Romain Grosjean says while Lewis Hamilton has shown in the past he’s not “afraid” to take on new challenges with a Ferrari move confirmed, Mercedes are far from down and out on the performance side.
Hamilton broke the internet earlier this week when the Briton confirmed the rumours he’d be swapping silver for red come 2025.
Speaking of a “leap of faith”, a “new challenge”, and equating his feelings today to what he felt when he swapped McLaren for Mercedes, Hamilton is walking away from the team with whom he won six World titles over a seven-year period for one who has not won a Drivers’ Championship since 2007.
‘But still, why is he going?’
Although it was a decision that was in some way a long time coming, Hamilton often linked to the Maranello team, that he finally took action came as a surprise to many.
His former rival Grosjean counts himself on that list.
“I was surprised. I didn’t expect Lewis to leave Mercedes one day, he has such a great set-up there, such a great atmosphere,” he told his YouTube channel.
“But,” the Frenchman added, “you remember back in 2012, Lewis is a man of challenge and he swapped from McLaren to Mercedes.
“Everyone was very surprised, especially knowing that he grew up with McLaren and he was a Ron Dennis protégé for a very long time and that McLaren was very successful at the time and Mercedes was struggling a little bit more.”
For Hamilton, as Grosjean puts it, the Ferrari move is a “challenge, new desire”. He added: “Ferrari is a very unique race team, the most iconic in the world.”
Hamilton has endured two tough seasons with Mercedes in recent times, now winless since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with F1 2024 now serving as the final opportunity for this iconic pairing to go out on a high.
But, while Mercedes has not been able to find an answer for Red Bull in the ground effect era, Grosjean warns that Hamilton to Ferrari is not a guarantee of having a better challenger at his disposal, claiming Mercedes “always bounce back” from hard times.
“But still, why is he going? I guess he wants something new,” Grosjean pondered. “He has known some difficult times with Mercedes but they always bounce back.
“I think they are taking a bit longer than they expected under the new rules post-2021 to get back on top of their game. Still a very competitive team but Red Bull is doing such a great job that everyone else has been left a little bit behind.
“In fact, Ferrari was the only team to win a race in 2023.”
Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc ‘will be an interesting duo’
Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari means the Scuderia will have one of the strongest, if not the strongest, line-ups on the grid.
But it could also be the most volatile as neither are drivers who accept losing to their team-mates.
“So Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari next to Charles Leclerc,” Grosjean continued. “That will be an interesting duo. Pretty exciting to see that one as Lewis is not afraid of challenges.
“Remember when he started at McLaren, who was his team-mate? Fernando Alonso, one of the most fierce, fast, and competitive team-mates you can have in F1.
“So a challenge, Lewis will not be afraid of that and for Leclerc, it will be a very good benchmark for him.”
But while Hamilton’s arrival will be interesting for Leclerc, it’s not at all for Carlos Sainz, who finds himself without a job as it stands after F1 2024.
He is, however, heavily linked to Sauber who will become Audi in 2026.
“Where is Carlos Sainz going to go?” asks Grosjean.
“Obviously that seat just got taken by Lewis so we know Carlos has strong links with Audi, Carlos Sainz Snr has strong links. Carlos Sainz’s name has been linked to that team so that could definitely be a position for him in the future.”