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Lewis Hamilton unwilling to justify Ferrari move in face of F1 criticism
F1 Sport

Lewis Hamilton unwilling to justify Ferrari move in face of F1 criticism

Lewis Hamilton has insisted his decision to join Ferrari in 2025 does not need any vindication, as he bemoaned the continued discussion over whether it is the right choice.

Before the start of the 2024 ­Formula One season, the 39-year-old shocked his Mercedes team by announcing he would be switching at the end of this year. The team’s slump is now entering its third year and they remain far from the leaders, Red Bull, and have also been outpaced by ­Ferrari this season. Hamilton is enduring the worst start of his career, without a finish in the top six and having scored only 10 points.

Before this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, however, the seven-time champion said that he did not feel his decision to leave had been proven right by his team’s performance but rather that what mattered was it was a move he felt happy with.

“I don’t feel like I need my ­decision vindicating,” he said. “I think I know what’s right for me, and that hasn’t changed since the moment that I made the decision.”

The switch to the Scuderia raised considerable debate, similar to that when Hamilton controversially opted to leave McLaren in 2013 for ­Mercedes, a team that at the time were far from title contenders. ­Hamilton unequivocally dismissed such discussion as irrelevant.

“There’s not been a moment where I’ve questioned it and I’m not swayed by other people’s comments,” he said. “Even today, there’s people ­continuing to talk shit and it will continue on for the rest of the year. I’ll have to just do what I did in the previous time. Only you can know what is right for you and it will be an exciting time for me.”

At the Chinese GP, a race that has not been held since 2019 because of the pandemic, the British driver also reiterated his intent to race into his 40s, citing Fernando Alonso as an example.

Alonso, 42, recently signed a new contract with Aston Martin that will see him race until 2026, past his 45th birthday. Hamilton will be 40 when he starts for Ferrari next season but stated he did not feel age was an issue.

“I’m going to be racing for quite some time still, right into my 40s, so it’s definitely good Fernando is still around and keeps going on for a bit longer,” he said. “I never thought I’d be racing into my 40s. I’m pretty sure I said I wouldn’t but life is such a crazy trick. I don’t feel like I’m nearing 40, I feel like I’m pretty young.

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“Fernando is one of the best ­­drivers we’ve had in the sport so for him to continue to be here and continue to have the output that he’s had just shows what’s possible.”

This weekend’s meeting is the first of the season to host a sprint race, which has once more had its format adjusted. The first of six sprint ­meetings this year, this is the third time the format has been revised since it was introduced in 2021.

There will now be one practice session on Friday morning, followed by qualifying for the sprint race on Friday afternoon. The sprint race will follow on Saturday morning, ­followed by qualifying for the grand prix on Saturday afternoon, with the race on Sunday. In addition teams will be allowed to adjust the set-up of cars after the sprint race, where previously they had been locked into parc fermé conditions after the only practice session.

Source: theguardian.com