Lewis Hamilton has been one of the most successful Formula One drivers ever. He’s won seven championships, including four in a row from 2017 to 2020. He’s won 103 career races and made it to the podium — finishing in the top three — 197 times. Much of that success has come while Hamilton has been racing for Ferrari. The driver and manufacturer have partnered since 2013.
However, over the past three seasons, Hamilton has watched as Max Verstappen has surpassed him as the top driver in the F1 World Championship. Verstappen has won three straight titles, and Hamilton is hoping to put a stop to that string of success. To do so, he’s joining a new company.
Hamilton announced he’ll be leaving Mercedes and heading to the Ferrari team beginning in 2025. And he’s getting quite the pay bump. He’ll go from about $63 million with Mercedes to a whopping $107.3 million with Ferrari.
The deal is a lesson in perseverance. Last year, Ferrari reportedly offered Hamilton a deal worth about $50.5 million. He obviously didn’t take that one, but now that he’s making double the money, the offer is a lot more enticing.
Hamilton was also swayed by the design elements of Ferrari’s cars. He called them “technical guarantees” to secure an eighth title, which would be a record in the sport. The company is working on a new engine that should be ready to roll by the 2026 season.
Finally, Hamilton’s former mentor is Frederic Vasseur, who serves as the head of Ferarri’s team. In 2005 and 2006, when he was only 20 and 21 years old, Hamilton won Formula Three and GP2 (now known as Formula Two) championships driving for Vasseur’s ART team. He joined McLaren in 2007, winning his first F1 championship in 2008 before heading to Mercedes in 2013.
Hamilton will partner with fellow Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. Carlos Sainz Jr. may end up heading to another team now that Hamilton is replacing him. All of those drivers (and Verstappen) are among the highest-paid in Formula One.
Verstappen was leading that list. But now, Hamilton will be the top dog in terms of on-track earnings. He hopes he’ll also finish first in the race standings.