’20 years younger’ – Ferrari tipped to ‘galvanise’ Lewis Hamilton after Mercedes ‘decline’

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton tucks his chin into his coat at a cold Imola with a prominent Ferrari logo alongside him

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Former Ferrari driver Ivan Capelli has predicted that Lewis Hamilton will look “20 years younger” when he joins the Scuderia in F1 2025, having struggled to cope with Mercedes’ recent “technical decline.”

Hamilton announced in February that he will join Ferrari on a multi-year contract from F1 2025, ending his long and successful association with Mercedes.

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The seven-time World Champion’s decision came amid the longest victory drought of his F1 career, Hamilton still without a win since the penultimate race of the F1 2021 season in Saudi Arabia.

That came just seven days before Hamilton was dethroned in Abu Dhabi in highly controversial circumstances by Max Verstappen, the winner of 48 of the last 71 races.

Speaking to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capelli has claimed neither Hamilton nor Ferrari “needed” each other – but has backed the pair to emerge as a “disruptive combination” next season.

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And he believes Hamilton will rediscover his mojo at Maranello, having cut a diminished figure during Mercedes’ decline since the introduction of the ground effect regulations in F1 2022.

He said: “Having such a famous driver in a legendary team has inevitable marketing implications: neither of them needed the other, but in this way a disruptive combination was created.

“Ferrari is a source of well-being, it will galvanise him and make him 20 years younger: he will have very strong motivation.”

Hamilton has suffered his worst-ever start to a season in F1 2024, with the seven-time World Champion outqualified by team-mate George Russell at five of the first six races.

Mercedes are still awaiting their first podium finish of the new campaign, with the Silver Arrows already trailing Red Bull by a massive 175 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Capelli claimed the incoming Ferrari star has not had “the right emotional attitude” since Mercedes’ struggles began, but reiterated his view that Hamilton will be re-energised by life at Ferrari.

Asked if Hamilton’s form against Russell should concern Ferrari, he said: “No, not at all.

“Right now, Lewis is not adapting well to Mercedes’ recent history of technical decline.

“When it’s like that you don’t arrive at the track with the right emotional attitude, nor with the knife between your teeth, nor with the enthusiasm that only comes from results that Mercedes is now lacking.

“The Ferrari challenge will be different.”

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