Lewis Hamilton has been praised for pulling a “blinder” by Damon Hill after the seven-time World Champion agreed a swap to Ferrari.
Hamilton making surprise moves away from teams he seems settled in is nothing new but just as much as his move from McLaren was a shock, his departure to Ferrari is that and then some.
But Hill believes Hamilton’s decision to move to Maranello, which was confirmed by the team on Thursday night, may well prove to be as good as his one to swap to Brackley.
Damon Hill praises Lewis Hamilton Ferrari swap
Hill appeared on Sky Sports to offer his assessment of the situation and he suggested Hamilton had “the instinct” as to which way the wind blows.
“He’s got an instinct,” Hill said. “He’s got a racer’s instinct as to which way the wind blows.
“I think he may have actually pulled a blinder just like he did when he left McLaren and went to Mercedes.”
As to what makes Hill believes that, he suggested that even if there was a hint of another title coming his way with the Silver Arrows, he would have stayed put.
“If Lewis genuinely thought that the eighth title was guaranteed or a good 50-50 chance of happening with Mercedes he would have stayed,” the 1996 World Champion said.
“So I think that he’s got to the point where he’s probably heard the music coming out of Mercedes, maybe a few too many seasons, and started to think ‘I need to invigorate my final years in Formula 1. What better way to do it than to drive a Ferrari? At least I’ve got a chance if it goes wrong, at least I tried.'”
Hill was joined by Karun Chandhok who suggested that Hamilton going in 2025 was an indicator of how strong he thinks Mercedes will be over the next few years.
“The crucial point to think about is we’ve got two years left in this rule cycle,” Chandhok said. “2025 is the final year of the current cycle.
“To me, the fact that he’s gone for ’25 indicates perhaps that he doesn’t think this year’s car is going to be great either, because they’re not going to turn the car upside down for ’25 because in ’26, we’ve got a whole new car coming.
“So to me, this is a sign that Lewis has gone ‘I don’t like what I’ve seen already. I think we’re going to struggle in ’24 and ’25. I might as well go there, get my feet under the door for ’25 and hit the ground running for ’26 with a brand new set of regulations coming.”