The news that Lewis Hamilton is moving to Ferrari in 2025 is sending seismic waves through Formula 1, as we prepare for the first time in over a decade he won’t be at the wheel of a Mercedes. As jaw-dropping as the report was, it’s also beautiful in its symmetry with the F1 legend to whom Hamilton is so often compared.
Hamilton will be 40-years-old when he joins Ferrari in 2025. It comes after 11 years at Mercedes, and six championships. It’s the end of one of the greatest eras we’ve ever seen in the sport, and will likely only be surpassed by Max Verstappen at Red Bull. At his absolute peak Hamilton was often compared to F1 legend Michael Schumacher, and it’s here where the comparisons will continue — even in the downswing of his career.
In 2010, a 41-year-old Schumacher announced his return to racing following retirement. He would leave Ferrari, where he served in an advisory role after winning five championships with the prancing horse. Schumacher would be essential to building hype for a new F1 team hitting the circuit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas.
There isn’t a direct correlation between Hamilton and Schumacher’s stories. Lewis is still very much at the top of his game, finishing 3rd in the driver’s standings behind the two Red Bulls — despite struggling for much of the season in the underperforming Mercedes. The expectation isn’t that he’ll simply be a publicity boost, but the missing piece in not only pushing Ferrari up in the Constructors’ Championship, but pressure Charles Leclerc to reach his potential, something that hasn’t fully manifested itself.
In 2010 when Schumacher returned to F1 there was certainly hype, but it was with an unproven team and seen more as an honorific end to a career. The newly-former Mercedes-AMG did better than anyone expected early on, with both Schumacher and Nico Rosberg finishing in the Top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship in 2010, and again in 2011 — before it started to become apparent in 2012 that Schumacher was slowing down.
Unable to decide whether to commit to another season in 2013 or retire for good, Mercedes-AMG were forced to make a decision and move on with a new driver. The man who replaced him? A 28-year-old Lewis Hamilton, who would go on to win six championships.
Now we’ll wait and see who Mercedes gets to replace Lewis. They’ll certainly pray they can have the same luck again.