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Charles Leclerc warned over Lewis Hamilton arrival at Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton will join up with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025 (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton will join up with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025 (Getty Images)

Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley warned Charles Leclerc against becoming the second driver when Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari.

On February 1, it was announced that Hamilton would leave Mercedes, despite having signed a new two-year deal with the team, and race for Ferrari from 2025.

The seven-time world champion has 103 wins and 104 poles to his name and will partner Leclerc, despite a disappointing start to the 2024 season.

Leclerc only has five Grand Prix trophies to his name, but has a long-standing relationship with the Scuderia having started out on their junior team before rising through the ranks.

Priestley told OLBG: “Charles Leclerc can’t afford to let Lewis Hamilton come in and be the main man at Ferrari.

“Leclerc is reasonably experienced now, he has a few years under his belt and is not a rookie.

“If a driver accepts they’re going to be the second driver of the team, you sign your own death warrant and lose performance from that.

“Leclerc needs to come into the team next year, thinking he’ll be better than Hamilton.

“F1 is a sport in which a huge part is technical with that car, but a huge part is the driver’s confidence in his own ability.”

Leclerc is third in the 2024 drivers championship with 98 points, while Hamilton is two places behind teammate George Russell in ninth with just 27 points.

Priestly added: “My experience from driver pairings, particularly new ones, is they will be best of friends in the beginning and have massive respect for each other. But that can all change if Hamilton and Leclerc are competing for a title against each other.

“If the Ferrari becomes the best car, that’s when it becomes very tricky, and I’ve never seen a situation like that where the drivers don’t fall out and cause problems within the team.”