The 2024 Formula 1 season has not even officially started, but there have already been a number of explosive revelations. One of the biggest headlines that have come during the off-season break, is Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Scuderia Ferrari in 2025. Now, it seems that he has shot a warning to future teammate Charles Leclerc about how to keep the peace in the garage.
Soon after it was confirmed that Hamilton will be joining Ferrari, the team confirmed that the seven-time world champion will be replacing their current driver Carlos Sainz. This means that they will field a super-team composed of Hamilton and their long-time prodigy, Leclerc.
It is a well-known fact that Ferrari have been betting on Leclerc to finally bring them a world championship again, and the Monegasque driver came close to challenging Max Verstappen particularly in the early stages of the 2022 season.
However, with the arrival of someone with such a pedigree as Hamilton, questions are being asked over whether the team will have a clear number one. If they take a more equal approach, how will the two drivers get along?
In a recent interview quoted by Express, Hamilton said that his ideal teammate is someone like long-time Mercedes partner, Valtteri Bottas. The Finn was alongside Hamilton from 2017-2021, during which time the latter won four of his seven world championship titles.
Speaking about his highly effective partnership with Bottas, Hamilton said: “Ultimately you want to beat your teammate. There is always an internal rivalry. [It is] a very difficult path to walk down and it’s very easy to be on the wrong side and you fall out or whatever. He supported me and I supported him. And we still support each other today.”
Needless to say, he is already well aware that Leclerc will be his biggest rival in 2025, even before they begin looking outside the garage at the other teams. He then explained more about what he expects from his teammates, and perhaps Leclerc should already be taking notes.
Hamilton emphasised that there is a difference between being the best driver and the best teammate. “I recently commented about my current team-mate [George Russell] and said he was the best team-mate, but you have to see what that definition means.”
He added that while both drivers are aiming to win the Drivers’ World Championship title, they are also aiming to win the Constructors’ title for the team. This is where being an effective teammate becomes more valuable.
“You know, [[telling each other] ‘I felt this…’, ‘I had this feeling’, without hiding anything from each other, trying to improve each other, helping each other to be our best version. It had never happened with other drivers before. It’s something unique. And as a human being, it’s fantastic. Once we get off the track we talk like gentlemen. No tricks,” he said.
It seems like a clear warning to Leclerc, stating that Hamilton is expecting a clean battle between them once they share a garage next season. The Monegasque has had a great relationship with his teammates in the past, and has maintained the same with Sainz even after having tightly-contested seasons as teammates.
Previous teammates such as Marcus Ericsson and Sebastian Vettel have also maintained cordial relations with Leclerc, and have not said negative things about their time together. In stark contrast, Fernando Alonso has spoken many times about the toxic nature of his time working with Hamilton in McLaren in 2007. He has even recently claimed that they will never be friends.
Hamilton’s relationship with childhood best friend and former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg practically ended after the latter managed to snatch the 2016 World Championship. Rosberg even ended up retiring after that season, citing the extreme level of stress he had to endure in order to clinch the title away from his teammate.