Lewis Hamilton ready for 'emotional' farewell season with Mercedes


Lewis Hamilton ready for 'emotional' farewell season with Mercedes

Hamilton is heading into his final season with Mercedes
Hamilton is heading into his final season with MercedesAFP
Lewis Hamilton (39) on Wednesday admitted he expects to ride an emotional rollercoaster this year, his last with Mercedes where he won six of his seven world titles.

The Brit, who will race for Ferrari in 2025, said he had not lost any faith in the team he raced for since 2013 and was confident Mercedes had a bright future.

"It's the same as any other year. It is emotional and every week will be emotional," he said ahead of Saturday's season-opener in Bahrain.

"I truly believe that this team (Mercedes) is going to win another championship. It's an incredible group of people and it's really well run.

"Mercedes has such an incredible history and from the board down they are really heavily invested in racing and so many areas.

"And regardless of whether or not this is a championship-winning car, it doesn't have any bearing on how I feel about it and the next stage of my career."

Hamilton initially held discussions with Ferrari in 2019 and has now agreed to join the iconic Italian team on a "multi-year contract", replacing Carlos Sainz.

"It's all about a new chapter in my life and I really feel like I've done everything I could possibly do with this team and I'm on the back end of my career.

"I love a challenge and this is the ultimate challenge really - to go to a team that is incredibly iconic, has an amazing history, but also has not had as much success as I guess as they would have hoped in the past decade or so.

"They're already looking very strong this weekend which is positive for them so my goal is to beat them this year - and I'll see that switches next year."

'Full attack'

Hamilton added that nothing would change this year at Mercedes who have given him great understanding and support.

"Nothing really changes," he said. "I was back at the factory on Monday... it's full attack.

"Everyone's 'all hands on deck' and the team... I've been with them such a long time.

"There's so much love within the team. And I still, and always will, love this team.

"Everyone was incredibly understanding within the team, hugely supportive. Everyone knows that I'm here to deliver for them this year, so that's the focus.

"The seat fit is your last seat fit with the team and you've been doing it... you remember it, the first one.

"The winter test is the last winter test that I'll do with the team. And so on.

"There's going to be a lot of emotional experiences through the year, but we'll do it together."

Max Verstappen, who dominated last season with Red Bull, remains the overwhelming favourite to secure a fourth world title but Hamilton said his 2024 Mercedes car

was significantly better than at the same stage in the last two seasons.

"We still have some problems that we're having to work through and it's not perfect," he admitted.

"But it's definitely a better starting place from the past two years so we are relatively happy in that respect.

"We're not where we want to be and may not compete with these other guys at the front but we will work towards it."


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