Hamilton back in a Mercedes for first time since shock Ferrari announcement

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Lewis Hamilton returned to test for Mercedes for the first time since he stunned the team by confirming he will leave at the end of this season.

The seven-times world champion’s impending move to Ferrari was announced on Thursday. The upcoming season will be his 12th and last as a Mercedes driver.

Hamilton was one of two drivers conducting tyre testing duties for Pirelli at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. He was joined by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. Both drivers used the cars they raced during last season.

The pair covered over 1,200 kilometres between them at the track which last hosted a round of the world championship in 1997. With ambient temperatures of 30C and track temperatures a usefully representative 20C, Alonso logged 156 laps and set a quickest time of 1’18.752. Hamilton did 126 and got his time down to a 1’18.936.

However the objective for the two drivers was not performance runs but continuing the development of tyres for the 2025 season. Ferrari already contributed to this last week, running Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr in an SF-23 at Fiorano.

Mercedes and Aston Martin will continue Pirelli’s testing programme at the circuit tomorrow. George Russell and Lance Stroll will take over driving from their respective team mates.

Hamilton said news of his planned move had received a positive reaction in a post on social media. “The past few days have been all love,” he wrote. “Thank you all, the energy and support means everything. Can’t wait to start this season, 2024 is all us.”

Mercedes are due to launch their new car on Wednesday next week.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Hamilton back in a Mercedes for first time since shock Ferrari announcement”

  1. Surprisingly warm temperatures for the start of Feb.
    Let’s hope this gives Pirelli relevant data

    1. All this tyre testing and they still make fragile un-raceable tyres after 12 years.

      1. It was a bit chaotic at the beginning but it wasn’t so bad in that teams made plenty pit stops for fresh rubber, then they started to make less stops with a focus on saving the tyres, extending the stint to ensure less time in the pits, combined with reductions in pitlane speeds you have the current formula that races on the pinnacle of bad tyres

        1. did you forget to change account? :) But as you know FT tyre deg and overheating is what gives us any racing at all after T1. This is the exact problem with the Sprints, that tyres don’t really come into it so you’ve got 20 cars that are too similar, too wide, too fast and with the 20 best drivers in the world who obviously are very very similar too, so they just go round and round for 100km

          So Pirelli will be using the data specially to give us tyres that don’t last or stand much sliding, and create differences

    2. José Lopes da Silva
      6th February 2024, 22:43

      “Surprisingly warm temperatures for the start of Feb”
      Well, not anymore

    3. Ambient most certainly wasn’t 30, but around 20 as has been the case consistently since late last month.

  2. Nice red air intake

  3. I’m sure Alonso will still be delighted to get the fastest lap! Seeing him enjoy beating Russell at mini table tennis on a flight and set the fastest time playing around on Assetto Corsa against some junior racers, he seems to be the kind of guy who wants to win at absolutely everything. I’m a mite older than him and fairly fit. I’d say he’d push you all the way to the line on a “friendly” bike spin. We do lose something with age, but it’s good to see with Alonso that we’re not ready for the scrap heap just yet! Usually drivers of Alonso’s talent are happy enough with what they’ve got by the time they reach 40 so we haven’t seen what maximum dedication and preparation can give at that age in F1.

    Lewis seems to be going in the same direction. Remarkable that he still wants more even though he’s already the most successful driver. Winning with Ferrari is perhaps all that is left.

    1. It probably also plays a role that many drivers will have become fathers and husbands by that time, and dedicating their entire being to the sport no longer holds the same appeal as it did when they were 20.

  4. I still don’t quite get the use of last season’s machinery in tyre testing even though 2-year-old cars were supposed to be the most recent ones permitted for any running outside race weekends & official group testing.

    1. Testing of current cars (TCC) is also allowed on “A maximum of forty (40) car days of testing organised by the FIA in consultation with all Competitors and the appointed tyre supplier, for the sole purpose of providing the appointed tyre supplier with the chance to test improvements to the design of their tyres.” (10.8.e)

      1. I hadn’t noticed that part before, so I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to detail with the rule paragraphs.

  5. isthatglock21
    7th February 2024, 18:30

    I always felt trye testing when you reach that stage of your career is just a chore of a task. Dull stuff, although better than mid season testing, at least this way pre-season you can wake the muscles up in a way the gym can’t replicate.

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