Lewis Hamilton on hostile Monza atmosphere with Mercedes colours banned

Oliver Harden
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is 0 for 39 heading into Qatar.

Lewis Hamilton has opened up about how his relationship with the Monza crowd has evolved over the years after it was announced ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that he will not be joining Ferrari next season.

Having been linked with a sensational switch to the Scuderia earlier this year, Hamilton confirmed on Thursday that he will remain with Mercedes having agreed a contract extension until the end of the 2025 season.

Hamilton, who has driven Mercedes-engined cars for every single one of his 323 F1 appearances, will make his first start since the announcement on Ferrari’s home turf in Italy this weekend.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Lewis Hamilton on how his relationship with Ferrari loyalists has evolved

The British driver has won the Italian GP on five previous occasions, with his last win at Monza occurring in 2018 at the height of his tense title battle with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who spun on the opening lap in a highly damaging blow to his hopes as Hamilton took one of the greatest victories of his storied career.

Asked what sort of reception he tends to receive from the passionate Ferrari fans, known as Tifosi, Hamilton told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher: “It’s shifted a lot.

“I can’t remember if it was here or somewhere else I got black cats thrown at me, but I remember there was a period of time when we couldn’t wear the team shirt into the circuit to now just having such a warm welcome from the Italian fans and the last God-knows-how-many years just feeling really welcome here in a place that I’ve loved since I was 13.

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

Lewis Hamilton car collection: Take a closer look at his incredible private garage

“The first time I started racing in Italy in Parma and Jesolo and South Garda, it brought me so much happiness. I had so many great memories out here, eating as many pizzas as possible, all the great pasta and best lasagne and gelato ever.

“So to finally be embraced within the culture, and especially with this incredible crowd that we get here – obviously a large [percentage] are Ferrari fans – but the passion that the Italian fans have is second to none.

“So I think we’ve got a cool little following here and I look forward to seeing them this weekend.”

Read next: George Russell’s shock pick to be his next F1 team-mate after Lewis Hamilton