Ferrari boss issues reaction to Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes contract

Oliver Harden
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton greets Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur in the Formula 1 paddock at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, 2023.

Fred Vasseur said he often speaks with Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur says he is “not surprised” that Lewis Hamilton has decided to sign a new contract to stay with Mercedes.

Hamilton confirmed on Thursday that he will remain with Mercedes until the end of the 2025 season after agreeing a two-year contract extension with the team he first joined from McLaren a decade ago.

The announcement ended months of speculation over the future of Hamilton, whose previous deal had been set to expire at the end of the 2023 campaign.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Ferrari react to Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes contract

Hamilton had been linked with a sensational move to Ferrari at the height of silly season in May, with reports claiming Ferrari chairman John Elkann was personally involved in a big-money offer.

Vasseur repeatedly rejected the rumours at the time and gave his reaction to Hamilton’s new deal ahead of Ferrari’s home race, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

He told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher: “We were not surprised with the extension. It’s good for the sport.

“I think that Lewis is a mega driver and it’s very important for F1 to keep him onboard and at the top. He is doing a mega job also, if you compare with this team-mate, that he is still there and [George Russell is] doing the odd mistakes and so on.

“We need to have drivers like Lewis on the grid and it’s a good move.”

Red Bull have been embroiled in a number of battles with Hamilton over the years, most notably in 2021 when Max Verstappen took the title from Hamilton in highly controversial circumstances at the infamous Abu Dhabi decider.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, is excited at the prospect of recommencing battle with Hamilton, whose longevity he compared to 42-year-old Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso.

Horner said: “I think it’s great that he’s extended.

“He’s a big name in Formula 1, he’s a global name throughout sport and obviously the most successful driver in Formula 1’s history, so for him to be extending that relationship I think is good news for the sport.

“I think it’s always great to race against him and he obviously is fit and motivated. Fernando’s setting a new bar for what the age limit is in Formula 1 and it just shows that age is no barrier if you have the motivation and commitment and passion to do it.”

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Hamilton began his career as Alonso’s team-mate as a 22-year-old rookie at McLaren in 2007, with his new deal set to take him to the brink of his 41st birthday.

Current McLaren team boss Andrea Stella, who has worked closely with Alonso in the past, was full of praise for Hamilton’s commitment to F1.

He added: “I fully subscribe to what Christian and Fred said, and specifically for Fernando, knowing him well, I absolutely am not surprised that he can do that because of his interest, because of his talent, because of his intelligence.

“It’s very interesting for everyone, I think, to see that you can achieve that even if age keeps clocking.”

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