Hamilton emotional on his final season with Mercedes before Ferrari switch

Hamilton emotional on his final season with Mercedes before Ferrari switch

Lewis Hamilton revealed that he finds it “surreal” to embark on his final season with Mercedes before switching to Ferrari in 2025.

Lewis Hamilton describes the experience as “surreal” after appearing in the last Mercedes car launch of his career as the seven-time world champion reflects on the deeply emotional period that ultimately motivated him to sign with Ferrari.

Hamilton recently signed a new two-year agreement with Mercedes in August of last year, but he shocked the Formula 1 community during the winter by choosing to walk away from his contract earlier than expected to join the Scuderia.

Although Hamilton’s big transfer has dominated preseason debate, the 39-year-old maintains that his main goal is to get a break through with the Silver Arrows this year.

Speaking at the British Grand Prix’s home track, Silverstone where Mercedes launched its 2024 F1 car, Hamilton acknowledged it has been an honor to work with the team.

At the end of the current season, Hamilton will be joining Ferrari after driving for Mercedes since 2013 and having won six of his seven championships with the team.

“It has obviously been emotional,” Hamilton said, speaking publicly for the first time since his blockbuster move to Ferrari for 2025 was confirmed.

“It’s very surreal to be here, given I came here in 2013, so 11 years with the team, starting my 12th, and it is such a privilege to work with a group of people where you see the work they’re doing over the winter.

Mercedes conducted a brief “shakedown” session at Silverstone on Wednesday in preparation for the three days of preseason testing in Bahrain next week as the goal will be to get the team back to its previous level of performance.

“You see a car come together at the beginning of the year and it is the most exciting part of the season,” Hamilton added. “We have to be diligent, maximise practice and even one lap, George and I might get in the rain today will give us a feeling of what is to come.

“The focus through the whole of winter training is getting the team back to where we once were. We have had these difficult couple of years which have been really grounding for us. It has helped us regroup and really look at things.”

According to Wolff, the Mercedes W15 is “a complete relaunch” of the design following a predominantly black livery last year as the new livery brings back a hint of Mercedes’ classic silver.

“It’s very different, not only on the aerodynamic surfaces, but mainly underneath,” the Mercedes team boss said. “There are so many mechanical changes that we have done which we hope are going to translate into more performance, more predictability, a car that the drivers can really push, and we should be seeing next week in Bahrain.”

Mercedes found it difficult to adjust when ground-effect aerodynamics went back to effect in the 2022 regulations. Red Bull and its star driver Max Verstappen dominated the championship last season as The Silver Arrows failed to win even a single race.

“We know it’s difficult, we know it’s a big mountain to climb because, if a team’s far ahead like the Red Bull was last year, that’s not easy,” Wolff added.

“We have a superb driver combination, hopefully a fast car, the best people in the factory that are giving it all to succeed, I think there’s some very good ingredients to be back in the front again.”

According to Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, Hamilton’s arrival will present a “huge opportunity” for Ferrari as the Italian team that hasn’t had a driver win the world championship after Kimi Raikkonen edged Hamilton in 2007.

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