Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season, the team have confirmed.
Mercedes confirmed that a release option in Hamilton's contract has allowed the F1 legend to end his historic six-title stint with the Silver Arrows.
Reports emerged on Thursday morning of a potential rumour that Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur had managed to convince Hamilton to join the Maranello-based team following the conclusion of the upcoming season.
While this seemed unlikely at that stage due to the 39-year-old signing a new contract with Mercedes just five months ago, it became clear that his contract was a '1+1' deal, meaning Hamilton could negotiate with other teams around his post-2024 future.
Now, it has been all-but confirmed that Hamilton will team up with Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc at the most successful team in the history of F1 from 2025, leaving Spaniard Carlos Sainz without a seat after 2024.
Hamilton has made the decision to ditch the team with whom he claimed six of his joint-record seven world championships after suffering two seasons in a car not capable of challenging Red Bull for race wins.
In a statement on the Mercedes website, Hamilton said: “I have had an amazing 11 years with this team and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together. Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.
"But the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on a new challenge. I will be forever grateful for the incredible support of my Mercedes family, especially Toto for his friendship and leadership and I want to finish on a high together. I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember.”
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