Lewis Hamilton says his choice to leave Mercedes to race for Ferrari will allow him to he could fulfil a childhood dream.
News that the seven-times world champion would join Ferrari, F1’s most successful team, in 2025 stunned the sporting world on Thursday.
Speaking publicly for the first time through a post on social media, Hamilton said the decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari was “the hardest I’ve ever had to make” in his career.
“It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions,” Hamilton said.
“After an incredible 11 years at Mercedes 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.”
The 2024 season will be Hamilton’s 12th and final campaign with Mercedes, having joined the team in 2013. In that time together, they have won 82 grands prix, taken 78 pole positions, had 148 podium finishes and won six drivers and eight constructors’ championships. They are the most successful driver and team combination in the sport’s history.
“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 said.
“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.”
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Hamilton believes “the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge” by joining Ferrari on a multi-year deal from 2025, likening his move to the one he made to Mercedes from McLaren in 2013.
“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013,” he said. “I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to…