Lewis Hamilton reveals timeline when ‘everything kind of turned upside down’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton speaking in the press conference.

Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the year.

Announcing he’s off to Ferrari on 1 February, Lewis Hamilton has revealed that it was in January when “everything kind of turned upside down” in terms of his option to leave Mercedes for Ferrari.

Hamilton broke the internet earlier this month when he announced this year’s championship would be his last as a Mercedes driver after signing a multi-year contract with Ferrari.

The decision came out of left field for his team boss Toto Wolff, who said they went into the Christmas break on the same page only to receive the news from Hamilton at their pre-season breakfast meeting.

‘Then January, everything kind of turned upside down…’

It begs the question what happened in those six or so weeks that Hamilton changed his mind about continuing with Mercedes?

Earlier this year it was confirmed that Hamilton’s former right-hand man and confidant Marc Hynes was back by his side after the seven-time World Champion’s management agreement with Penni Thow and her company Copper came to its natural end.

That, it turned out, had finished in December with the expiry of their fixed-term contract.

Hamilton says that was an “amicable” split with Hynes back in the fold in late January.

What followed next shocked the world of Formula 1 as Hamilton announced he would be calling time on his Mercedes career having exercised his option to leave one year into his two-year contract.

That, he revealed, was a process for January when the option to leave Mercedes for Ferrari came up.

“Then January,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com, “everything kind of turned upside down in terms of when the option came up and a lot of time alone trying to make sure you’re doing your due diligence and you’re making the right decision for yourself and I feel like I’ve made the right decision.

“I’m excited. Really excited. I’m excited about this year.

“And I know this team [Mercedes] is going win another championship and I feel I’ll be proud to know that I’ve been a part of it because a lot of the things we’ve put in place in terms of how much more diverse our team is, the processes that we go through, in the long haul I will always be a part of that process and the development that this team has gone through.

“I’m really looking forward to that new challenge. It’s lots of different emotions that you will experience through that challenge. But it’s one I’m really excited about.”

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The Briton is adamant “nothing” will change as he completes his final season with the Silver Arrows, adamant he’s “here to deliver” and the team knows that.

“Nothing really changes,” he said. “I was back in the factory on Monday, it is full attack, everyone is all hands on deck.

“I’ve been with this team such a long time there’s so much love, and I still and will always love this team.

“Everyone was incredibly understanding within the team, hugely supportive, and everyone knows I’m here to deliver for them this year. That’s the focus, the same as every other year.

“It is emotional and every week will be emotional because the seat fitting is the last, and you remember the first one, the winter test is the last winter test. There are going to be a lot of emotional experiences through the year but we’ll do it together.”

He added: “I’m 100% a Mercedes driver right now. And that’s my sole focus this year and as I said, I don’t want to have any of this distract me from doing the job from the team.

“I want to finish on a high I think there’s been huge amount of work over the winter and I have so much faith in this team. And I see the motivation and everybody that I’ve worked with for so many years.”

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