Lewis Hamilton has spoken out for the first time since the bombshell news that he is swapping Mercedes for Ferrari as his team confirmed his exit.
The British seven-time world champion sent shockwaves across the world of F1 on Thursday amid reports that he will leave Mercedes and join Ferrari for 2025.
Mercedes have now confirmed his exit for the end of this year via an official statement which read: ‘The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team and Lewis Hamilton will part ways at the end of the 2024 season.
‘Lewis has activated a release option in the contract announced last August and this season will therefore be his last driving for the Silver Arrows.
‘The news brings an end to what is currently a 17-year long relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz and an 11-year long partnership with the works team.’
Hamilton, meanwhile, 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.’
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff added: ‘In terms of a team-driver pairing, our relationship with Lewis has become the most successful the sport has seen, and that’s something we can look back on with pride.
‘Lewis will always be an important part of Mercedes motorsport history. However, we knew our partnership would come to a natural end at some point, and that day has now come.
‘We accept Lewis’s decision to seek a fresh challenge, and our opportunities for the future are exciting to contemplate.
‘But for now, we still have one season to go, and we are focused on going racing to deliver a strong 2024.’