Lewis Hamilton: Driving in Ferrari red a childhood dream
Lewis Hamilton says he will fulfil a “childhood dream” by racing for Ferrari in 2025 but is determined to finish his time at Mercedes on a high.
The seven-time Formula One world champion sent shock waves through the sport on Thursday when it was announced that he would join Ferrari next year.
Hamilton had signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes worth £100million in August but the 39-year-old has activated a break clause in that deal after conceding the prospect of “driving in Ferrari red” was too hard to turn down.
“It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions,” Hamilton said in a statement posted on his social media channels.
“But as you all now know, after an incredible 11 years at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life and I will be joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2025.
“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.
“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 won six of his world titles during a seven-year period between 2014 and 2020, but has struggled to match Red Bull rival Max Verstappen since he missed out on what would have been a record world championship in 2021 in controversial fashion.
The British driver is determined to sign off in style at Mercedes and their team principal Toto Wolff stated on Friday he had no concerns over Hamilton’s integrity.
Hamilton continued: “I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve achieved together and I’m very grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone I have worked with over the years and of course Toto, for his friendship, guidance and leadership.
“Together we have won titles, broken records and become the most successful Driver-Team partnership in F1 history.
“And of course I cannot forget Niki (Lauda) who was a huge supporter and who I still miss everyday.
“I must also share my huge appreciation to the whole of the Mercedes-Benz board and everyone at the company in Germany and around the world for supporting me over these 26 years.
“But the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge. 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.
“However, right now, I’m not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes.
“I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focussed than than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100 per cent committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.”Published: by Radio NewsHub