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Lew Hamilton Says Driving for Ferrari Will Be a ‘Childhood Dream’ Come True

Seven-time champion to leave Mercedes at end of 2024 season.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has announced that he will fulfill a childhood dream by joining Ferrari in 2025. The seven-time Formula One world champion has also shared his first insights into why he chose to leave Mercedes, attributing the decision to the same instincts that led him to join the team in 2013.

On Thursday, Hamilton revealed he had signed a multi-year contract with Ferrari starting next year. The move was unexpected and surprised Mercedes, with whom Hamilton has raced for 11 years, winning six world championships. This surprise was particularly notable given he had signed a two-year deal with Mercedes last August.

Although both the team and Hamilton released a brief statement, the 39-year-old has now spoken more about his decision on social media. He expressed his excitement to join Ferrari but emphasized that it was a tough decision to make.

“I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfill another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red,” he said. “Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I’ve ever had to make.”

Hamilton also paid tribute to the team where he has enjoyed immense success, including its team principal, Toto Wolff, with whom he has a strong friendship, and the late team advisor, former world champion Niki Lauda.

Decision to move has been ‘the hardest I’ve ever had to make’

Lew Hamilton

For the past two seasons, Mercedes has struggled with a car that is off the pace and has been dominated by Max Verstappen and Red Bull, while Hamilton has not won a race since Saudi Arabia in 2021. However, he has not cited their performance decline as influencing his decision but rather his desire for a new challenge in a different environment at what will likely be the final team of his career.

When he joined Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton similarly shocked McLaren, the team he joined as a young driver at 13, by announcing his departure. That decision was questioned and criticized as McLaren was a championship-contending team while Mercedes struggled to compete at the front. However, his instincts proved correct, and only a year later, under the new turbo-hybrid era regulations, he won the title, starting Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive constructors’ championships.

Lewis Hamilton with his Ferrari teammate in waiting, Charles Leclerc, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, March 2024.
Lewis Hamilton with his Ferrari teammate in waiting, Charles Leclerc, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, March 2024.

Hamilton highlighted the similarities between the two events. “The time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge,” he said. “I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013. I know some people didn’t understand it at the time, but I was right to make the move then, and it’s the feeling I have again now. I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.”

Wolff has expressed his full confidence in Hamilton giving his all in his final year at Mercedes, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 2 March, and still hopes Hamilton might secure his eighth title with them.

Hamilton also stressed his commitment to the upcoming season with Mercedes. “I’m not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes,” he said. “I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focused than ever, and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100% committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.”

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Chief Motorsport & Formula 1 Correspondent

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