Lewis Hamilton in the dark over Tifosi reaction at Imola ahead of historic Ferrari move

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton smiles in a press conference at Bahrain pre-season testing with a prominent Ferrari badge alongside him

Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025, bringing an end to his highly successful spell with Mercedes

Arriving at Imola as a confirmed F1 2025 Ferrari driver, Lewis Hamilton doesn’t know if his welcome will be any different as he is still a “Mercedes driver right now”.

After almost two decades of being one of Ferrari’s primary antagonists, and thrice beating one of the Scuderia’s drivers to the World title to add to his tally of seven, Lewis Hamilton will be racing in red next season.

Lewis Hamilton: I think I’ve always had good support here in the past

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

The Briton sensationally announced in February that this year’s championship would be his last with Mercedes as he’d signed a multi-year deal to replace Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.

In a major plot twist, Ferrari’s ever-faithful Tifosi now have to change their mindset from vilifying the Briton to celebrating him.

And the U-turn could begin as early as this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the first of Italy’s two races.

Hamilton was asked about the reception during Thursday’s media day, telling outlets including PlanetF1.com: “Firstly, I’m a Mercedes driver right now.

“I love being in Italy. So get here and you have to get good food.

“But yeah, I don’t have any particular feeling of… I don’t know what to expect. I think I’ve always had good support here in the past. Racing is huge over here, as you know.

“I’m definitely excited to see people but I don’t know what to expect, might be the same.”

“I arrived at the track today just the same as any other weekend,” he added. “I’m just excited to get on track.

“There will be a big crowd here, there always is, and they come out in full force the Tifosi so I’m looking forward to seeing them but I’ve not had a huge amount of time to engage with them.”

More on Lewis Hamilton’s sensational move to Ferrari

👉Adversary to hero, the die-hard Tifosi will have to adapt to Lewis Hamilton’s arrival

👉10 biggest sports deals in history: Where does Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari salary rank?

Lewis Hamilton advised to ‘open up a bit more’

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok has urged Hamilton to be more “open” with the Tifosi, believing that will be the key to winning them over.

“The Italians, you know, the reason we love them and they love Formula One is passion isn’t it, they are hugely passionate people,” he told Sky Sports.

“If Lewis, and we know Lewis, he wears his heart on his sleeve, if he sort of opens up a bit more to them over the weekend, I’m sure they will absolutely embrace every opportunity they can to welcome him in.”

Hamilton will head to Ferrari chasing a record-breaking eighth World title with the Briton looking to break Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher’s record.

Chandhok though warned he cannot do it alone, citing the way Ferrari built the ‘Dream Team’ of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne with Schumacher just a part of that puzzle.

“Hamilton alone is not going to make Ferrari World Champions over night,” he said.

“They have to build the team in the way that, you rewind to the nineties and they did that around Michael Schumacher. Michael going on his own in 96 for example didn’t suddenly make them World Champions.

“All of these other people move in to come and restructure the whole thing, and you’d have to say Fred Vasseur is doing an amazing job.”

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