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‘The hardest decision I’ve ever had to make’ – Hamilton opens up on ‘childhood dream’ Ferrari switch

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Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media to offer some more background on his headline-making decision to swap Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of this year, describing it as “the chance to fulfil another childhood dream”.

Hamilton had signed a new deal with Mercedes last summer to keep him at the team through 2025 but recently activated a release clause in his contract to depart one year early and join Ferrari on a multi-year agreement.

READ MORE: ‘I hold no grudge’ – Wolff on Hamilton’s Ferrari move, how he was told and the search for a replacement

It’s a move that sent shockwaves through the sport, with fans, paddock personalities and even Hamilton’s current team boss, Toto Wolff, taken aback by the developments.

Writing on Instagram, Hamilton reiterated that his call to leave Mercedes was “the hardest I’ve ever had to make”, and that he will forever be grateful for his time with the Silver Arrows, where he has claimed six of his seven world titles.

“It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions,” said Hamilton. “But as you all now know, after an incredible 11 years at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life and I will be joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2025.

Lewis Hamilton signs for Ferrari in 2025

“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.

“Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I’ve ever had to make.

READ MORE: An inspired decision or risky move? Our writers give their take on Hamilton’s shock Ferrari switch

“I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve achieved together and I’m very grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone I have worked with over the years and of course Toto, for his friendship, guidance and leadership.

“Together we have won titles, broken records and become the most successful Driver-Team partnership in F1 history. And of course I cannot forget Niki [Lauda, former Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman] who was a huge supporter and who I still miss every day.

“I must also share my huge appreciation to the whole of the Mercedes-Benz board and everyone at the company in Germany and around the world for supporting me over these 26 years.”

In addition to joining Ferrari being a “dream” move, Hamilton went on to explain just what he is seeking from his dramatic change of teams.

READ MORE: 5 bold F1 driver moves that paid off – and 5 that didn’t – as Hamilton makes his Ferrari call

“The time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge,” he commented.

“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013. I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s the feeling I have again now.

“I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.”

Hamilton 2013.jpg

Hamilton has raced for Mercedes since the 2013 season

For the time being, though, Hamilton’s focus is very much on the upcoming season and trying to sign off from his lengthy Mercedes stint in style.

“Right now, I’m not thinking about 2025,” he stressed. “My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes.

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

“I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focused than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again. I am 100% committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.”

Hamilton added: “Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me, you have all lifted me up as I chase my dreams and I hope I can continue to make you proud. As always, sending you my love and positive energy.”

Toto Wolff speaks out about Hamilton's shock exit from Mercedes

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