Max Verstappen predicts ‘awkward, weird’ F1 2024 season for Lewis Hamilton

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen smiling as an unimpressed Lewis Hamilton looks on, with prominent Mercedes and Ferrari badges alongside them.

Lewis Hamilton is moving to Ferrari, and Max Verstappen is being linked to his Merc seat

Max Verstappen believes Lewis Hamilton is in for an “awkward” and “weird” last season with Mercedes in 2024 ahead of his big move to Ferrari.

Hamilton shocked the F1 world to its core earlier this month by announcing he will join Ferrari on a multi-year contract in 2025, despite agreeing a new deal with Mercedes as recently as last August.

His departure will bring an end to the most successful team-driver partnership in F1 history, with Hamilton winning six of his seven World Championships – and becoming the first man in history to claim more than 100 race wins and pole positions – with Mercedes since arriving from McLaren at the start of 2013.

Max Verstappen reacts to Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move

Hamilton was dethroned by Verstappen in highly controversial circumstances at the infamous title decider in Abu Dhabi in 2021, with the British star without a win since the penultimate round of that season.

Verstappen, meanwhile, has won 44 of the last 66 races over the last three seasons and eased to a third successive title last year.

With his move to Ferrari confirmed almost a year in advance, Hamilton faces a potentially tricky final season at Mercedes in the knowledge that team and driver will part ways at the end of 2024. recommends

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And Verstappen reckons his relationship with the team – and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – will change as his exit nears.

According to the Times, he said: “I think it must have been leaked because to announce something that big that early in the season.

“I think for sure, for the rest of the year, I would say it’s a little bit awkward.

“Even though you have had a lot of success together, you can’t be included into everything anymore.

“For sure he has a great relationship with everyone, especially Toto, but at one point Toto for sure will tell him: ‘Look, I know we’ve had all this success, but you can’t be part of certain meetings any more.’

“That is normal in F1. It’s probably a bit weird. But you are professional enough to deal with that.

“It’s not like they are suddenly enemies. He has achieved so many great things with them. They are still behind him.

“It’s just [that] you know at one point you can’t share certain stuff.

“But once he’s sitting in the car they will of course go flat out for him.”

Asked if he is excited to race against Hamilton in a Ferrari in 2025, Verstappen laughed: “If the car is quick enough, yeah.”

Verstappen’s comments come after Wolff told media including’s Thomas Maher that Hamilton will not be frozen out in 2024, amid concerns that the team will now favour George Russell.

But he conceded that Mercedes may be wary about sharing information regarding the team’s 2025 car with Hamilton, who could take that knowledge to help Ferrari.

He said: “I think what I’ve always tried to do as a team principal, and all of us at Mercedes, is to be transparent and fair – and nothing’s going to change in that respect in 2024.

“We owe it to our principles and our racing intent, how we go about [racing], and we will respect that.

“And I will [ensure] that the drivers will respect that.

“In terms of the development going forward, I think this is something which we need to look at.

“The regulations stay pretty much the same and when it comes to 2025, we will evaluate later in the season what it means in terms of technical information.

“But that’s not something that bothers me at all. We have engineers that leave us and go to other teams, and the notice periods are sometimes as short as six months, so I don’t have any doubt about Lewis’s integrity in terms of sharing information in that respect.

“I just want to make sure – we want to make sure – that this is a successful season – a successful season for both drivers and a successful season for Mercedes all of us will give our utmost to achieve that.

“It’s definitely a new situation to manage, for Lewis and the team but it is something that when you focus on the really short term – and this is the racing team that’s been deployed to run the product – it doesn’t have a big impact on everything that’s happening going forward on the development side.

“I’m always interested in new and challenging situations and I’m balancing 2024 Mercedes interests versus 2025 driver interests.

“It’s something that we will openly discuss at the beginning, how to manage that, and for sure come to a good outcome between us.”

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