Lewis Hamilton determined to write ‘new chapter’ with Ferrari

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Lewis Hamilton said his Mercedes exit to join Ferrari is because he believes it is time to write "a new chapter" in his record-breaking career.

Hamilton was speaking for the first time at length since his blockbuster move to the Italian giants in 2025 was confirmed earlier this month.

The 39-year-old, who joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, signed a two-year contract extension only last August.

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But over the winter he elected to terminate his £100million deal 12 months early to make the switch.

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton in the daddock during F1 testing at Bahrain International CircuitMercedes Lewis Hamilton in the daddock during F1 testing at Bahrain International Circuit
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton in the daddock during F1 testing at Bahrain International Circuit

"Obviously in the summer we signed and at that time I saw my future with Mercedes," said Hamilton as he opened up on his decision to make the move to Ferrari.

"But an opportunity came up in the New Year and I decided to take it. I feel like it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.

"I have had a relationship with Mercedes since I was 13. They have supported me, and we have had an incredible journey together, created history within the sport and it is something I take a lot of pride in.

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"But ultimately I am writing my story, and I felt like it was time to start a new chapter."

Mercedes have carried Hamilton to six of his record-equalling seven world championships.

But last year marked a second straight season without a victory for the British driver - a losing streak which now stands at 45 races - and Mercedes' first winless campaign in a dozen years.

They finished an eye-watering 413 points behind Red Bull while Hamilton, third in the individual standings, was 341 points adrift of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

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However, Hamilton added: "This chapter is still not finished and I am still 100 per cent focused on delivering for this team, trying to finish on a high, and that is a big, big goal for me.

"I have absolute faith in everyone in the team in what we have done so far and I hope we are somehow able to close the gap to the Red Bulls."

Ferrari have not won a drivers' championship since Kimi Raikkonen triumphed for them in 2007.

Two decades have passed since Michael Schumacher took his fifth consecutive title for the team in 2004.

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Hamilton, who said on his Instagram account earlier this month that signing for Ferrari had been the fulfilment of a childhood dream, continued: "All of us sit in our garages, and you see the screen pop up, you see a driver in the red cockpit, and you wonder what it will be like to be surrounded by the red.

"You go to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and you see the sea of red of Ferrari fans and you can only stand in awe of that. It is a team that has not had huge success since Michael's days, and I see it as a huge challenge.

"As a kid I used to to play the Grand Prix 2 computer game as Michael in that (Ferrari) car. It is definitely a dream and I am really excited about it."