Lewis Hamilton shocked the Formula One world when his move to Ferrari was announced at the start of February. The British driver’s 10-year allegiance with Mercedes will officially end this year.
–by Mark Cipolloni–
There’s been uncertainty over Carlos Sainz Jr.’s future throughout the break ahead of the 2024 season. Wild rumors were inevitably birthed, and some even suggested that Max Verstappen was in line to replace the Spaniard.
However, Hamilton is now confirmed to switch to the Ferrari red, and he could be the ideal man to bring the glory days back to the Italian-owned team.
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 1, 2024
Leclerc has faced huge expectations as the main man
Ferrari’s shortcomings in recent times could be owed to various factors, including the weight of the pressure on Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc has been at the forefront of the team’s hopes ever since he bettered Sebastian Vettel’s output in 2019 and 2020. Since the German’s departure in 2020, he’s been tasked with leading the way for Ferrari alongside a much less accomplished driver in Sainz.
The upcoming 2024 season will be followed by fans all over the globe, and oddsmakers across the planet are once again predicting that Leclerc will be the leading Ferrari driver. The majority of major betting sites Ontario, for example, expect Leclerc to finish comfortably ahead of his current teammate on race points in their final year together. As it stands, bet365 offers the five-time race winner as short as -300 to complete the upcoming season placed ahead of his teammate.
With great power comes great responsibility. Ultimately, Leclerc is viewed as the far superior driver, which means that every outing is scrutinized.
Nonetheless, this could change in the coming months. Ferrari will replace last year’s seventh-placed driver with the number-three-ranked star in 2025, and this could finally allow Leclerc some breathing space.
Hamilton can help reduce the pressure on Leclerc
Hamilton’s arrival could be ideal for Ferrari’s long-term star, as he brings the vital experience of seven championship victories which could potentially be passed on to the Monegasque native. He’s undoubtedly an upgrade from Sainz, but he brings so much more than just his on-track abilities.
Leclerc will now have a consistent race-day front-runner accompanying him on the track, who could help to improve his craft but also simply share the pressure of delivering success for Ferrari.
Thanks for all the love this season. Til next year ~ pic.twitter.com/Ijg851dfzg
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 27, 2023
Hamilton has outperformed Leclerc in recent times and, at the age of 39, is still arguably the superior driver. Most notably, he’s also one of the most popular names in the sport and will undoubtedly take some of the spotlight off Leclerc.
The shared pressure to deliver between the pair could be hugely beneficial long-term, as the current Ferrari man could excel without the constant expectations and questions of whether he will be the star factor in ending his team’s championship drought.
Superstar duos haven’t always gone to plan in the history of Formula One, but in Ferrari’s case, they may well have struck gold. There’s an esteemed veteran who continues to compete at the top alongside another top-tier driver, arguably entering his prime. The dynamic could be a game-changer for both individual and team success rates for Ferrari.
Hamilton has already written his name as one of the sport’s greatest ever, but perhaps his final offering could be to spearhead the long-awaited revitalization of the historic Ferrari drivers’ team.