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Hamilton to make shock switch from Mercedes to Ferrari for 2025 season

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Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will make a sensational switch from Mercedes to Ferrari next year on a multi-year contract, a move he called "one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make".

Hamilton has raced for the Silver Arrows since the 2013 season and has won six of his seven world titles with the team, adding to the crown he achieved at McLaren earlier in his career.

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

He had also re-committed to Mercedes last summer, signing a new deal to keep him aboard through 2025, but this will now be cut short to allow for his headline-making move.

Hamilton’s decision comes after two challenging seasons for the Brackley squad, who have struggled to adapt to F1’s latest ground effect era and have dropped behind Red Bull in the pecking order.

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Hamilton will swap his Mercedes for a Ferrari after the 2024 season

It means Hamilton will link up with Charles Leclerc, who recently agreed an extension with the Scuderia “beyond 2024”, while Carlos Sainz will have to make way at the end of this year.

On Thursday evening, Mercedes confirmed that both they and Hamilton would be parting ways at the end of 2024 with Hamilton activating a release option in his contract. Ferrari soon followed by announcing the seven-time world champion would be joining from 2025 on a multi-year contract.

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

"I have had an amazing 11 years with this team [Mercedes] and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together," said Hamilton. "Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

"But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge. I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together. I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal and CEO, commented: "In terms of a team-driver pairing, our relationship with Lewis has become the most successful the sport has seen, and that's something we can look back on with pride; Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history.

"However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come. We accept Lewis's decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate. But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are focused on going racing to deliver a strong 2024."

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

Amid intense speculation over Hamilton’s F1 future last year, Leclerc was asked about the prospect of teaming up with the Briton and admitted he would be open to it.

“If I say yes [I would like to be his team mate], I imagine it being the title of every newspaper!” Leclerc smiled. “I mean Lewis is such an incredible driver and he has achieved so much in the sport.

“I think anybody on the grid would love to have Lewis as a team mate, as everybody will learn a lot from him. But I’m happy where I am and with Carlos it’s a great relationship too.”

Lewis Hamilton signs for Ferrari in 2025

Following the announcement that Hamilton would be swapping the Silver Arrows for Ferrari, the driver he will be replacing, Carlos Sainz, released his own statement via social media.

READ MORE: Ferrari name new reserve and development drivers for 2024 season

"Following today's news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024," he said. "We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the Tifosi all around the world.

"News about my future will be announced in due course."

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