Skip to content

Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari: Carlos Sainz 'surprised' by signing for 2025 but has no hard feelings

Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, says he and Lewis Hamilton have "texted each other of course" since the Briton's big 2025 move was announced; Fred Vasseur says Hamilton signing a 'huge opportunity" for Ferrari; watch pre-season testing live from February 21 on Sky Sports F1

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz admits he was surprised by the news that Lewis Hamilton will replace him in 2025, but insists he has several attractive options for his next move

Carlos Sainz says he "totally respects" Lewis Hamilton and bears no hard feelings towards him after the seven-time champion unexpectedly signed to take his Ferrari seat from 2025.

In news which stunned F1, Sainz admits he was as surprised as anyone to learn that Hamilton was leaving Mercedes to take his seat for next year, although the Spanish driver confirmed that Ferrari had informed him of the seismic transfer before the details emerged on an unsuspecting wider world on February 1.

Sainz had been in discussions to renew his own deal, which expires at the end of 2024, and had been expected to stay on next to Charles Leclerc for at least one more season.

"There was always good talks and positive talks and then obviously it is true that at one point I got to know about this and it surprised me I guess as much as it surprised you in the UK," he told Sky Sports News after the launch of the team's 2024 car on Tuesday.

"But it's true I got to know it a bit in advance before it all happened.

"As I said, it surprised me but it also gave me a bit of time to think about it, to realise what was happening and try to move forward and thinking that with still one year ahead of us in Ferrari, I wanted to close off my chapter here in the best possible way."

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz of Spain, left, talks to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during a press conference at the Baku circuit, in Baku, Azerbaijan, Thursday, April 27, 2022. The Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday April 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Image: Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz of Spain, left, talks to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during a press conference at the Baku circuit, in Azerbaijan in April 2022

Asked if he carried any hard feelings towards his 2025 replacement, Sainz replied: "No, not at all. I totally respect Lewis and his choice.

Also See:

"If anything, maybe I would have come here even earlier because I love Ferrari and I think it's a great place to spend part of your career. I've always wanted to be a Ferrari driver and I've done my stint of four years that I love.

"I've also been on the other side of things when I came here to Ferrari in place of Sebastian Vettel and between drivers, between all of us, we know this is a business and we just end up in different teams.

"Sometimes it's your turn to move over, other times you arrive there, and I'm mature enough, I've been in this business long enough, to know how these things work."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1's Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton might have become dissatisfied at Mercedes and could be seeking a new challenge at Ferrari

Sainz, who is now looking for his fifth different team in what will be his 10th year of F1, added: "When a seven-time world champion comes knocking on the door of a team like Ferrari it's obviously going to be a very attractive option for both parties.

"I know that I've given my maximum for this team, I will keep doing the same, and there's plenty of good options out there to continue my career."

The Spaniard turns 30 in September and added: "I'm not going to lie, there are important years ahead of me now. I want to find like I did in Ferrari a good stability, a good environment to work in and I'm going to take my time to listen to all the options and pick the best possible option to be happy but also be competitive and be winning as soon as possible again."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ferrari launched their new car for the upcoming 2024 season, donning yellow and white stripes in an attempt to 'break with tradition'

Since joining from McLaren to replace seven-time champion Vettel from 2021, Sainz has won the first two races of his F1 career in red and proved a strong team-mate to Leclerc.

Even before news of Hamilton's arrival emerged, Sainz had been strongly linked with Audi's arrival in F1 from 2026 - the German manufacturer is teaming up with Sauber - while there are seats currently open at Mercedes, Red Bull and Aston Martin for next year.

Speaking in a press conference with the wider media, Sainz said: "I don't know the identity of my next team. But there are plenty of options out there.

"I am approaching the most important three or four years of my career and I want to make sure that I am in the right place."

Leclerc on messages with 'great champion' Hamilton

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc wants his partnership with Carlos Sainz to end with a F1 world title after it was announced Lewis Hamilton would be replacing him in 2025

Leclerc, meanwhile, was speaking for the first time publicly about the team's signing of Hamilton to be his next team-mate. He confirmed he had been informed of the developments while he was negotiating his own contract renewal, which was announced on January 25.

"Obviously, these kind of deals are not finalised overnight, so it takes time, and I was aware of those discussions before signing my deal, so it didn't come out as a surprise after signing," said Leclerc, who has signed on for an extended unspecified multi-year term.

"Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history, with a lot of experience as well, which he will bring to the team and myself, which is a good thing.

"With Carlos it has been great, and we have got one more year together to try and do the best job possible."

Leclerc is good friends with Hamilton, with the pair having spoken in the past about playing Call of Duty online together, and said they had naturally messaged each about the move.

"We have had discussions with Lewis, especially when everything was announced and official. We texted each other of course," he said.

"As I said, Lewis is a great champion with a lot of experience and so much success. It is always interesting to have a new team-mate as you learn different ways of working, of driving, and even more so when my team-mate is a seven-time world champion."

Vasseur: Lewis arrival 'a huge opportunity' for Ferrari

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur says they remain fully focused on the 2024 season and will push Carlos Sainz all the way in his final season with the F1 team

The looming marriage of F1's most successful-ever driver with its most successful-ever team has been widely described as the biggest transfer in the sport's history.

Speaking about the Hamilton signing for the first time in front of the media, team principal Frederic Vasseur underlined its significance for Ferrari.

But, on the day the team launched the new car they hope will significantly close the gap to Red Bull in the new season, he also stressed "we don't want to have any kind of distraction" in 2024 hence why they opted to announce the signing before the season started.

"It's a huge opportunity for the team, for sure," said Vasseur, who was Hamilton's team boss in GP2, now Formula 2, when the Briton won the feeder series in 2006 the year before he joined the F1 grid with McLaren.

"We are sure that it will be a decent step for the future and it will be a good challenge for everybody, but we want to be focused on 2024.

"We don't want to have any kind of distraction. It's also why we made the announcement so early, because it was important for us to be focused on 2024."

Lewis Hamilton and Frederic Vasseur
Image: Lewis Hamilton and Frederic Vasseur in 2006

While Ferrari chairman John Elkann is thought to have played the pivotal role in securing Hamilton's signature, Vasseur's past relationship with the 39-year-old in GP2 is likely to have helped the deal too.

"We have a good relationship for now a bit more than 20 years," said the Frenchman when asked about the nature of the talks with Hamilton. "We were always in contact to speak about different things and I think it came naturally.

"I don't know what was decisive, or what was not, but it came like this, step by step."

Like Hamilton at Mercedes. Sainz now faces the unusual situation of starting a new season already knowing he is leaving the team in December. However, Vasseur has no doubts about the Spaniard's commitment and focus.

"I'm fully convinced that Carlos will be fully dedicated and fully committed to the season until the last lap and the last corner of the season," he added. "And equally, I'm sure that all the team will be fully motivated and fully behind Carlos."

The Ferrari team principal also insisted the decision to sign Hamilton was in no way a slight on Sainz, who has performed strongly for the team.

"Unfair I don't think is the right word because I think for the team, the opportunity of Lewis is something that you have to consider in any case.

"It has nothing to do with Carlos."

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here...

Watch pre-season testing from Bahrain live on Sky Sports F1 from February 21-23 and every round of the new season, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

Around Sky