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Brazilian GP: Hamilton almost in tears about McLaren exit


By Berthold Bouman

Lewis Hamilton almost burst out in tears when he was quizzed about his McLaren exit by BBC reporter Lee McKenzie. The interview will be aired during the BBC preview of the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of today’s qualifying at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

Hamilton’s ‘goodbye’ helmet

Asked how the 2008 World Champion will feel after the chequered flag has been waved to signal the end of the last race of the season, he said, “I might have to keep my helmet on. It’s going to be tough. It’s my family and I’ll be going elsewhere. It’s best I don’t talk about it too much.”

When McKenzie remarked, “You get choked up thinking about it,” Hamilton couldn’t really speak and just said, “Mmm.” About his hectic last few months with McLaren Hamilton commented, “Every weekend and then the last month or so was horrible. I had that pressure on and in my personal life when I’m stressed I don’t know how to get it out of me, and I was very stressed and then I had to do my job.”

When Hamilton was on a short holiday in Thailand he made the decision to leave McLaren and join Mercedes. “It became clear that I wanted to try something new and I was going to go for it. And then I called Martin [Whitmarsh]. It was the most difficult call I’ve ever had to make because we’d grown so close and he had been so supportive and I didn’t want to let people down.”

And he added, “But at the end of the day you have to let people down sometimes to make decisions.” But he is nevertheless adamant it was the right move, “I have to trust my decision. It is what it is. I made it; I stick to it.”

About next season Hamilton said, “I’ve got to be realistic. Scoring points and getting podiums will be the first target. If we were to get a win in our first year, great. If lots more were to come, great. If not, then we just have to keep working. It’s definitely going to be a different year in which I’m not going to be fighting at the front with Red Bull and McLaren, but I’m optimistic about 2014.”

Hamilton wants to end his career with McLaren on a high, and is aiming for a pole position and a win. He already showed he is very fast in Brazil, as he scored the fastest times during the first two free practice sessions on Friday.

Although Hamilton signed a three-year contract with Mercedes, McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh would welcome him back, “We’d have him back, yes. So let’s hope it’s just a gap year.”

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