LEWIS HAMILTON admits he’s been overcome with emotion in the “crazy few days” since his Mercedes exit was confirmed.
Hamilton, 39, has already inked a deal to join F1 powerhouses Ferrari year in what has been a rollercoaster of a week emotionally and professionally.
He said: “It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions.
“I feel incredibly fortunate, after achieving things with Mercedes that I could only have dreamed of as a kid, that I now have the chance to fulfil another childhood dream.in Ferrari red.”
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The decision to leave Mercedes was one Hamilton – who joined the Brackley-based team in 2013 – didn’t take lightly.
The seven-time world champion said: “Mercedes has been a huge part of my life since I was 13 years old, so this decision has been the hardest I’ve ever had to make.”
Six of Hamilton’s seven title wins came during his stint with Mercedes, triumphs he admits wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Toto Wolff and the late Niki Lauda.
He said: “I’m incredibly proud of all that we’ve achieved together and I’m very grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone I have worked with over the years.
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“And of course Toto, for his friendship, guidance and leadership.
“Together we have won titles, broken records and become the most successful Driver-Team partnership in F1.
“And, of course, I cannot forget Niki who was a huge supporter and who I still miss every day.
“I must also share my huge appreciation to the whole of the Mercedes-Benz board and everyone at the company in and around the world for supporting me over these 26 years.
“But the time is right to make a change and take on a new challenge.
“I still remember the feeling of taking a leap of faith into the unknown when I first joined Mercedes in 2013.
“I know some people didn’t understand it at the time but I was right to make the move then and it’s the feeling I have again now.”
Hamilton is looking forward to the new chapter of his legendary career but won’t let it distract him from trying to win a record-breaking eighth world title this season.
He said: “I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new opportunity and what we can do together.
“However, right now, I’m not thinking about 2025. My focus is on the upcoming season and getting back out on track with Mercedes.
“I am more driven than ever, I am fitter and more focused than ever and I want to help Mercedes win once again.
“I am 100 per cent committed to the job I need to do and determined to end my partnership with the team on a high.
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“Thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with me, you have all lifted me up as I chase my dreams and I hope I can continue to make you proud.
“As always, sending you my love and positive.”