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Lewis Hamilton to Scuderia Ferrari - what it means for the rest of the grid

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19th February, 2024

F1 team Mercedes AMG Petronas recently announced the departure of seven-time World Drivers’ Championship winner Lewis Hamilton after the 2024 season, and the consequences are being felt across the grid.

The man he will be replacing, Carlos Sainz, announced he would be leaving Ferrari after the 2024 season the same day.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Sainz is arguably the best strategist on the grid, as demonstrated by his world-class win in Singapore last season, which has left many fans perplexed.

Why would Ferrari attempt to sign another star driver to their current lineup of Charles Leclerec, instead of keeping one strategist and one so-called ‘star boy’? There is no doubt Hamilton and Leclerec are both brilliant drivers, but that is exactly why they will struggle together at Ferrari. Both fight every race for a place on the podium, even if it is at the expense of the other driver. This could be detrimental to Ferrari’s attempt to dethrone reigning world champion Max Verstappen during the 2025 season.

The issue of two first choice drivers at one team has caused issues in other cases before. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen’s crash at Baku in 2018 is another example. Both drivers were forced to apologise to every member of the crew present at the time by team principal Christian Horner. This is said to have led to Ricciardo’s eventual departure of RedcBull, which only spikes questions about whether or not Leclerc will see himself out with the arrival of Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc is, according to many, a better driver than Hamilton, as proven by his success in 2022 with 14 podiums with Ferrari. Many would argue that he deserves a better car, even with his impressive streak. His contract has been extended to 2026, and from then on he will consider his future.


Next in line for a reshuffle is Mercedes. The obvious answer is to take the trade of Sainz from Ferrari, however there are two other possible replacements for the seven time world champion.

Esteban Ocon is currently 27 years of age, and is a fierce competitor when in the right car. He started his career at the Mercedes development program, and is currently managed by Mercedes team principal and shareholder Toto Wolff. Currently driving for Alpine F1 Team, he is eager to get in a faster car.

The other possible option for Mercedes is more of a two-man job. The thought of signing the oldest driver on the grid, Fernando Alonso might make some baulk, but if Mercedes are patient for future star boy Kimi Antonelli, who is currently 17 years old and racing for Mercedes Junior Team, Alonso will retire on a high while current driver George Russell will become the elder in the team.

Whether they choose to take a chance on Ocon or wait for their wonderkid, Mercedes surely want to get their winning streak back, even without Hamilton.