Former Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug has admitted to being “blown away” by Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari.
Hamilton will end his long association with Mercedes at the end of the upcoming season before linking up with Charles Leclerc at the famous Italian outfit.
The news took many by surprise, including Haug, who brought Mercedes back to F1 in 1994 as an engine supplier.
Mercedes became a works team in 2010, just four years before it became a World Championship-winning squad in the turbo-hybrid era.
“If I had a bet on one thing, on a combination in Formula 1 that would last for all eternity, it would have been Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes,” Haug told Motorsport-Magazin.
"I was completely blown away. I would have sworn all my oaths that it would stay that way forever and that he will stay with the star as a brand ambassador or whatever afterwards.”
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Hamilton a 'perfect' employee
Hamilton has achieved unparalleled success with Mercedes, winning 82 Grands Prix and six World Championships at the team.
Hamilton’s arrival at the squad came shortly after Haug departed his leadership role.
Through Hamilton's decision, Haug believes that Mercedes is losing more than an all-time legend of the sport.
"He's perfect for me,” he said. “I mean, what mark has he made on Formula 1? Why do people say that Formula 1 has a single superstar?
“Of course [Max] Verstappen is the fastest, he's maturing.
“But all the statements that Lewis makes, his appearances, his activities off the track, his fight for equal treatment - of both genders and colours. That's very remarkable."