News

Hamilton expecting every week to be ‘emotional’ during final season with Mercedes

Share
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes attends the Drivers

Lewis Hamilton is anticipating many “emotional” experiences during the 2024 F1 season as he embarks on his final chapter with Mercedes after more than 10 years together.

The seven-time world champion surprised many in the world of Formula 1 when his switch to Ferrari for 2025 was announced earlier in February, with Hamilton having previously signed a new deal with Mercedes last summer that would have kept him with the squad through to the end of next season.

READ MORE: Sainz says ‘no hard feelings’ towards Hamilton claiming his Ferrari seat for 2025

However, after activating a release option in the contract, the 39-year-old signed a multi-year deal to join the Scuderia, meaning that the 2024 campaign will be his 12th and last with the Silver Arrows.

Despite knowing that he would be leaving before the current season had even started, Hamilton insists that his approach to this year is no different to any other, though he acknowledges that there could be some poignant moments ahead.

“Nothing really changes,” he explained ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. “I was back at the factory on Monday – it’s full attack, everyone’s all hands on deck. I’ve been with this team such a long time, there’s so much love within the team, and I still and always will love this team.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG

Hamilton will embark on his final year as a Mercedes driver in 2024

“Everyone was incredibly understanding within the team, hugely supportive, and everyone knows that I’m here to deliver for them this year. That’s the focus, so it’s the same as any other year.

“It is emotional, and every week will be emotional, because the seat fit is your last seat fit with the team and you remember the first one. The winter test is the last winter test that I will do with the team, and so there’s going to be a lot of emotional experiences through the year, but we’ll do it together.”

READ MORE: ‘The stars aligned’ – Hamilton reveals the key factors behind his shock Ferrari switch

The off-season was an eventful one for Hamilton, who made changes to his management team as well as making the call to move to Ferrari. As such, he admits that he spent a great deal of time reflecting on these significant decisions over the winter break.

“It was a difficult winter, I would say, and a very unusual one,” said Hamilton. “Obviously the winters are getting shorter, but [there was] just a lot of deep thought throughout December. Obviously [there were] things going on with management, which is taking a lot of time to reshape and that’s never an easy process, but it’s all amicable and now we’re just working on rebuilding my own team.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes prepares to drive in

Hamilton is expecting some "emotional" experiences during the season ahead

“I have lots of things that I want to do and I know exactly what I want to do, so it’s about finding good people to add into your team, making sure that it’s diverse, and so that’s always at the heart of what I try to put in place.

“And then the January was [when] everything kind of turned upside down in terms of when the option came, and [there was] a lot of time alone trying to make sure you’re doing your due diligence and you’re making the right decision for yourself. I feel like I’ve made the right decision. I’m excited, really excited.

READ MORE: Hamilton says elements of Mercedes’ preparation ‘the best I’ve ever seen’ after 2024 testing

“I’m excited about this year, and I know this team is going to win another championship and I will be proud to know that I’ve been a part of it, because a lot of the things [that] were put in place – in terms of how much more diverse our team is, the processes that we go through – I in the long haul will always be a part of that process and that development the team has gone through.

“But I’m really looking forward to that new challenge. [There are] lots of different emotions that you would experience through that challenge, but it’s one I’m really excited about.”

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

Video

SPRINT START: Hamilton launches into the lead in Shanghai after off-track moment for pole-sitter Norris