.
And in among the hubbub on Friday, the gasps of disbelief, the muffled groans of McLaren fans, the sound of knives sharpening at Woking where the team’s management allowed arguably the quickest driver in a generation to slip through their fingers, one question almost went unanswered regarding Lewis Hamilton’s impending move to Mercedes: will it be a success? Or will it end in tears?
How could Hamilton have chosen Mercedes, who have managed one solitary win in over 50 Grands Prix since returning to the sport as a full works team at the start of 2010, over McLaren, who have won 16 times over the same period and compete for championships almost every year? Surely it is career suicide; a triumph of greed over common sense?
Not necessarily. Quite apart from the fact that Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is adamant that Hamilton will be paid less at Brackley than he would have been at Woking, the above arguments do not stack up.
It is what Mercedes do in the future that matters, not the past. Brawn is slowly but surely building something at Brackley and Hamilton has gambled on it being a success. It is a big gamble, especially when you are leaving a team as competitive as McLaren, but it is a calculated one.