Comments made by George Russell last season have certainly backfired, after the Mercedes driver insisted to Channel 4 that Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t move to Ferrari.
The huge news announced this week is that Hamilton will be a Ferrari driver in 2025, with 2024 being his 12th and final campaign with Mercedes.
Hamilton has agreed a “multi-year” deal with the famous side, meaning he’ll enter the new power unit regulations in 2026 as a Ferrari driver.
He’s replacing Carlos Sainz who is now without a seat for next year, although there are plenty of seats currently available.
Very few saw the switch coming, especially as Hamilton only signed a two-year extension with Mercedes ahead of last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
It turns out though, that he has a clause in his new deal which allows him to depart at the end of the upcoming season.
Russell has also been caught off-guard by the announcement it seems, as he believed that the 103-time race winner would remain with the Silver Arrows.
“What do you think about Lewis going to Ferrari?” Channel 4 presenter Steve Jones asked Russell last year jokingly.
“That won’t happen,” insisted Russell. “You read it in The Daily Mail, was it? I don’t know what would happen before that, but… who knows.”
Whilst the move is a surprise, Hamilton was linked to Ferrari several times last season before signing his new deal, which is why Russell was asked about the Briton moving to the Italians in the first place.
When Hamilton was rumoured with a Ferrari switch last year though, both parties insisted that there was no truth in the speculation.
It’s arguably the biggest driver transfer potentially in the history of the sport or at least since the end of 2012 when Hamilton left McLaren for Mercedes.
Hamilton’s departure from the Brackley-based side at the end of the year will be an emotional one, considering he’s been tied to the German manufacturer since he was 13 years old.
For Russell, it’s possibly a chance to become Mercedes’ leader, although a lot of that seemingly depends on who team principal Toto Wolff signs to replace Hamilton.