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Hamilton to move to Ferrari for 2025

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-02 11:32
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Second placed Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after the 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne on April 2, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING -- Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is to make a shock move to Formula One rivals Ferrari on a multi-year deal from 2025.

Speculations emerged on Thursday that the seven-time World Champion was set to switch to the Scuderia, and then both Mercedes and Ferrari confirmed the move in separate announcements later that day.

Hamilton had only signed what was thought to be a two-year extension to his existing Mercedes deal last August, but it emerged that the contract contained a break clause which the Briton has elected to trigger.

Hamilton has spent his entire F1 career in some form of partnership with Mercedes, having made his debut in 2007 with a Mercedes-powered McLaren team, before moving to the Mercedes works team in 2013.

The 39-year-old is statistically the most successful F1 driver of all time, with a record 103 Grand Prix wins. Since his move to Mercedes, the Briton has taken six of his seven titles and 82 race victories - a record for any driver at a single team.

However, Mercedes have fallen back in competitiveness in recent years, with Hamilton enduring winless seasons in 2022 and 2023 for the first time in his career.

"Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old," said Hamilton in a statement.

"It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest I have ever had to make.

"But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge."

Hamilton is to replace Carlos Sainz as Charles Leclerc's teammate at Ferrari, potentially creating F1's strongest driver pairing.

The Briton's move is likely to trigger a flurry of driver changes for 2025, with most of the current grid out of contract at the end of this year.

Shortly after Hamilton's announcement was confirmed, Sainz revealed that he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of 2024, with rumors already linking the Spaniard to several other teams.

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