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Lewis Hamilton to leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for 2025 Formula 1 season

Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari next year and replace Carlos Sainz in a shock move; Hamilton signed a two-year contract with Mercedes which expires at the end of 2025 but he will spend just one more season with the team; watch every F1 race in 2024 live on Sky Sports F1

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Craig Slater says Lewis Hamilton is taking a 'calculated risk' by moving from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

Hamilton's current contract with Mercedes was due to expire at the end of 2025 but he will depart the team after this season and replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.

The British driver activated a release clause in his Mercedes contract, and Ferrari confirmed on Thursday evening that the seven-time world champion is joining them on a "multi-year" deal.

Mercedes employees in Brackley were informed of the news earlier on Thursday afternoon before the official announcement from the team.

Charles Leclerc signed a new contract with Ferrari last week and will be Hamilton's team-mate at Ferrari from next year.

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Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari for the 2025 F1 season as the seven-time champion targets a record eighth world title

The seven-time world champion is the most successful driver in F1 history with 103 wins and 104 pole positions. Michael Schumacher is the only other driver with seven world titles.

Hamilton, who has not won a race since December 2021, joined Mercedes in 2013 from McLaren and has won six world titles with the team.

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He was linked to Ferrari for this year but signed a new two-year contract last summer, along with Mercedes team-mate George Russell, to stay until the end of 2025.

The new 2024 F1 season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2 - live on Sky Sports F1.

Hamilton's shock move to Ferrari at a glance

  • Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season and join Ferrari in time for the 2025 campaign
  • Hamilton will replace Carlos Sainz as team-mate to Charles Leclerc
  • Hamilton has signed a "multi-year" deal
  • Hamilton and Sainz will keep racing for Mercedes and Ferrari respectively for this upcoming 2024 season

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Speaking in May 2023, Lewis Hamilton insisted he was happy at Mercedes and downplayed reports of a possible move to Ferrari

One of F1's biggest-ever moves

Sky Sports News' Craig Slater:

"It's so hard to finish a sporting career. Lionel Messi has maybe had the World Cup to top it off with, but how difficult is it to exit the stage when you've had this glittering career at the top?

"What does Lewis Hamilton do to top off this masterpiece? Certainly a couple of years in red, following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher, could he win the eighth world title? Schumacher won five of his seven with Ferrari - that would really top it off."

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In May 2023, Charles Leclerc gave a diplomatic answer when asked about reports linking Lewis Hamilton with a move to Ferrari

"Hamilton's 39 years old now. This is maybe his last opportunity to drive for Ferrari. He has previously talked about being happy to finish his career at Mercedes, with whom he has achieved so much.

"He says his idol Ayrton Senna never drove for Ferrari, and therefore you can have an iconic career without driving for them.

"Is it a gamble in pure racing terms? He's had two winless years and has seen Red Bull sweep all before them.

"In 2025, he will be at Ferrari, who have been nip and tuck with Mercedes over this previous period - but a good distance behind Red Bull."

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell reflect on the 2023 F1 season, which eventually saw Mercedes secure second spot in the Constructors' Championship

Hamilton's past links to Ferrari

Hamilton has been linked to Ferrari several times since his F1 career started in 2007 with McLaren.

He won his first world championship with McLaren in 2008 but left at the end of 2012 to join Mercedes, where he has formed the most successful team-driver partnership in F1 history with 82 victories.

However, since the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton has rarely fought at the front of the pack as Red Bull got on top of the new 2022 regulations and Mercedes fell behind.

He failed to win and take pole position for the first time in 2022 and continued his winless streak in 2023.

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Rewind to the 2018 Singapore GP as Anthony Davidson looked at Lewis Hamilton's 'magic lap' which helped secure pole position

The 39-year-old most recently held talks with Ferrari last year, after previous links during his time at Mercedes, but team principal Frederic Vasseur claimed the Italian outfit never offered him a contract.

Hamilton told ESPN in May 2023: "I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about ending my career anywhere else. I started at McLaren, I'd like to think I'll always be a part of the McLaren family, I started there when I was 13 years old, so I thought about what it would look like if I was at McLaren one day.

"I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red... But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home. I'm happy where I am. I haven't signed a contract yet, but we are working on one."

Leclerc has been at Ferrari since 2019 and Hamilton will be his third team-mate at Scuderia, having partnered Sebastian Vettel for two seasons and Sainz since 2021.

Image: Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc will be team-mates from 2025

Asked last year if he would welcome Hamilton as a team-mate, he said: "If I say yes, I imagine it being the title of every newspaper. But I mean, Lewis is such an incredible driver, has achieved so much in the sport.

"So, I think anybody on the grid will love to have Lewis as a team-mate, as everybody will learn a lot from him. But yeah, again, I'm happy where I am. And with Carlos, it's a great relationship too."

Reaction to Hamilton's shock move

Who will replace Hamilton?

Hamilton's surprise announcement leaves Mercedes in a tricky position as they are losing a driver seen as one of the greatest of all time.

Sainz, who was the only non-Red Bull race winner last year, also loses out and is now without a drive for 2025.

"What I think is worth mentioning here is this explains why McLaren signed up Lando Norris to a longer-term deal a couple of weeks ago and why Ferrari signed up Leclerc as well," added Slater.

"Ferrari, as soon as they knew they were getting Hamilton - and I understand this courtship has been going on for several months, it's not a new thing... - the other teams have been aware their prize assets might be a target for Mercedes.

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A look back at our pick of the best overtakes from the 2023 Formula 1 season

"It's hard to see who Mercedes promote - probably good news for George Russell, he'll become No 1 within the team.

"Frederik Vesti is their junior driver, he's not ready for Formula 1. They've got Mick Schumacher as their reserve driver, who didn't have a great start to his F1 career - might he be a stop-gap? Alex Albon, to me, might be the heavyweight signing to replace Hamilton."

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