January 7, 1985
Mercedes AMG Petronas
|Career statistics to end 2013|
It can’t have been an easy transition for Lewis, leaving his home of many years at McLaren to go and drive for a very different, German-based and very German-oriented team where his new teammate was already the favourite son.
Indeed, there were signs early in the season that the 2008 World Champion was casting around for support – why else would you start bringing a British bulldog along with you to the F1 paddocks of the world?
Two podiums in his second and third outings in a Silver Arrow would have helped, as did his break-through victory for his new team. It came in round 10, the exact pivotal point of the 19-race 2013 season, and it came from one of his five pole positions of 2013, achieved in a withering mid-season demonstration that he is still a lightning-fast competitor.
There were four other front-row starts as well, so it’s the one-lap pace that needs to be translated into race-winning reliability if Hamilton is to prove the saviour of Mercedes in its post-Schumacher phase.
Hamilton, caught out by Mark Webber’s blistering three-podium finish to the year, finished the season in fourth place overall, equalling his highest finish since his title-winning year of 2008.
On the surface he and old friend Rosberg form a smiling, cooperative pairing. Lewis, though, outscored Nico overall and by five podium visits to four.
Reliability, especially in high temperatures, was a Mercedes bugbear last season. It could be a challenge again in the uncharted waters of the new F1 regulations.
Will that sunny relationship withstand the intensity of a second year together, when Mercedes will be looking to go one better than their second-place finish in the 2013 Constructors’standings?