12:42 29 September 2012
Formula 1 driving ace Lewis Hamilton, 27, will finally leave McLaren after spending around 14 years with them by signing over to Mercedes on Friday. The new contract, which is a three-year deal, will begin in 2013 when the F1 season starts.
It was also announced on Friday that 22-year-old Sergio Perez, from Mexico, will step in to fill Hamilton’s big boots with him being confirmed as the replacement.
“It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter," said Hamilton in a report by the BBC.
“Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share.
“Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”
The news of his move, where he will become partners with Nico Rosberg, has pushed popular choice Michael Schumacher from signing with Mercedes.
Rumours state that Schumacher, from Germany, could end up considering a second retirement. Schumacher, who came out of retirement after three years, has not had huge success since his comeback according to reports, with more being expected of the 43-year-old.
In a statement he said: “I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side."
It is understood he wishes Hamilton well and “for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up.”
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal, is also thought to be wishing Hamilton “well for the future”.
Mercedes team principal, Ross Brawn, is quoted by The Telegraph saying: “I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.
“Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship.”
He continued: “The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team.”
It is understood that Mercedes entered into talks with McLaren regarding Hamilton’s next step a few weeks earlier. It is expected the shift will also offer Hamilton a boost financially, as well as creating new opportunities.
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