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Should Ferrari fans be worried about Hamilton's 2024 form?

Should Ferrari fans be worried about Hamilton's 2024 form?

Should Ferrari fans be worried about Hamilton's 2024 form?

Should Ferrari fans be worried about Hamilton's 2024 form?

Lewis Hamilton has made a countless number of winning moves on the track and many jackpot ones off it between teams to shape one of the greatest ever Formula 1 careers.

In the case of the latter, that’s looking increasingly likely to pay off once more for 2025 as he seems to be joining a Ferrari team on the rise, leaving behind a Mercedes outfit who are a shadow of their former dominating selves with no recovery in sight.

READ MORE: F1 legend chides Hamilton for making 'excuses' in teammate battle

Three into two does not go of course, and with Charles Leclerc having also penned a fresh Ferrari deal at the start of the season, Carlos Sainz was the man left standing after this round of Ferrari musical chairs.

The curious aspect of this is it has been the Spaniard who has stepped up to look like Ferrari’s lead driver in the first five races – highlighted by taking advantage of the rare Max Verstappen DNF to win the Australian Grand Prix just days after limping off his hospital bed following appendix surgery.

Having also triumphed at last season in Singapore, Sainz is the only driver outside the triple world champion who has won a grand prix over the last year (near enough), and this has helped start and support a narrative that ‘Ferrari have got rid of the wrong driver’ given the relative so-called failures of Leclerc.

READ MORE: How many penalty points does Ricciardo have after nightmare Chinese GP?

Carlos Sainz won the 2024 F1 Australian Grand Prix

Should Ferrari have dumped Charles Leclerc?

Leclerc has been the Ferrari long game in play for half-a-decade now, and has shown glimpses of world title potential after easily seeing off four-time champion Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and then at least at the start of 2022 taking a real fight to Verstappen.

It’s all been forgotten now but some of the racing we saw in the early stages of that season were quite extraordinary between the pair. No inch given or taken as they fought tooth and nail for the lead on multiple occasions. Ferrari eventually fell away and with it some of Leclerc’s reputation it appears as a world champion in waiting.

But that is a great disservice to the Monegasque driver who in the background is still proving his worth to Ferrari, and away from the top step of the podium does still have the edge on Sainz.

Despite a disqualification at last year’s United States Grand Prix, and his freak mechanical failure that led to him crashing on the formation lap in Brazil where he outright cursed his wretched luck – he still ended up beating Sainz in the world championship in 2023.

Admittedly, Sainz’s appendix ensures that he has only competed in four of the five races this term, but even so Leclerc remains the lead Ferrari in the championship fight and the best of the rest outside of the Red Bulls in 2024 having recorded five consecutive top four finishes.

China was the first time he may have beaten Sainz this season, but with nobody really seeing that as a shock – there is still a realisation that on Leclerc’s day he is still a supreme F1 driver with his best years ahead of him at 26 years old. If Ferrari have any issues – their driver pairing in recent times has not been one of them.

Charles Leclerc is best of the rest in 2024 behind Red Bull

Have Ferrari signed the wrong driver?

That now puts an uncomfortable spin on not if Ferrari have discarded the wrong driver but have they signed the correct one?

Leclerc’s form was questioned against Sainz especially at the start of this season and there was certainly a case that Sainz was incredibly unfortunate to be the man on a Ferrari farewell journey.

But is Hamilton this year really showing that he is good enough to be driving at Maranello next term? He may have starred to take second place in the China sprint race but after five grands prix in 2024 his best finish has been seventh in the opening race at Bahrain.

Still early days of course, but that leaves him way down in ninth in the championship and 14 points behind his Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

In an Aston Martin sandwich, he is closer to a fight with Lance Stroll than he is against that pesky old rival of his, Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton has struggled at the start of 2024

It's far too early to suggest Hamilton is on some sort of terminal decline at 39 (see the evergreen Alonso as an argument against that) but since he last won a grand prix in 2021, the only non-Red Bull drivers to have won a race are his current team-mate, the guy he is replacing next season and the guy that some people think he should be replacing in 2025.

Hamilton has enough credit in the bank with seven world titles to suggest his early season form is nothing more than a blip – and one that could potentially go on for a whole year before he arrives rejuvenated at Maranello for a fresh title tilt.

If Ferrari are concerned over his form, they have the cushion of having one of the most marketable F1 drivers of all time on their books in a driver/team pairing fans have dreamed over for years. Put simply, if you are running an F1 team you don’t turn down the chance to sign Lewis Hamilton - and let's not kid ourselves, the pace is still there.

But from a sporting perspective if any of the Leclerc, Sainz, Hamilton trio need to show more worth of being fit for a title challenging Ferrari next term, it’s certainly not the two drivers who currently have the honour of wearing the famous red overalls.

READ MORE: Hamilton title rival explains why Ferrari move is the 'right decision'

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