Verstappen, Perez and Horner react to “interesting” and “exciting” Lewis Hamilton’s shock 2025 Ferrari F1 move

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Lewis Hamilton’s shock decision to leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 Formula 1 season to join Ferrari was one of the biggest stories of the winter break, and with the season rapidly approaching its start with car launches and pre-season testing, the paddock has started to react to the news, including the Red Bull team.

Hamilton announced in early February that 2024 would be his last season with Mercedes after a spell of 11 years at the Brackley squad which involved winning six drivers’ championships and eight constructors’ titles – so far at least – to join Scuderia Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc for 2025, in a multi-year deal that will see him in red at the very least until the end of 2026 – the first year of the new set of regulations which will completely overhaul power units and aerodynamics of the cars.

The news proved shocking to almost everyone in the paddock – no less than Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff, who admitted he was “surprised” by it – and current world champions Red Bull also reacted to the news after launching their new car, the RB20.

Max Verstappen, who went toe-to-toe with Hamilton for the entirety of the 2021 season as the duo fought for the championship, welcomes the move for his fellow competitor, saying it will “look cool” to see the Briton in red Ferrari overalls, and pointed out that Hamilton’s has no reason to not follow his dream given all he has already achieved in F1:

“I mean, at the end of the day, if someone wants to drive a Ferrari and especially someone like Lewis, having achieved so much, if that’s his dream and goal, then.

“And, again, we don’t know the talks that they had, right? At Mercedes and Ferrari, what has been promised, what they think is coming,” he explained. “So, you can’t give an honest assessment from our side, why you made that decision. But, if he is happy with that move, then he should go. I think it will look cool.

“And, of course, I hope for them that it’s going to be a success, but you don’t know yet.”

His team-mate Sergio Perez raised another intriguing question about the move, regarding how the dynamic will be between Lewis and Mercedes in what is set to be their final season together – the same consequently applying to Carlos Sainz’s impending exit at Ferrari – and how that could impact the 2024 season already in terms of intra-team battles and the sharing of information with the leaving driver:

“Interesting. But more than that, I think the dynamics are going to be interesting to watch from the outside.

“Having a driver that is moving teams, we all know how jealous the teams are on sharing information.

“Lewis has been many years there and he will be taking a lot of knowledge to another team. That will be some interesting dynamics to watch from the outside.”

Christian Horner was also present at Red Bull’s launch despite an ongoing investigation regarding some misconducts from his part. He said Hamilton’s move will be “pretty exciting” for F1 and brought the example of the seven-time world champion’s first career move when he went from McLaren to Mercedes, ahead of what would turn out to be an historic winning spree starting in 2014:

“First of all, I think everybody was surprised, probably even his existing team, about Lewis’s move to Ferrari, but he has obviously seen something there that he believes in that serves him better than staying where he is.

“I think for Formula 1, a Lewis-Ferrari tie-up is really exciting.

“Obviously he still has a season to go with his existing team, but he has proven in the past that he is not shy of making brave decisions.

“His move from McLaren to Mercedes for all intents purposes looked not to be the right one at the time, but proved to be an inspired one.

“I’m sure he will have thought about it long and hard, and for Formula 1, a Hamilton-Ferrari tie-up is pretty exciting.”