Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton’s Sensational Switch To Ferrari, Explained

Lewis Hamilton must make another extraordinary leap of faith, for the second time in his career.

Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton’s Sensational Switch To Ferrari, Explained

British driver Lewis Hamilton will drive for Ferrari in 2025, severing a decade-long partnership with Mercedes which produced one of the single greatest eras in Formula 1 history. So why has Hamilton made this decision? What does it all mean?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or like Oscar Piastri, supposedly out for a run – you would’ve undoubtedly heard the news that seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is set to leave Mercedes and join Scuderia Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season.

It’s a move that has shocked the sport overnight. Journalists and commentators in the know were teasing a big announcement sometime this week, but nobody saw this one coming.

Lewis Hamilton is set to leave Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton will leave the team where he has enjoyed unprecedented success over the last 10 years, to join a team, rich in history, but without a WDC-winning driver since the great Michael Schumacher won his last title in 2004.

It was only September of last year, when Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff seemingly put the speculation to rest, extending Hamilton’s contract by a further two years to stave off interest from around the paddock.

It was assumed that that was the end of it. But just four months later, Hamilton is on the move for the second time in his illustrious career, reminiscent of his remarkable switch from McLaren to Mercedes back in 2013.

Image: Getty

There have, of course, always been murmurs about a potential swapping of seats for the British driver throughout his career; which is only natural.

Lewis Hamilton is the most decorated driver in the history of the sport and has won 103 races under his belt, although he hasn’t tasted the sponsored Moët of victory for more than two seasons, sitting uncomfortably in two Mercedes cars that have vehemently failed to match the unrelenting speed of its many rivals.

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, whilst unexpected, will have been a simple choice for the 39-year-old: In order to win, he needs to leave.

Hamilton’s desperate for his eighth World Championship

Back in 2021, Hamilton controversially saw a record-breaking eighth WDC title ripped away in Abu Dhabi and will know that to challenge Max Verstappen and the autonomy of the new Red Bull era, his car needs to be competitive… something Mercedes hasn’t been able to provide.

Ferrari’s car in 2025, under the guidance of his old McLaren Team Principal and mentor, Fred Vasseur, could be his last chance to win that elusive eighth World Championship with Ferrari.

“I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together,” Hamilton said in a statement. “Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It’s a place where I have grown up, so deciding to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the time is right for me to take this step and I’m excited to be taking on a new challenge.”

Image: Press Association via AP Images

Hamilton believes Ferrari has the car to compete

The British driver will be 40 by the time he wears the iconic red suit of the Scuderia Ferrari and it wasn’t all that long ago that he confessed he couldn’t imagine himself still competing at that age. But there aren’t many drivers on the grid who would pass up the opportunity to race for the sport’s most successful team in history.

The challenge for Hamilton will be to get back to winning ways; something Ferrari has been working on for more than two decades. Ironically, Ferrari would have a few more WDC trophies in their cabinet if it weren’t for the form of Hamilton in 2017 and 2018… just ask Sebastian Vettel.

Image: Getty

In 2023, Red Bull and its two drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez enjoyed unprecedented success to secure a second consecutive Constructors’ Championship. Together, the pair won a staggering 21 races – a record-breaking 95.4% of available Grands Prix last season.

It was only Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari’s outgoing driver, who was able to stop Red Bull from winning the lot; Charles Leclerc could have also won at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, had it not been for an unfortunately timed safety car.

Although Mercedes eventually pipped Ferrari to the best of the rest by the end of the season, the stuttering performances of last year’s car will be evidence enough for Hamilton that to be competitive again, he simply cannot stay at Mercedes. Hamilton must make another extraordinary leap of faith, for the second time in his career.