Toto Wolff reveals ‘bruising’ element behind Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari

Toto Wolff reveals ‘bruising’ element behind Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari
Toto Wolff reveals ‘bruising’ element behind Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari

Toto Wolff says he felt “bruised” by Lewis Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari, and claims it was the Scuderia that “leaked” the news.

Hamilton dropped a surprise on the last day of January when he told his team boss during a coffee session that this year’s championship would be his last for the Silver Arrows.

Toto Wolff: Play hard, forgive quickly and apologize when you’re wrong

A day later, and amid rumors of Hamilton’s impending departure in the press, Mercedes confirmed they would part ways after Hamilton activated a release clause in his contract.

Ferrari followed that up by announcing that the seven-time world champion had signed a multi-year contract, starting in 2025.

Wolff was devastated, having signed Hamilton to a two-year contract only a few months earlier, and now had to deal with the aftermath of the conflict while also finding a new team-mate for George Russell.

The Austrian, who had just a day to process the news, claims it was Ferrari that ‘leaked’ it, forcing Mercedes to announce Hamilton’s departure immediately, while he would have preferred to wait a little longer.

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“There is a professional and a personal relationship and when he signed a very short-term contract last year it was clear that this could happen,” he told Sky F1.

“What was painful is that I didn’t have time to react. It was actually the same day. And when I said, ‘Okay, how are we going to announce this? At the beginning of the season or mid-season?’

“It was clear that Ferrari was leaking. And it happened to be on earnings day.

“That didn’t give me enough time to do some stakeholder management, call our sponsors, the shareholders and explain what was happening. That was the only thing.

“But I read a good motto somewhere: ‘Play hard, forgive quickly and apologize when you’re wrong’. And the personal relationship (with Hamilton) doesn’t suffer.

“If I put myself in his shoes, I can understand it, because the team wasn’t doing so well.

“When you are in the last phase of your career, everyone wants to wear a red overall with a yellow rearing horse. The financial conditions were probably also very positive.

“So I’ve gotten it and I understand why he does that, and I’m completely at peace with the fact that my relationship goes much deeper.

“For 12 years we have been friends and allies and brothers in crime and he has to be competitive in the car, but we are not separated as friends.”

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