RACE DEBRIEF

    Damon Hill has given his take on why Lewis Hamilton has opted to make his shock move to Ferrari for 2025, with the 1996 world champion suggesting that there was much more to the switch than simply the “romance” of racing for the Scuderia.

    It was confirmed on Thursday that Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 campaign after signing a multi-year contract with Ferrari, having activated a release clause in his contract with the Silver Arrows which would previously have kept him at the team through 2025.

    READ MORE: How Lewis Hamilton’s sensational move from Mercedes to Ferrari played out

    The news has sparked plenty of reaction across the Formula 1 world, given that many had expected Hamilton to spend the remainder of his career in the sport with Mercedes. But the seven-time world champion has chosen to break away after 12 years and plenty of success with his current squad.

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    Hamilton will depart Mercedes after 12 years racing for the team

    Reflecting on the announcement, former F1 driver Hill called the switch a “shock to the system” but suggested that recent positive signs coming from Ferrari may have been a key factor in Hamilton’s decision.

    “Lewis has taken command of his career and his direction,” Hill said in a discussion on Sky Sports. “It’s not like Mercedes have said to him, ‘Oh, we’ve signed someone else’, which is what happened with me.

    ANALYSIS: Why Hamilton decided now was the time to jump from Mercedes to Ferrari

    “But I think that, [with] this decision, we know it’s a given [regarding] the Ferrari benefits of the brand and all the other things that come with [it], the romance and the history and all of that, it’s a given. But I think there’s more to this, which is [that] I thought there was [recent] evidence that Ferrari were starting to solidify as a competitive package.

    SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 03: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-23 on track
    Hill believes that Ferrari have been starting to "solidify" in recent times

    “They were starting to put together the components and they were starting to get results. And I think if you had a choice between Mercedes giving you the same equipment and Ferrari, I’d rather go to Ferrari and try something different.”

    Ferrari posed a close challenge to Mercedes in the battle for second place of the constructors’ championship in 2023. The Silver Arrows ultimately sealed the position by just three points, but it was the Italian squad who secured the only non-Red Bull race victory of the year thanks to Carlos Sainz’s win in Singapore.

    DRIVER MARKET: What options do Mercedes have after Hamilton’s dramatic Ferrari move?

    Mercedes, meanwhile, have not won a Grand Prix since 2022 when George Russell claimed his debut P1 result in Brazil, meaning that Hamilton has gone without a victory since 2021.