Final season at Mercedes feels ’emotional and surreal’ – Hamilton

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton says it feels “surreal” to be heading into his final season with Mercedes in this year’s Formula 1 championship.

The seven-times world champions will race for the team with which he won six drivers’ titles for the 12th and final season in 2024 ahead of his move to Ferrari for next year.

Speaking at the launch of the team’s new car for the 2024 season, the W15, Hamilton admitted it felt strange to be looking towards his final season for the team.

“It’s obviously been emotional,” Hamilton said. “It’s very surreal to be here given that I came here in 2013 – so 11 years with the team, starting my 12th. It is such a privilege to work with a group of people where you see the work they’re doing over winter.”

Despite Hamilton and Mercedes being the most successful team and driver partnership in the history of the sport, Hamilton has not won a grand prix since the ground effect regulations were introduced in 2022. After Mercedes went win-less as a team last season, Hamilton says the team are more “grounded” heading into the new year

“The focus through the whole of winter training is first on getting the team back to where we once were,” he said. “I think we’ve had this difficult couple of years, which I think has been really grounding for us. It’s helped us regroup.”

Hamilton says he is looking forward to experiencing the car on track for the first time today at Silverstone, alongside team mate George Russell.

“We’ve had to re-look at things and it’s now just going through the important process, being really diligent with our work, understanding the data, understanding the car, maximising from practice – even just one lap we might get in the rain today might give George and I a bit of a feeling of what’s to come,” he said.

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“The learnings of the past two years have helped us find our direction. “It’s enabled us to find our north star. It’s still going to be a work in progress, but we will face whatever challenges present themselves with our heads up, with open minds, and work through diligently.”

Along with the significant changes to the car’s bodywork as Mercedes have abandoned the ‘zero sidepod’ concept with the W15, Hamilton believes further changes to the car’s interior could prove crucial.

“To know everything that’s underneath the hood, which people won’t get to see but we – George and I – will get to experience on the track, it’s exciting,” Hamilton said.

“If you’re not comfortable with the car, you’re not able to extract the maximum performance. A more stable, more predictable car will enable us to extract the potential from not only the car, but ourselves as drivers.”

Despite moving to Ferrari at the end of the year, Hamilton says he remains motivated to try and succeed in his final year with Mercedes.

“I know what this team is capable of,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for the work of every single person in this team.

“Every time you’re in the factory, you can see the sheer drive and determination of everyone. We are all mega-motivated for the year ahead and will be giving it everything we’ve got on the journey ahead.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Final season at Mercedes feels ’emotional and surreal’ – Hamilton”

  1. The learnings of the past two years have helped us find our direction.

    added: and thats why i leave for ferrari..

  2. That 1 + 1 contract was the writing on the wall. Hamiton might I found himself in 2026 without a drive, or given the boot rather than allowed to leave with dignity.

    The last two races of the last season were the other warning signs forcing him to take that once-in-a-lifetime deal with Team Red.

  3. Going to be a great season. I especially look forward to discovering all the ways George is going to say he should get the priority without actually saying he should get the priority.

    1. Ahah, indeed, that’s very typical!

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