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F1: Lewis Hamilton to make shock Ferrari switch

It has been announced that Lewis Hamilton, the joint-most successful driver in F1 history, will join Ferrari ahead of the 2025 season.

The seven-time world champion had been expected to remain with Mercedes for at least the next two years after signing a new contract last summer, but he will now depart his current employers at the end of the 2024 season.

Speculation linking Hamilton with Ferrari has been around for some time and it has now been confirmed that arguably F1's most famous and illustrious driver will be joining the sport's most iconic team.

Hamilton's Mercedes romance ending

Hamilton was already one of F1's biggest names when he joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, as he had landed his first Drivers' Championship with the latter in 2008.

Hopes were high that the British ace could secure more titles with Mercedes, but no one could have anticipated just how fruitful the partnership would be.

Hamilton claimed six world championships over a seven-year spell between 2014-2020, while the Silver Arrows were crowned Constructors' champions seven times over the same period

However, both Hamilton and Mercedes' dominance were to be tested by Max Verstappen and Red Bull during the 2021 season, with the Dutch driver claiming that year's championship in controversial fashion during the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Red Bull were also confirmed as Constructors' champions that year and, unfortunately for Hamilton, he has not claimed a race victory since.

The 2022 season was a disastrous one by Hamilton's usual high standards, as he only finished sixth in the Drivers' Championship standings, his lowest placing since joining the F1 grid.

There were signs, though, that both the 39-year-old and Mercedes were heading in the right direction last season, as Hamilton claimed six podium finishes and ended the year best-of-the-rest behind Red Bull duo Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

It certainly appeared that Hamilton was going to be part of Mercedes' rebuild going forward, alongside team-mate and fellow Brit George Russell, after he signed his new two-year deal last summer.

However, that is now not going to be the case, with 2024 set to be Hamilton's final year with the Brackley-based outfit before he makes the move to Ferrari.

Hamilton to team up with Leclerc

There is of course a full season of racing action to come before Hamilton officially swaps Mercedes for Ferrari, but we do know he will be teaming up with Charles Leclerc in Maranello next year.

Leclerc signed a new contract with Ferrari last week and, coupled with the news regarding Hamilton, it means Carlos Sainz will be leaving the Scuderia at the end of 2024.

Hamilton's impending arrival at Ferrari brings to an end years of speculation linking the Brit with a move to the Italian team, talk that began when he first joined the F1 grid in 2007.

It is believed Hamilton initially held talks over this move before signing his last contract with Mercedes and he said last year that "I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about ending my career anywhere else".

Are more titles on the agenda for Hamilton?

Hamilton has won seven world titles during his career, a record only matched by Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher, while he also tops the all-time list for most wins (103) and pole positions (104).

However, with his last world title coming in 2020 and his most recent race victory being achieved at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it has been suggested that he won’t be able to add to his list of records.

Hamilton will be 40 by the time he lines up on an F1 grid in Ferrari colours and he will be joining a team that has not won a Constructors' title for 16 years, while their last world champion was Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

Of course, Hamilton could still add to his list of accolades during his final season with Mercedes, as he is 11/1 to land an eighth world title during 2024 and 1/3 to win at least one race.

But, Hamilton's impending switch to Ferrari would suggest he feels his chances of getting back to the front of the grid are better with the Scuderia than they are with Mercedes.

Mercedes are 17/2 to win the Constructors' title during 2024, the same price as Ferrari, but just what shape will both teams be in by the time Hamilton has completed his final lap with the Silver Arrows?

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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