F1 race ace Lewis Hamilton swaps teams from Mercedes for Ferrari

F1 race ace Lewis Hamilton swaps teams from Mercedes for Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton shocked the motorsports world when the seven-time Formula One champion said he will leave Mercedes at the end of the season to join Ferrari — a team which had tried to land Hamilton before he signed his latest contract extension with the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton only finalised a two-year extension with Mercedes at the end of August. Mercedes said Thursday the 39-year-old British driver has activated a release clause in that new deal that will allow him to join Ferrari in 2025.

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“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together. Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old,” Hamilton said in a team statement. “It’s a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.”

Hamilton moved from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013 and won six of his seven titles with the Silver Arrows. His 103 race victories are an F1 record, but his last win was in the penultimate race of the 2021 season as Mercedes has struggled to get its new car up to speed against rival Red Bull.

News first broke early Thursday about Hamilton’s move, but it took the remainder of the day for the teams to address the speculation. Mercedes, with comment from both Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff, finally said Hamilton was leaving and moments later Ferrari posted a team statement that said simply “Scuderia Ferrari is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton will be joining the team in 2025, on a multi-year contract.”

Next came a statement from current Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr., who had been in talks on a contract extension but negotiations had seemed to stall near the end of last year.

“Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024,” Sainz wrote. “We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the Tifosi all around the world. News about my future will be announced in due course.”

Hamilton will finish his run at Mercedes alongside current teammate George Russell. He will be teammates at Ferrari with Charles Leclerc, who in December agreed to a long-term extension.

Hamilton will be 40 when he moves into a red and black uniform to represent Ferrari. His last championship was in 2020 and he was en route to a record-breaking eighth title in the 2021 season finale until a controversial finish gave the title to Max Verstappen, who has since gone on to win three consecutive titles as Red Bull has surpassed Mercedes as the top team in F1.

Ferrari, meanwhile, has not won a drivers’ title since Finnish driver Kimi Räikkonen won in 2007.


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