Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Hamilton: Joining Ferrari is a “gut” decision but “I’ll always be a Mercedes fan”

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed he had little time to make his decision to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari next year.

The Mercedes driver told his team late last month he would leave them at the end of the season to join Ferrari. Hamilton said he had little time to consider an offer from Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur before taking it.

“It happened very fast,” he told the BBC. “I’ve known Fred for a long time and for me, I was excited for a new year, but not really knowing what the future would hold, not really knowing how long I was going to race for, but knowing that I felt super-driven and excited to continue to race.

“The opportunity just popped up and I was like, ‘okay, I’ve got to think for a second’. I didn’t have a lot of time to think, and I had to just go with my gut feeling. And I decided to take the opportunity.”

Mercedes have powered Hamilton’s cars in every one of his 17 Formula 1 seasons to date. He said the decision to leave them for Ferrari was one to make with “your gut and your heart.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2022
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“I didn’t speak to anybody,” he continued. “I didn’t tell my parents ’til the day of it being announced. So no one knew. I really wanted to do it for myself. Ultimately, I had to find out what was going to be the best for me.”

Hamilton has only moved teams once before in his career, when he left McLaren to join Mercedes in 2013. He said he will still root for his two former teams when he joins Ferrari.

“It was the hardest decision. When I left McLaren it was a very, very hard decision also because it was like my family. You feel such a part of the family and obviously Mercedes has been such a huge part of my life and we’ve achieved so much together.

“The thing is, I will always be a Mercedes fan, and we’ll always have this incredible history together. Even now, all these years after I’ve left McLaren, I always check where they are and I’m generally always supporting them. And that will always be the case for me here also.”

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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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17 comments on “Hamilton: Joining Ferrari is a “gut” decision but “I’ll always be a Mercedes fan””

  1. Next year when he beats a Mercedes, will he be like a footballer who’s just scored against his old team? Look at me, I’m not celebrating.
    I doubt he’d be up there on the Monza podium trying to look miserable and not spraying anything.

    1. We’ve had full colour television for a long time time now. I’m sure both are possible, we’re not robots that work in binary

    2. No, Lewis is one of those drivers who just wants to be fastest. He’ll celebrate beating George Russell just as hard as he’d celebrate beating Alonso– or LeClerc.

    3. You can have an ex wife and still care for her. You can like more than just one person, institution, company, friend if you have good memories.

    4. Seb is a good example of being able of both celebrating with the new team and stay close to the old one.

  2. If that’s what happened, fair play for going for it and making the decision I in his own. I hope this is a reset for planet Lewis and he gives racing his all. The more pure racers going at it like gladiators, the better.

  3. Sounds a like the public relations version of “have cake and eat it too”

    1. Has there ever been an F1 world champion who didn’t?

      1. Yes. Ever hear Prost, Senna, Lauda, Kimi etc do so? In fact most F1 champions do not feel the need to insult our intelligence by crying on about how they are leaving their ‘family’ which is so hard, most just get on with it for which I am so #grateful.

        1. But then again this particular world champion owes a lot to this team. Without it, he would still be a 1 WDC and someone else would have racked up 6 or 7. If Alonso had gone to Mercedes instead of Hamilton he would be a 8x or 9x WDC (if he could have prevented Rosberg from taking 1). Lewis knows this and displays it through his posture, remarks and his approach towards Max and Alonso. He knows he still has to prove himself despite his tally. He most certainly is one of the better drivers in history but little can be said on how he ranks amongst the great since the car (or rather engine) significantly coloured the picture.

          1. Mayrton, always with the BS when Hamilton comes up. Any world champion owes a lot to their team.

          2. I don’t see a thing wrong in mayrton’s comment: hamilton himself admitted he’d only have 1 title if he had stayed at mclaren, alonso is a driver of similar or higher level than hamilton, so it’s not unthinkable he could win 2016 despite bad luck, it was very close for hamilton too, and it’s indeed very difficult to say how good hamilton is in relation to the best drivers of all times, since he had a dominant car for so long.

            Have you ever heard hamilton being talked about as a greatest of all times contender before 2014 started? If not you can’t deny the effect of a dominant car in his status.

  4. A big part of Vasseur’s offer must have been Ferrari’s 100% commitment to provide Hamilton with a championship winning car, and totally supportive team, in 2026.

    1. Just like they promised to Alonso and Vettel?

      1. Yes, I agree, they can’t promise such a thing, wanting to be a title contender and actually making a title contending car are 2 different things, and then even if you have a good enough car you still have to develop it properly and not throw points away with bad strategies, things which are definitely ferrari’s weaknesses.

  5. It may be a gut decision but will it satisfy his hunger for another championship or be the gutful he ends his career on?

    1. When Charles Leclerc wins a few WDCs from 2025 on it is going to hurt

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