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Hamilton likens McLaren to American mafia

HAPPIER TIMES: Hamilton celebrates with Dennis after winning the Canada Formula One Grand Prix, at the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack, in Montreal, Canada, Sunday, June 10, 2012 (PA)

BITTERNESS TOWARD his old employers still seems to be apparent within Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton as he described the life he once knew at McLaren.

Hamilton, who joined Mercedes at the beginning of this season, implied the way McLaren operated was akin to how the mafia works – he compared his old team’s boss, Ron Dennis, to “the Godfather” and said there were “parallels” of “fear” he felt when he was there.

“At McLaren, Ron is the Godfather”, he told The Daily Mirror.

“Naturally there does come that power. I don't know if it's about fear but there were definitely parallels.”

The 28-year-old had been with McLaren since a child, and in 2008 won the championship with the team. Nonetheless, he said he feels he has a greater freedom at with his current employers.

“I have been in a very controlled environment since I can remember and it's not until the last couple of years that I've come out of that control”, Hamilton said.

“No one controls me now. I'm able to be my own man. Obviously I've got bosses at Mercedes in Ross Brawn, Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.


AN OFFER HE REFUSED: The late Marlon Brando, who plays the iconic role of the Godfather in the Hollywood film, and McLaren chief Ron Dennis

“I make decisions I want to make now. I'm my own man and that's what I always wanted.

“I'm happier now. I can do things and I don't have to report to anyone”, he added.

Concerning the switch to Mercedes, F1 observers said at the time that Hamilton was taking a risk by moving, something he acknowledges but compares to idea of leaving home.

“I think there was a point where I weighed up the options and they were both good options but one was slightly riskier than the other and I wanted to try it,” the boyfriend of Nicole Scherzinger said.

“It's a little bit like when you leave home. In fact a bit more extreme than that. Taking that leap. If I stayed, I would remain in that environment I'm used to my whole life.

“I would stay with people I'd known my whole life. I'd have been protected. If I go the other way it’s all brand new.

“I have to make the best use of it all, build those relationships, grab it with both hands, no time to mess around.

“There’s no time for mistakes. It's all on me”, concluded Hamilton, who currently sits third in the driver’s table, 27 points behind pace-setter Sebastian Vettel – the triple-consecutive-championship-winning German has so far notched up 77.

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