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Lewis Hamilton

What the current F1 drivers make of Hamilton’s shock Ferrari switch

Following the shock announcement that Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025, hear from the current grid of drivers and their thoughts regarding the move.

Hamilton press conference
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

The build-up to Formula 1’s new season has been dominated by the news that Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes and join Ferrari in 2025.

It has been labelled as one of the biggest driver transfers in F1 history with Hamilton opting to team up with Charles Leclerc for a new challenge.

Many ex-Formula 1 drivers and pundits have weighed in on the situation and provided their thoughts - but what does the current grid think?

Surprise

For some of the drivers, they expressed surprise at the news. Although he would have known the news prior to the announcement, outgoing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz admitted he was taken aback when he was informed of the deicion by the team.

"It was a bit of a surprise - like to everyone in the F1 world - with the news,” said Sainz. “Everyone was surprised in a way with what happened and from my side, I got to know the news a bit earlier than everyone else.”

Alexander Albon, who is being listed as a potential replacement for Hamilton, was also amazed by the news.

“It just shows you how big Lewis is, seeing the stock of Ferrari going up as much as it did and just seeing the general perception of the news,” he said.

“Definitely, to me, it was one of them pinch-yourself moments - ‘is this a real story?’ It reminds me of the [Lionel] Messi Miami transfer on such a huge scale, and just shows you the appetite for Formula 1.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant added: “I was surprised, I was shocked. It shows Lewis can go wherever he wants. If that's what he feels like will really motivate him to keep improving and ultimately try to win another World Championship, you have to respect and understand the decision.”

Zhou Guanyu, who shares a management figure with Hamilton in Marc Hynes, stated he was in the know prior to the announcement - but was still stunned by the news.

“I know Marc, which is his [Hamilton’s] kind of management together with me. I text him before it, so I knew he was signing, it was a fact. I didn't tell anyone. I was still really shocked by the news.”

Not surprised

While some drivers communicated surprise, others were less moved by the news.

"Obviously, he's been a long time with Mercedes, but I was aware of some talks with Ferrari,” Alpine’s Pierre Gasly claimed. “Ultimately, he's towards the end of his career. So it was either now or never. I think it was kept secret for quite a long time. I just wish him the best.”

Gasly’s team-mate Esteban Ocon was anticipating a hectic season of driver transfers, he wasn’t expecting it to kick into gear as early as it has.

“I knew it was going be a crazy season for sure. I didn't think it was going to start early in January. But it's going to be all year like that."

While Daniel Ricciardo was surprised by the timing of the decision, he voiced that he understands Hamilton’s choice.

“The timing was a bit more of a surprise to do it one year in advance. But the decision, I totally see why,” Ricciardo said.

“He’s spent so long with Mercedes and there's the loyalty which is admirable. But also, 10 years, that’s a long stint. So I think it's time for him to try something else.”

Well wishers and… Alonso

Ex-title rival Max Verstappen and his former team-mate Valtteri Bottas both offered Hamilton well on his new venture.

“I think it will look cool,” Verstappen said. “I hope for them that it's going to be a success, but you don't know at the moment.”

Bottas added: “I think it’s good for him. It’s a big opportunity, it’s a big move. Obviously, he’s made the decision himself, so I’m happy for him.”

Leclerc is set to face his toughest career test to date when he links up with Hamilton in 12 months’ time and is excited by what he will bring to the team.

"Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history and with a lot of experience as well which he will bring to the team and obviously to myself, which is a good thing,” the Monegasque driver said. “We texted each other of course. He is a great champion with so much success.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Fernando Alonso however, moved to question Hamilton’s decision amid his claim of it being a “dream” to join the Italian outfit.

"It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago - or two months ago - I guess, because he had a different dream. I hope he enjoys the experience, it is a very special team.”

Hamilton’s decision to join is no doubt a blow for Mercedes and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez highlighted that Ferrari has a lot to gain by signing the 103-time race winner.

“It’s going be interesting to watch from the outside. Having a driver that is moving teams, we all know how jealous the teams are on sharing information,” Perez said. “Lewis has been there many years and he will be taking a lot of knowledge to another team.”

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