Lewis Hamilton believes he would still only be a one-time world champion had he not taken what he deemed to be "a risk" by joining Mercedes in 2013.
When the Briton announced in 2012 he was leaving McLaren to join Mercedes it was a move that raised eyebrows, including with then team-mate Jenson Button who said at the time that "I personally don't think it is the right decision".
Time has since proven Hamilton was right as he has claimed six titles in eight years with Mercedes, as well as 74 race wins to statistically become the most successful driver in Formula 1 history.
“For sure it was a risk," Hamilton told the 'Formula for Success' podcast with Mercedes sponsor Crowdstrike. "For sure there were moments when I thought ‘I don’t know when I’m going to win again’.
“I had to really analyse the pros and cons but for me, taking the risk, if you’re not going for a gap – as [Ayrton] Senna used to say ‘If you no longer go for a gap then you’re no longer a racing driver’.
"I think if you’re not taking risks in life then you are standing still.
“I could have stayed there [at McLaren]. In hindsight, if I had stayed there, I wouldn’t have another championship to my name. I would still be a one-time world champion after 14 years.
“Things happen for a reason, one way or another, and I’m really grateful that I took that step, I took that leap of faith and it’s thanks to people like Niki [Lauda] and to Ross [Brawn] and to Mercedes for truly believing in me.”
McLaren is among the most successful teams in the history of F1, second only to Ferrari in the number of race wins.
Hamilton has revealed he wanted to take the knowledge he gained at McLaren and use it to build Mercedes into a success.
“McLaren had this amazing history, they had won multiple championships, they were super-successful and I felt that I wasn’t necessarily helping build something," added Hamilton. "It was already an illustrious team. It already had all that success.
“It had the biggest cabinet of trophies and I wanted to go somewhere where I could be a part of building something.
“When I joined this team, it didn’t have many trophies in the cabinet. It was on the way up, it was growing, it was building.
"There were more people coming and I wanted to go somewhere I could utilise all that I had learnt all these years, being privileged working at McLaren, and apply those learnings to a team that had not been very successful to help them become successful."
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