Lewis Hamilton says driving for Ferrari will fulfil ‘childhood dream’

Lewis Hamilton has said he will be fulfilling a childhood dream when he joins Ferrari in 2025. The seven-time Formula One world champion has also offered his first insights into why he made the decision to leave Mercedes, citing the same instincts that drew him to join the team in 2013.

Lewis Hamilton to leave Mercedes after 'amazing 11 years' and move to Ferrari | UK News | Sky News

On Thursday, Hamilton announced he had signed a multi-year contract with Ferrari that will begin next year. The decision was unexpected and caught Mercedes, with whom Hamilton has raced for 11 years and has taken six world championships, by surprise, especially given he had signed a two-year deal with them last August.

The team and Hamilton issued a brief statement but the 39-year-old has now spoken for the first time on his decision on social media, where he expressed his enthusiasm to join Ferrari but also stressed it had not been an easy call 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 fulfil 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 such success, its team principal, Toto Wolff, with whom he has forged a strong friendship and the late team advisor, the former world champion Niki Lauda.

For the past two seasons, Mercedes have struggled with a car that is off the pace and 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 downturn in performance as influencing him but rather that he wanted to take on a new challenge in a new environment at what will almost certainly be the final team of his career.

When he joined Mercedes in 2013, he had similarly shocked McLaren, whom he had joined as a young driver when he was 13, in announcing he was leaving them. That decision was questioned and criticised given McLaren were a championship-contending team and Mercedes still struggling 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 and Mercedes began a run of eight consecutive constructors’ championships.

Hamilton notably emphasised 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 stated he has full confidence in Hamilton giving his all in this final year at Mercedes, which opens with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 2 March and that he still hoped Hamilton might secure his eighth title with them.

Hamilton said he, too, was determined to bow out on a high with the team. “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 focussed 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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