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Lewis Hamilton Breaks Silence on $49,000,000 Ferrari Move Only Weeks After $127,000,000 Promise to Toto Wolff

Published 10/01/2023, 12:15 PM EDT

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“I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track, and of course, you wonder what it would be like to be in Red. But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home. I’m happy where I am.” For 10 years, Lewis Hamilton has worn a Silver Arrows shirt on his back and driven a Silver Arrows car.

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For a decade, he’s called Brackley his home. To think there might’ve been a possibility that the seven-time champion would leave Mercedes seems absurd as it is. What’s even more absurd is that it was true. Hamilton was the talk of the town for the entire first half of 2023.

With his Mercedes contract expiring this season, his F1 future was hanging in the balance. Imagine that F1’s most successful driver would’ve been without a seat in 2024. But ultimately, it all turned out okay, and Hamilton is right where he’s meant to be.


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Was Ferrari ever a real option for Lewis Hamilton?

The Mercedes-Hamilton pairing has been one of the most successful in F1. Considering that, you might thought extending his contract would’ve been a no-brainer and shouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes to finalize. Well, that wasn’t the case, and Mercedes wasn’t the only team in the running to sign the 38-year-old. Ferrari was rumored to have offered Hamilton a whopping $49 million per year deal. Guess what Mercedes did?

The Brackley outfit quite literally offered the seven-time champion a deal he couldn’t refuse. During the summer break, there were speculations that Hamilton and Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff had come to an agreement with an imminent announcement at the Dutch GP.


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Instead of doing that, Mercedes and Hamilton decided to send a message to Ferrari. At the Italian GP—the Scuderia’s home race—they announced a two-year extension worth $127 million. The message? Hamilton is here to stay, and nothing can come between Mercedes and the Brit.

In an interview with Blick, Hamilton discussed his Mercedes contract. The interviewer said, “So you probably had an offer for Ferrari at some point.” Hamilton replied, “Never. Okay, we’ve definitely had a few irrelevant conversations. I know a lot of good people there. But I never felt ready to move to Italy.” [Translated by Google]

Mercedes isn’t the best place to be right now (in terms of on-track form), but neither is Ferrari. What incentive—other than driving for the most prestigious team in F1—did Hamilton have to leave a team he’s called home for the better part of his career? Not to mention, he’d have to acclimatize to the Maranello environment. 

Hamilton didn’t give Ferrari more than a few moments’ thought. At least when it comes to changing allegiances. In terms of fighting for his team on track, though, Ferrari has been living rent-free in Hamilton’s brain.

Hamilton switched from jumping ship to keeping Ferrari at bay

When talks about Hamilton’s potential move to Ferrari started going around, Mercedes looked in a good position to finish P2 in the Constructors’ Championship. With Ferrari in P4, the Scuderia posed close to no threat to the Brackley outfit. That was until a week ago.

After the Singapore-Suzuka double-header, Ferrari in P3 reduced the gap to Mercedes to just 20 points. Considering how both teams started 2023, it’s a remarkable feat that they’re the ones fighting for P2. Now that there are just six races left, the shackles are off. 

At the Singapore GP, the Ferraris finished P1 and P4. Hamilton secured a P3 finish while his teammate George Russell crashed. In Suzuka, the Ferrari boys finished P4 and P6, while the Mercedes boys finished P5 and P7.


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After the Japanese GP, Hamilton said, “Our ultimate goal is to beat the Ferraris in the Constructors’ Championship. That’s all that matters. We’re not fighting for a driver’s position in the championship. Now, it’s about just getting the maximum points for the team. I think that’s what we did here.”


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Did you ever believe in the possibility of Lewis Hamilton shifting to Ferrari? Or were you confident that it would only ever be him against Ferrari?

WATCH THIS STORY | How a Kitchen Rendezvous Prevented Lewis Hamilton-Toto Wolff “Divorce”

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan


One take at a time

Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar