Before the 2024 F1 season begins, speculation about Hamilton and Leclerc’s 2025 Ferrari showdown is already heating up, promising an epic battle.
Corriere dello Sport reported this week (read here) that Leclerc was actually upset that Ferrari chose to replace Carlos Sainz with the seven-time world champion, and he was not informed of the ongoing negotiations when signing his own long-term contract.
Former Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, however, claims that “Leclerc has no one to fear.”
“He just needs to focus on his job,” said the Brazilian, who teamed up with Michael Schumacher at the Maranello team.
“Hamilton’s determination and work ethic are an important factor that will influence the team’s atmosphere. But it will also give Charles an extra motivation, because beating Lewis in the exact same car is a very interesting challenge.”
Between Hamilton – who will be 40 years old when he arrives in red – and Leclerc, 26, it’s unclear who will be considered Ferrari’s “number 1.”
“Hamilton will naturally seek to assert himself, to be the number 1, at least on track. But he will have to fight for it because Leclerc knows the house and is especially very fast. He flies in qualifying, he is getting better and better in the race.”
1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, believed it’s actually a low-risk decision for Hamilton.
“It’s a moment in history where the team hasn’t won for a very long time. It would have been different, for example, to arrive directly after Schumacher. And if he doesn’t win, it’s better to not win with Ferrari than to not win with Mercedes.”
“Ferrari is another world in which it is not easy to survive. We will now see how strong he is, including psychologically. Ferrari drains its drivers. Even someone like Alonso got drained. The only one who didn’t, was Schumacher.”
On the other hand, former driver Hans-Joachim Stuck thinks Hamilton “has a lot to lose.”
“If Leclerc beats Hamilton, it would be a bad end to his career. I’m curious to see if he can adapt to the Ferrari system, where everything works a bit differently. He won’t have the big personality that one can have in other teams. Hamilton must submit.”
“Ferrari is Italy. The press is completely different: they covet everything, there are no secrets. It will be a completely new experience for Hamilton. He will also have a very strong teammate in Leclerc. He has been in the Ferrari system for years and knows how things work. We’ve seen it so many times: a driver changes teams, a younger driver comes and beats him.”
Hans-Joachim Stuck also thinks that Mercedes F1 can manage without Hamilton. Even though he might take with him his current race engineer Peter “Bono” Bonnington, or Riccardo Musconi, the track engineer dedicated to performance.
“Mercedes is a team in which nothing depends on a single person. The engineers’ knowledge is known internally, so a change doesn’t matter. I don’t see it as a problem. It will certainly help Hamilton, but Mercedes still has high-level people in its ranks and will find more. These changes happen all the time.”
Hamilton Leclerc Ferrari Duel F1 2025. Hamilton Leclerc Ferrari Duel F1 2025.
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