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

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

Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton have stated that there is no animosity between them following the surprise news earlier in February that Hamilton will be taking Sainz’s place at Ferrari in 2025, leaving the Spaniard without a seat beyond the end of this year.

Hamilton is set to join the Scuderia as part of a multi-year deal and will partner Charles Leclerc, who also recently extended his own future with the team.

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

While this has resulted in Sainz having to look for a position elsewhere, after what will be his fourth and final season with the squad in 2024, the 29-year-old continues to have full respect for Hamilton and has an understanding of why the seven-time world champion wanted to make the switch.

“From my side obviously no hard feelings, with anyone,” Sainz explained ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. “I think this is how the sport works. Obviously I have a lot of respect for Lewis, the success he’s had and obviously the choice to join Ferrari. I would have done the same in his position.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great

Hamilton will fill Sainz's seat at Ferrari in 2025

“I think Ferrari’s a great team and at some point towards the second half of your career – or at the end, I don’t know where he’s at right now, he only knows – but for sure it’s a team you would like to be part of, so I fully understand that. And [with] someone like Fred [Vasseur] that he knows and he has a good relationship with and trusts, it’s a no-brainer to go to Ferrari.

"From my side obviously, as I said, no hard feelings. I’m focusing on my future and where am I going to go next, and in the meantime [I will] keep doing the best I can for this team.”

The feeling is mutual for Hamilton, who – sitting in the press conference alongside Sainz – praised the good relations that the drivers share.

READ MORE: Sainz looking for ‘best chance to be world champion’ as he reflects on options for F1 future

“I second what Carlos said in the sense that I think what’s most important is that we have, I think, a really good relationship,” the Briton said. “I think that’s something that all us drivers have actually improved on over these past couple of years. There’s a huge amount of respect between us all and I have a huge amount of respect for Carlos. I don’t feel like there’s any animosity or anything like that.

“I think he’s done an amazing job. He’s come a long way obviously from when he started within the sport to the output that he has now and the way he approaches things. He’s grown to be a real strong voice within the driver line-up that we have and has really been contributing to decisions that we’re making within the sport.

“He’s clearly done a great job within his team, so it’s not a personal thing, it’s what happens in this racing world and I hope that nothing changes between us. I don’t think that it will.”

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Sainz to 'take time' when deciding next move

While both drivers know that the upcoming campaign will be their last with their respective teams, the focus is fully on 2024 for each of them.

For Hamilton there is a determination to finish his final chapter with Mercedes on a positive note, having experienced incredible success with the squad since joining them back in 2013.

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

“I’m 100 per cent a Mercedes driver right now, and that’s my sole focus this year,” the seven-time world champion stressed. “I don’t want to have any of this distract me from doing the job for the team. I want to finish on a high. I think there’s been a huge amount of work over the winter and I have so much faith in this team.

“I see the motivation in everybody that I’ve worked with for so many years. It’s not just a normal driver partnering – there’s no other team that’s had what we’ve had, there’s no other team that’s achieved what we’ve achieved. The relationships I have with the people within my team go very deep, so my goal is to deliver for them.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walks in the Paddock

Hamilton hopes to end his final season with Mercedes on a high note

“This year, if I can have the best year in terms of delivery that I’ve ever had, I’d be really happy with that. Next year, obviously I’ve got all new relationships, a whole new environment, new language, everything, so it’s two separate things and both just as exciting.”

Sainz, meanwhile, is not yet clear on where his future destination will be but is planning to take his time in making the decision.

READ MORE: Leclerc and Sainz give their verdicts on where Ferrari stand relative to Red Bull

“I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t know what will be my best option,” Sainz commented. “What I know is that I’m obviously going to maximise my last year in Ferrari. I really want to have a good last year in this incredible team and give my absolute best for everyone in Maranello.

“But regarding my future, the situation changed quite a lot over the winter and now I’m going to need to take my time to decide where I go. We’re obviously going to speak to all the options available and see what the best medium to long-term project is for me and my career, and the best project that gives me a possibility to be a world champion. That in the end is my dream and the thing that I want to do as soon as possible.”

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