Surprised Bottas backs Hamilton to succeed at Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton’s former Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas has stated he expects the seven-time Formula One world champion to be a good fit for Ferrari when the British driver moves to the Italian team next year.

The switch was announced last week after Hamilton, 39, exercised a break clause in his new contract and signed for the sport’s oldest, historically most successful and most glamorous team on a multiyear deal from the start of the 2025 season.

“I never thought it would happen,” Bottas said at a livery launch in London for his Sauber-run Stake F1 team on Monday night.

“I thought in my mind he would stay at Mercedes, but that’s Formula One. Things happen, and I think that it’s good for him because he’s obviously made the decision and it’s a fresh, new start.

“It’s a big move in F1, which is going to create some movement as well on the drivers’ market for sure.”

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Hamilton will join Charles Leclerc, who has a long-term contract, at Ferrari — a team that last won a constructors’ championship in 2008.

Other multiple champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have tried and failed to earn titles at Ferrari since Kimi Raikkonen was crowned the team’s most recent driver’s champion in 2007.

Hamilton is the sport’s most successful driver of all time, with a record 103 wins, and Bottas stated he expects him to fit in well at a team that is now run by Frenchman Fred Vasseur — who worked with Hamilton in his junior career.

“I think he will. He’s got so much experience of the sport. He’s dealt with many different people in the sport, I think there’s no problem on that,” Bottas said.

“I’m sure it’s going to be quite an exciting project for him to try and get to the top together with Ferrari.

“If anyone can do it, he can do it. … I think after a few races already he’ll be well settled in and then straight on from there.”

Bottas’ own future remains unclear, with the 34-year-old embarking on his 12th season in the sport. He and Hamilton were teammates at Mercedes from 2017 to 2021, a period that coincided with a period of dominance for the team.

The Finn has been increasingly busy pursuing his interests outside the sport. He is active in cycling and promoting his wine, coffee and brand of gin.

“For a long time I’ve had different projects, and now I’ve really found the right setup in terms of I’ve got pretty much all my passions covered,” he said.

“Eventually, which is hopefully not going to be for many, many years, those things will for sure keep me busy [after F1], along with always driving something else no doubt.

“Anything alcohol-related, in the past I wasn’t allowed to do, but now, with the current contract, I can. I was kind of blocked before.”

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