Di Resta not expecting 'fireworks' between Hamilton and Leclerc at Ferrari

By Sports Desk February 10, 2024

Lewis Hamilton may have endured a strained relationship with former team-mate Fernando Alonso, but Paul di Resta does not expect a repeat when he links up with Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.

Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton stunned fans earlier this month with the announcement that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari after the 2024 season.

Hamilton has failed to win a race since Red Bull's Max Verstappen beat him to the title in contentious circumstances in 2021, and the move to Maranello surely offers the 39-year-old his last chance to pull clear of Michael Schumacher by winning an eighth crown.

Hamilton will take Carlos Sainz's seat with the Scuderia, racing alongside Leclerc, who finished second in the drivers' championship back in 2022.

The Briton memorably clashed with Alonso when the duo were team-mates with McLaren for the 2007 season, but Di Resta does not foresee a similar feud developing with Leclerc.

"I don't think you will see fireworks. I think they've both got tremendous respect for each other," the former Force India driver told Stats Perform.

"They're both fast. They're both very clean drivers. I think how they go about their racing is different to how others would go about it. 

"I think Charles has proven he's definitely one of the fastest guys that can pull a lap out of a car. Can he do that over the course of every Grand Prix? 

"I think you can see that probably only Max and Lewis have been able to do that recently. Fernando is probably another one out there, with that extra bit where you can pull race wins out of nothing.

"I'm interested to see whether Charles can go on top of it, maybe Charles will lift himself with the pressure, but there's one thing for sure, it's going to be the hardest team-mate that he's had to go up against.

"I'm sure Lewis doesn't fear going up against Charles. I think the biggest thing is getting that Italian culture around them, but Lewis has been around this business a long time and he knows this."

Reports have suggested Ferrari are also looking to bring in Hamilton's race engineer Peter Bonnington in order to help him settle, and Di Resta would not be surprised if other staff members follow Hamilton in leaving Mercedes.

"I'm also interested to see what personnel he's going to take with him to make him feel comfortable. He's already talked about the engineer," Di Resta said. 

"Are there other people he's talked to? Maybe that was the key to getting [chairman] John Elkann and [team principal] Frederic Vasseur to make it happen."

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