Lewis Hamilton has warned those who feel he is making a mistake switching to Ferrari next year that he has “the same feeling” in his bones he had before he moved from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013.
Speaking for the first time since his bombshell transfer was announced on Thursday, the seven-time world champion described it as the “hardest decision of his career” but insisted it was the “right move” now, as it was 11 years ago.
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes just before the new hybrid era started proved a masterstroke as they went on to win eight constructors’ titles in a row, with Hamilton picking up six of his seven drivers’ titles and 82 of his 103 wins.
New power unit regulations come into force in 2026, which could shake up the competitive order once again. Hamilton has signed a “multi-year” deal with Ferrari starting in 2025.
“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013,” Hamilton posted on social media. “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.”
It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions.
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.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) February 3, 2024
Hamilton, who only told Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff on Wednesday of his decision to move to Maranello, admitted it had been a “crazy few days” filled with “a whole range of emotions”.
The 39 year-old thanked Mercedes for everything they had done for him during his career. But said he was excited to fulfil another “childhood dream”.
“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,” he wrote. “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. 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.”
Hamilton finished by saying he was not yet thinking about 2025 as he wanted to give his final season with Mercedes his full focus.
“I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focused than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again,” he said. “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.”