Charles Leclerc 'won't welcome Lewis Hamilton with open arms' after sensational Ferrari switch

Charles Leclerc 'won't welcome Lewis Hamilton with open arms' after sensational Ferrari switch

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Lewis Hamilton agrees Ferrari switch

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 01/02/2024

- 15:04

Updated: 01/02/2024

- 15:05

The F1 star is leaving Mercedes after a glittering stint with the Silver Arrows

Charles Leclerc 'won't welcome Lewis Hamilton with open arms' following the Briton's bombshell decision to join Ferrari, according to Johnny Herbert.

Earlier on Thursday, news broke the F1 icon would be crossing the divide as he hunts a record eighth championship triumph.

Mercedes were, just a few years ago, the best team on the planet.

But they've regressed in recent times, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull dominating the sport as a result.

F1 news Charles Leclerc Lewis Hamilton

F1 news: Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton are set to be team-mates at Ferrari next year


Hamilton is set to race alongside Leclerc at Ferrari, with the Stevenage-born racer poised to come in for Carlos Sainz Jr.

Yet Herbert doesn't think Leclerc will welcome his new team-mate with 'open arms' - but does think they'll be a strong pairing.

"Yes, I think it will be a very good fit," he told King Casino Bonus when quizzed on whether Hamilton and Leclerc will be the best partnership in F1.

"It will help raise both of their levels. It will be a good thing for the team.

"It will be interesting to see if there are any differences in their setups or their feel for the car.

"What I like about Charles is that when he first came into Ferrari, when a four time world champion in Sebastian Vettel was there, he didn’t say he was going to come in to learn.

"He literally came in and said, ‘Move aside. This is my team now. I am the young whipper snapper.’

"He has a very good mentality of what he wants. He is not going to welcome Lewis with open arms, let's say.

"But he will be up against someone in Lewis who can still be a mighty figure, in mighty that means winning world championships.

"Suddenly the pressure will be very different for Charles. That will be where it might be tough for Charles, because he will know that in Lewis there is somebody who can always raise his level.

"It will be very good for them both and for Ferrari to have them battling out against each other.

"As a driver you are always learning. I remember Alain Prost telling me even on the last lap of his last race he was still able to learn something."

Some believe Hamilton is being disloyal to Mercedes by jumping ship, especially given how he's been with the Silver Arrows since 2013.

But Herbert disputes this and believes Mercedes only have themselves to blame.

"This is how F1 works. Teams do the same," he said.


Carlos Sainz Jr

Lewis Hamilton will be replacing Carlos Sainz Jr at Ferrari in 2025


"They are always looking for the next big thing who can make it.

"They should not be bitter because of what he has given them over the years. It has been a frustrating time.

"It should not be unexpected to see Lewis leave because they have not been able to deliver. And when you have not been able to deliver, you are not going to have a happy driver.

"In the circumstances, nobody should be surprised that he is leaving for one of the biggest names in F1 who are on a big upward trajectory and look capable of challenging Red Bull."

Herbert is, however, intrigued by what Ferrari have promised Hamilton given they finished behind both Mercedes and Red Bull in the constructors' championship in 2023.

F1 news Lewis Hamilton

F1 news: Lewis Hamilton has sent shockwaves around the sport with his decision to leave Mercedes behind


"Ferrari will have had to persuade Lewis that they can give him what he wants and that they can improve and have learned from their experiences and that they have seen how Red Bull go about their business and will put some of that into what they do," he continued.

"They would have had to prove to Lewis with their date where they are, what they have got, their concepts especially for 2026.

"That is what happened when he went from McLaren to Mercedes.

"People wondered why he left McLaren. But it was the right thing to do because Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff showed him that they could be the dominant force. And they were right.

"That will be very important for Lewis this time around."

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