Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton’s unanticipated switch to Ferrari turned Mercedes world upside down. Toto Wolff, the team principal, reckoned being kept in the dark about the move. He was briefed by Hamilton a day before the official announcement. Naturally, the Silver Arrows employees were taken aback by the change in dynamics.

But, what changed over one winter that forced Lewis Hamilton to take such an extreme step? Apparently, Ferrari offered him a contract exceeding two years with additional monetary perks and benefits. And speculations suggest that Mercedes initially refused to commit to Lewis beyond the 2025 season. Now, Toto Wolff has confirmed the rumors and made a startling revelation.


Mercedes Boss Confess Prioritising Kimi Antonelli Over Lewis Hamilton In Shocking Revelation

Toto Wolff (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right) at the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna – Previews

Mercedes’ contract extension negotiation talks with Lewis Hamilton saw an unusual delay, which left the fans suspicious. Eventually, the British driver settled for a two-year deal until the 2025 F1 season. However, Ferrari turned the tables in winter by agreeing to every term suggested by Lewis. After John Elkann offered him the world, Hamilton jumped ships for the betterment of his future beyond his racing career. Moreover, if speculations are to be trusted, the Silver Arrows’ relationship with Lewis soured after the board denied him an extension beyond 2025. Apparently, Toto Wolff and others in the hierarchy wanted to keep their options open. Amid speculations, Wolff finally confirmed that Hamilton was no longer on the team’s priority list.

In an exclusive chat with an ORF, Toto Wolff confessed that Lewis Hamilton was denied a long-term contract to protect junior prodigy, Andrea Kimi Antonelli. Kimi, the 17-year-old driver of Mercedes’ junior program, is widely regarded as the next Max Verstappen in the making. Wolff explained that years ago, they lost the opportunity to sign Verstappen because Lewis and Nico Rosberg were signed for the long term. They missed an opportunity then but cannot repeat the same mistake with Kimi. “And precisely because we have a junior on the horizon who is really driving at a very high level. I simply wanted to keep this option open,” affirmed Wolff. Kimi, so far, has been ranked as the best junior driver on the grid. He is set to make his F2 debut this season. And if all things go well, the Silver Arrows might consider him as a replacement for Lewis for the 2025 season and beyond.

Lewis Hamilton Opens Up On Mindset Behind Ferrari Move

Lewis Hamilton

Of course, Mercedes’ reluctance to commit long-term left Lewis Hamilton in two minds about his future. However, Ferrari apparently offered the British driver an opportunity to write his own story as one of the most successful drivers of the sport. Not only did Ferrari commit long-term, but he also offered support for his philanthropy ventures.

Lewis Hamilton said in Bahrain that leaving Mercedes was the hardest decision of his career. But the opportunity at Ferrari was simply too good to let go. He wanted to script his own story and leave an individual legacy. But in hindsight, he still loves the Silver Arrows, and the team always holds a special place in his heart.

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