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Other SportsMercedes boss Wolff holds no grudge over Hamilton's Ferrari switch

Mercedes boss Wolff holds no grudge over Hamilton’s Ferrari switch

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admits he was surprised by Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari, but says he will not hold a “grudge” against the seven-time world champion.

On Thursday, Hamilton shocked the Formula 1 world with the announcement that he will join Ferrari for the 2025 season, just over five months after signing a new contract with Mercedes.

Hamilton – who has won six of his seven drivers’ championships since teaming up with Mercedes in 2013 – will take Carlos Sainz’s seat with the Scuderia, with the Spaniard now on the lookout for a new team for 2025.

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On Friday, Wolff revealed Hamilton had visited him to explain his decision earlier this week and said there was nothing he could do to change the 39-year-old’s mind.

“We got together for coffee at my place in Oxford. He said to me he had decided to race for Ferrari in 2025 and that was basically it. We had a good hour of conversation,” Wolff said.

“Formula 1 has made me resilient to surprises, but it was a surprise. Once he said, ‘this is what I’m trying to do’, that was the fact. I didn’t try to convince him otherwise.

“It means that our professional journey comes to an end, but it doesn’t mean our personal relationship ends. I have found a friend. We have built a relationship over the past 10 years.

“I will always respect the difficult situation he faced. In the future we can discuss whether this could have been done in a different way or not, but I will hold no grudge.”

Hamilton has failed to win a race since missing out on a record-breaking eighth world title in controversial fashion at the end of the 2021 season, with Max Verstappen capturing three straight crowns during a period of dominance for Red Bull.

Wolff hopes Mercedes can provide Hamilton with the tools to enjoy a more memorable campaign in 2024, before turning their attention to building a new era of success.

“He felt he needed a change and I can understand that,” Wolff said of Hamilton’s decision. “We have had tremendous success.

“We shared the opinion when we decided to sign a short-term contract that there may be opportunities for him and for us.

“Maybe one consideration was the opportunity to sign a longer-term contract with Ferrari and give it a really big go at the end of his career.

“We have had a sensational journey together that will go down in the history books.

“We want to finish on a high in terms of his [Mercedes] career, but we will build another phase of success, and we will look back on this very good time with Lewis.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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