Damon Hill States Hamilton Was Lured to Ferrari by Signs of Team’s Competitive Resurgence

Damon Hill has expressed his belief that Lewis Hamilton was persuaded to switch from Mercedes to Ferrari after noticing signs of Ferrari’s resurgence as a competitive force in Formula 1.

Hamilton will conclude his tenure with Mercedes before joining Ferrari, the most decorated team in Formula 1’s history.

On the Sky F1 show, Hill remarked, “This decision? We know it’s a given, the Ferrari benefits of the brand, and the history. But I think there’s more to this. Which is: I thought there was evidence that Ferrari were starting to solidify as a competitive package.

“They were starting to put together the components, and they were starting to get results. 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 distinguished itself last season as the sole team besides Red Bull to secure a Grand Prix win, with Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore. The team also notched up seven pole positions, credited to Charles Leclerc (five) and Sainz (two), with Leclerc’s late-season performance hinting at Ferrari’s strengthening prospects.

Karun Chandhok discussed Hamilton’s move, emphasizing, “Ultimately he exists to win. Leclerc qualified at the front for five grands prix last year. I think Ferrari have shown their upward trajectory.”

Martin Brundle shared his insights, stating, “Lewis has got to make sure he goes to Ferrari and does a Michael Schumacher, not a Sebastian Vettel or a Fernando Alonso!”

Reflecting on the evolving dynamics within Mercedes, Chandhok noted, “Mercedes have changed a lot. James Allison has come back and, reading his interviews, it seemed like he had identified areas of key weakness.

“The car was a bit of a dog? It did finish second in the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari. For me, where it gets interesting – if the James Allison influence comes in, they have a comprehensive 2024, they beat Ferrari… what’s going on in Lewis’ head then? Has he made the wrong call? He played a blinder in 2012 to leave McLaren and come to Mercedes at the right time.”

Mercedes and Hamilton are looking forward to a significant performance boost, hoping to recapture their winning form this season. Hamilton’s last win came in 2021, with George Russell securing Mercedes’ only victory in the last two challenging seasons in Brazil in 2022.