Lewis Hamilton conversation details over Ferrari move shared by close F1 ally

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton showers Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel with champagne on the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix podium.

Former McLaren communications boss Matt Bishop has revealed that Lewis Hamilton first informed him of his desire to finish his F1 career with Ferrari back in 2015.

Hamilton shook the F1 world to its core last week by announcing that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024, having only agreed a two-year contract extension with the Silver Arrows as recently as last August.

His exit will bring an end to one of the great team-driver partnerships in the sport’s history, with Hamilton winning six of his seven World Championships with Mercedes after arriving from McLaren in 2013.

Lewis Hamilton revealed Ferrari dream in 2015

Bishop witnessed at close quarters Hamilton’s emergence as an F1 superstar at McLaren, where the British driver memorably secured his first title in 2008, beating Ferrari star Felipe Massa by a single point at the highly dramatic season finale in Brazil.

Writing in a column for Motor Sport Magazine, Bishop has recalled a conversation he had with Hamilton in the aftermath of his victory at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix as the Mercedes driver closed in on his third title triumph.

Asked by Bishop if he planned to stay with Mercedes until his retirement from F1, Hamilton is reported to have said: “Well, what I’d really like to do, one day, is drive for Ferrari.

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“That would be a great way to end my F1 career, wouldn’t it? To win Championships for McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari?”

Bishop also recalled Hamilton expressing his lasting affection for McLaren, who handed him his F1 debut as a 22-year-old – alongside reigning two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso – in 2007.

With their conversation taking place just hours after Alonso infamously blasted Honda’s underperforming power unit over team radio, Bishop recalls Hamilton probing him on the extent of McLaren’s woes.

“You guys look frickin’ bad. Is the Honda that useless?” Hamilton is reported to have said before revealing that he continued to keep an eye on McLaren’s results in qualifying.

“It’s strange,” he continued.

“When I see the lap times popping up during quali, obviously I check where Nico [Rosberg, Mercedes team-mate] is first, then Seb [Vettel], but then I always look out for you guys.

“I know you’re not going to be a threat to us right now, but I still always look out for you.”

Asked by Bishop if he would ever consider returning to McLaren in the future, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know. Never go back, they say, don’t they?

“Sometimes you just feel you’ve been somewhere too long and you need a change.”

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