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New Ferrari setback as Hamilton on HISTORICALLY bad F1 run

New Ferrari setback as Hamilton on HISTORICALLY bad F1 run

New Ferrari setback as Hamilton on HISTORICALLY bad F1 run

New Ferrari setback as Hamilton on HISTORICALLY bad F1 run

Lewis Hamilton's Monaco struggles have left the superstar facing an uphill battle ahead of his move to Ferrari.

The seven-time F1 champion spent most of the grand prix in the principality stuck behind Max Verstappen, who in turn was stuck behind the tactically slow George Russell.

READ MORE: Where do Hamilton and Verstappen place in Forbes' 2024 highest-paid athletes list?

Of course, nail your qualifying laps and you don’t get into this mess in the first place around Monte Carlo, although our seven-time world champion has already given a rather cryptic clue behind what’s happening in his current 7-1 Mercedes deficit to Russell.

But the weekend brought a string of blows to Hamilton, who has now hit a new career low of going 11 races without a podium finish.

That detail is mainly just stats and not a full reflection of his overall ability given the decline of Mercedes in the last three years, who have gone from utter domination to being a distant fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Lewis Hamilton has struggled against George Russell in 2024
Charles Leclerc is starting to find form at Ferrari
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were left frustrated at Monaco

Charles Leclerc steals Ferrari march

Perhaps the biggest blow of them all for Hamilton was future Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc’s emotional home win around the principality.

It’s not just talent that gets you to the top of F1 – you need a smart head on you too to get around the politics and gamesmanship on the track as well as off it.

Very early on in the season when Leclerc was struggling and the man Hamilton is replacing, Carlos Sainz, was flying gave the impression that Leclerc was losing a bit of momentum at the Scuderia despite signing an extended deal ahead of the new season.

Leclerc was also adding layers to his ‘nearly man’ of F1 reputation, and before Monaco he hadn’t won a race in two years. Another season treading water and it would have been much easier for Hamilton to rock up at Maranello in 2025 and establish himself as the No 1, with a car quickly suited to his needs.

All the nonsense talk of ‘have Ferrari ditched the wrong driver?’ has gone a bit quiet in recent weeks though as Leclerc’s up-turn in fortunes with three successive podiums have now at least given the title battle some hope of not being done and dusted before the end of summer.

READ MORE: Haas racing team on brink of COLLAPSE after 'eight-figure' losses

Hamilton and Leclerc will be Ferrari team-mates in 2025

Can Hamilton win at Ferrari?

Verstappen is still heavy favourite of course but with Leclerc just 31 points behind… that’s only just over a race win with well over half-a-season to go. Hamilton won’t need reminding of blowing bigger leads than that with just two races left back in his rookie 2007 campaign.

The point of this is if Leclerc was to really make a championship challenge out of this season, he will be a much stronger force to battle for team supremacy at Ferrari than he looked nearer the start of the season.

Granted, if next season’s Ferrari isn’t quick enough that may not be much of an issue. But Hamilton hasn’t just made the move to F1’s biggest team for the glamour and prestige that will saturate him. The 39-year-old still wants to win – and Leclerc isn’t exactly going to roll out the red carpet for him.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had a fierce battle at Mercedes

Hamilton team-mate battles

The good news for Hamilton is that he tends to come off well when it comes to team-mate battles. While he had home advantage over Fernando Alonso in 2007 at McLaren, the Spaniard was coming into the team as world champion but ended up leaving a year later fuming at having not being given No 1 status such was Hamilton’s stunning rookie year having previously been a developing driver.

Hamilton also joined Mercedes in 2013 who were more than satisfied with three years of Nico Rosberg prior to the Brit’s arrival, yet it was Hamilton again on top at the end of the year – and again a year later, this time with a world championship trophy to boast.

Granted, he has had defeats on home turf too – notably in points to Jenson Button over three years at McLaren before also being beaten by George Russell in 2022.

A change of culture and language may make Ferrari a bigger challenge than any other team to assert dominance in the garage, but Hamilton is as good as bet as anybody to overcome that.

It would certainly be easier though if his future team-mate wasn’t as much on the front foot as he is right now though.

READ MORE: F1 announce FREE US TV channel for fans

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