LEWIS HAMILTON has revealed the toughest moment during his F1 career was calling up McLaren and telling them he was quitting for Mercedes
The Brit dropped the bombshell on the Woking team in September 2012 shortly after the Singapore GP.
Hamilton had started the race on pole but retired after 22 laps with a gearbox problem.
He was then sold the Mercedes dream by Niki Lauda and Ross Brawn, who were working for the team at the time.
Despite looking like a bad idea on paper, Hamilton's decision proved to be a masterstroke, as Mercedes dominated the turbo hybrid era from 2014 – but at the time, Hamilton says it was a tough call to make.
He said: "We all go through multiple difficult moments, particularly when it comes to making big decisions.
"I think that whilst it looks great now, when choosing to move to Mercedes, everyone spoke so negatively about the decision to move.
"I don't know how, but not for a moment did I ever think… I knew that it was the right decision for me and I wanted to be a part of that journey.
"I've grown with a team that's hungry for success but I would say that's one of the most difficult moments, because I'd been a very loyal person.
"I was with McLaren-Mercedes since I was 13, so to decide to leave a team that's given me a place in the sport was very, very difficult for me.
"And to call your boss and tell him that you're leaving, it was damaging and just emotionally difficult.
"But then I'm still with Mercedes, every win and every race that I've done has been powered by Mercedes and for that I'm incredibly grateful."
Hamilton has spent the last few days at home in Monaco following his record-equalling 91st victory.
He has isolated in between races and kept within his bubble, limiting his chances of catching Covid-19 – knowing that the disease has the potential to halt his progress to a seventh world title.
It means he's had to limit his usual globe-trotting – but Hamilton says he has enjoyed being at home more and says he will be putting provisions in his new Mercedes contract that will guarantee he does less travelling.
He added: "This year has been a learning year with this pandemic and I've definitely had a lot of time to myself at home, in my bubble, which on one side has not always been the nicest, but then it gives you time to reflect and really be present.
"In the past, I think life was just so far, bouncing from one race to the next, one event to the next, it was way too fast-paced a life.
"Even hopefully when this thing passes us I don't want to go back to how it was before.
"When I eventually get this contract in place that will be part of this discussion, even Toto, he even realises from this time how time is something we can never get back and family is everything."
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