Lewis Hamilton has revealed the motivations behind his career-changing decision to leave McLaren in 2012. Hamilton won just one world championship with McLaren before he switched to Mercedes in 2013 to go on and win a further six drivers' titles.
The Brit replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes and it was a move which many were sceptical of at the time.
"Don't go to Mercedes, most people would have said that - probably 90 plus percent of people would have said that," Hamilton told Sky Sports.
"For me, that was my kind of opportunity to have a chance to be creative, to grow with a team that's perhaps not at the front, but has the potential to be at the front.
"To get back some of my time, some of my image rights and to be able to do these other things that I do and I wouldn't be able to do that without this team."
Hamilton's retirement from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix when comfortably leading the race is seen as a key reason for his move to Mercedes. But, the seven-time world champion shot that theory down and says he came to a conclusion "quite a bit after that" event.
"That wasn't the time that I made the decision," said Hamilton. "People think it was the time when my gearbox failed for some reason but someone made that up.
"It was quite a bit after that. I don't know how much longer after that it was but I was in Thailand, when I actually made the decision."