Timing Of Hamilton's Decision To Leave Mercedes Challenged By Chandhok

Tuesday, 02 April 2024 at 10:45
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Sky Sports pundit and former F1 driver Karun Chandhok discussed Lewis Hamilton's decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari.
The seven-time World Champion decided to sign a "multi-year" deal with Ferrari during the winter break ahead of the current season.
The 39-year-old was already committed to Mercedes for 2024, so he still has to complete the current season with Silver Arrows, which created a strange dynamic.
On the one hand, Hamilton is really struggling with his car. He admitted that after the Australian Grand Prix this year, he had the worst start to the season in his F1 career.
On the other hand, he can observe how well the team from Maranello is doing. Ferrari drivers took the podium at every single Grand Prix weekend of the season so far, and in Australia, they scored a one-two. As reported by Sky Sports, Karun Chandhok said:

"He knows he's probably not going to win the world championship this year unless there is a miraculous turnaround, so he might as well look to the future. And at the moment, the Ferrari is a better package than the Mercedes."

Right after the announcement that the seven-time World Champion had signed the deal with Ferrari, Damon Hill (1996 Champion) said he thought Hamilton wouldn't be leaving Mercedes if he believed there was a higher chance of winning the Championship with the German team. Chandhok agrees:

"The timing of his decision, it couldn't have been out of nothing. The timing suggests he had some inkling that it wasn't going to be great, so I might as well take the chance to try something new."

"If he thought Mercedes were going to give him a car that would win him the championship this year and in 2025, I don't think he would have left."

Interestingly, Mercedes's team principal, Toto Wolff, said Hamilton made this decision even before he could drive the car on the simulator, so he couldn't have known how good it was.
Nevertheless, regardless of how he made that decision, Chandhok believes that the 39-year-old does feel a bit of satisfaction watching Ferrari do well.

"We all know what happened with Max's retirement, but I imagine Lewis took a little bit of satisfaction at seeing the Ferrari one-two."