Lewis Hamilton insists ‘no regrets’ about Ferrari move next year after first podium of season

Third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes stands on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 23, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.
Lewis Hamilton was on the podium for the first this season - Getty Images/Rudy Carezzevoli

Lewis Hamilton insisted he had “no regrets” about his decision to defect to Ferrari next year after claiming his first podium of the season in Spain.

Hamilton finished third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris, just edging out teammate George Russell who grabbed the lead at the start but then lost ground thanks to a slow pit stop, a brief-but-exiting battle with Norris, and then the team’s decision to split their strategies and put him on the hard tyre.

Significantly, Hamilton also finished ahead of both Ferraris, with Charles Leclerc fifth and Carlos Sainz sixth, the latter accusing Hamilton of having “run him off the road” on lap 18. The stewards looked at it but deemed it a racing incident.

It was the second consecutive race in which Mercedes have finished third and fourth, beating both Ferraris, and it represents a reversal in fortunes for the two teams with the Scuderia having begun this season much the stronger team.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix race at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, near Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, June 23, 2024
Mercedes have been quicker than Ferrari in each of the last two Grand Prix's - AP Photo/Joan Monfort

Asked whether he had any regrets about his decision to move to Maranello next year, Hamilton was emphatic. “No, not at all,” the seven-time world champion insisted. “I love Mercedes. I have been with Mercedes since I was 13 and I will always be a fan and a supporter of them.

“My job right now is to work as hard as I can with the crew that I have to try and move and develop the car in the right direction.

“Whatever course and trajectory the team is on for next year, there are things I hopefully will have been a part of and I am proud of that.

“My job next year will be to start with the other team, and they are doing a great job. They have had a difficult couple of races but let’s not forget they had a race win in Monaco [last month].

“I don’t know what is wrong with their car and why they are in the position they are in. But it doesn’t make me second-guess my decision at all.”

This was a significant result for Hamilton, who described his move on Sainz into T1 as “pretty awesome”. And it came at the end of a difficult week for him personally, with an anonymous email sent around to half the paddock, claiming to be from a Mercedes team member, alleging that his own team might be working against him.

Those claims were vehemently denied by team principal Toto Wolff who said such suggestions were the ramblings of “lunatics” and “conspiracy theorists”, referring the email to the police. But the feeling remains that the relationship between Hamilton and Mercedes is tense.

This will have relieved some of the pressure. “It is a big boost to finally get a good result,” Hamilton admitted. “It has been a minute since I was up here. The team has done an amazing job, working so hard with extra long hours to bring components to the car and we are slowly getting closer.

“Last year we were fast here, so you have to take this result with a pinch of salt, but in the past two races we have also been competitive. We still have a couple of tenths to find. We have to have all hands on deck and keep pushing.”