Opinion Piece

All or Nothing: Does Hamilton Have One Last Chance to Conquer Ferrari?

Hamilton will conclude his 12-year tenure with Mercedes and switch to the Italian outfit Ferrari in 2025.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2024-03-06

Wade McElwain

5 minutes read

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes: The match made in heaven

Lewis Hamilton, the iconic British racing driver, is the most celebrated F1 driver globally. A prodigy, Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren from 2007 to 2012. He achieved a podium finish in his first race and was the runner-up in the 2007 World Drivers' Championship, narrowly missing out to Kimi Räikkönen by one point. The following year, in 2008, Hamilton clinched the World Drivers' Championship in a thrilling final race in Brazil, becoming the youngest Formula One World Champion at that time.

After five years at McLaren, Hamilton surprised everyone by switching to Mercedes for the 2013 season, taking over from the retiring Michael Schumacher. His time with Mercedes saw him achieve 82 Grand Prix wins, establishing him as the most successful driver in the team's history. During his tenure at Mercedes, Hamilton secured an additional 6 World Drivers' Championships and played a pivotal role in the team's eight consecutive World Constructors' titles from 2014 to 2021.

Lewis Hamilton wins his 100th F1 Race.jpeg

Image credit: X (SkySports F1)

Most Race Wins By a Driver in F1

Lewis Hamilton Tops the Chart

DriverCountryWinsSeasons Active
Lewis Hamilton United Kingdom1032007 – Present
Michael SchumacherGermany911991 – 2006 , 2010 – 2012
Max VerstappenNetherlands552015 – Present
Sebastian VettelGermany532007 – 2022
Alain ProstFrance511980 – 1991 , 1993
Ayrton SennaBrazil411984 – 1994
Fernando AlonsoSpain322001 , 2003 – 2018 , 2021 – Present
Nigel MansellUnited Kingdom311980 – 1992 , 1994 – 1995
Jackie StewartUnited Kingdom271965 – 1973
Jim ClarkUnited Kingdom251960 – 1968
Niki LaudaAustria251971 – 1979 , 1982 – 1985
Sportsboom Event Table Logo

The recent announcement of Hamilton joining Ferrari in 2025 sent shockwaves through the F1 community. Hamilton and Mercedes disclosed that their partnership would conclude following the 2024 season. Fans were left stunned, questioning the motives behind this significant change.

Why Hamilton is joining Ferrari?

Is Lewis Hamilton going to Ferrari? That has been a constant speculation for some time now in the F1 world. Before signing the current two-year contract for the 2004-2005 period with Mercedes, reports were circulating in the F1 circuit that Hamilton was in discussions with Ferrari for a switch in the 2004 season. Both Hamilton and Ferrari team principal Frédéric Vasseur refuted the reports.

Vasseur and Hamilton have a long and close relationship, which goes back to Hamilton’s junior racing days. Vasseur led the ART Grand Prix team in 2005, where Hamilton won the F3 title in his first try. Vasseur was also in charge when Hamilton claimed the GP2 championship in 2006. Since then, the enduring friendship between Hamilton and Vasseur may have influenced Hamilton's decision to join Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton with Ferrari Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur.jpeg

Image credit: X (FanaticsFerrari)

Hamilton also has close connections with Ferrari's president, John Elkann. The duo met at an event in Italy and since then have maintained a cordial relationship. The Ferrari chief had previously expressed his desire to bring the champion driver to Ferrari. But Hamilton had previously dispelled all the rumours stating his future lies at Mercedes.

Since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Hamilton controversially lost to Max Verstappen and lost his bid to win the 8th Championships, things went downhill between Hamilton and Mercedes. In the 2022 season, with the new regulations, the Mercedes car has been off the pace to compete with a dominant Red Bull. Hamilton has time and again shown his frustration and disappointment regarding the car and publicly commented how his inputs were overlooked while developing the car.

quote icon

“There was a situation many years ago where we had the opportunity to let Max drive and that wasn’t possible back then because we simply didn’t have a cockpit.”

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff on missing out on young drivers.

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff_2.jpeg

Image credit: X (MercedesAMGF1)

At the same time, Hamilton who was seeking a long-term contract with Mercedes starting from 2024 was given only a two-year deal. It seems because of the short-term nature of the contract there was an inclusion of an exit clause which enabled Hamilton to start the talks with Ferrari about 2025.

Later Mercedes team principal Toto Wolf revealed that Mercedes only gave Lewis Hamilton a short-term contract to guard against potentially losing budding teenage star Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

“There was a situation many years ago where we had the opportunity to let Max drive and that wasn’t possible back then because we simply didn’t have a cockpit”, said Toto Wolf. With the long-term goal of having young and talented race drivers with the team, Mercedes may have been hesitant to offer Hamilton a lengthy contract.

quote icon

"I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red."

Lewis Hamilton announces his move to Ferrari in 2025

Can Hamilton win a record 8th Championship with Ferrari

Every race driver has a secret desire to race for the most coveted F1 team Ferrari. While announcing his switch to Ferrari Hamilton said “I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream. Driving in Ferrari red.” 

Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.jpeg

Image credit: X (leclerc_photos)

Moving to Ferrari will not ensure success for Hamilton, nor will he have a smooth path to achieve his goal of winning the 8th World Championship. Ferrari has not claimed a Constructors' Championship since 2008 or a Drivers' Championship since 2007. In the previous year, Ferrari was defeated by Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship by a margin of just 3 points.

Hamilton's transfer to Ferrari is among the most significant driver moves in Formula 1 history, if not the largest. It has clearly split the fanbases of both teams and has energized Hamilton supporters and Hamilton himself to pursue his dream of winning an 8th Championship and ending on a high note with the most iconic F1 team.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.