Ferrari success will not come easily for Hamilton, warns Di Resta

By Sports Desk February 10, 2024

Winning an eighth Formula One world championship with Ferrari would cement Lewis Hamilton's legacy, but that will be no easy task as the Scuderia go through an overdue rebuild.

That is the view of former Force India driver Paul di Resta, who believes Hamilton's move to Maranello will be "box office" for all F1 fans. 

The upcoming 2024 season will be Hamilton's last with Mercedes, with the seven-time drivers' champion activating a break clause in his contract with the team in order to join Ferrari from 2025.

Hamilton has endured a frustrating couple of years since missing out on an eighth world title – which would have seen him surpass Michael Schumacher for the outright record – to Max Verstappen at the end of a hotly contested 2021 season.

While Di Resta thinks Hamilton is joining Ferrari with the belief that they will offer him a better chance of returning to the top of the standings, he has warned things may not be so straightforward, with the team rebuilding after finishing third in the constructors' standings last season.

"I was surprised," Di Resta told Stats Perform. "For somebody who's been so successful and has driven a car powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine for every lap, for every bit of success he's had… To change that over at this point in your career, I think it's a big thing.

"I think he and Toto Wolff bounced off each other very well. You could see there was one goal, they seemed like they gelled together in the sense of where they wanted to go, to win this eighth title for Lewis.

"I think they set that up well, and it was good to have George [Russell] alongside him as well, who I think pushes Lewis, and I think Lewis excels under pressure. 

"That's the difference with him; when pressure is added, he steps up more than others. But somewhere within this, he's felt uncomfortable, to be persuaded to go to Ferrari.

"They're a team going through a rebuild at the moment, going through a big change in terms of how they go about racing… they had to because they let themselves down on a lot of occasions."

Taking Carlos Sainz's seat after the Spaniard failed to agree a new contract with Ferrari, Hamilton will race alongside Charles Leclerc, who finished second in the drivers' championship in 2022 but dropped to fifth last year.

While Di Resta is certain Hamilton has received assurances from Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur, he says there are no guarantees that the move will work out.

"Lewis has been convinced. He's obviously been given security, he's obviously been given something that's driven him," Di Resta said. 

"I think it's great news for Formula 1, to see him go there. It would be another step up if he wins another title, that would rubber stamp what has already been an incredible career, but it's a big task. 

"He's obviously got to get on top of Charles as well, who's been part of that family for a long time. I'm excited to see it. It could be box office."

Di Resta did, however, admit Hamilton made the right move when leaving McLaren for Mercedes in 2013, noting how his former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso has failed win a title since leaving Renault in 2007.

"If you look at what Lewis did, going from McLaren to Mercedes, there was a bit of vision there," he said. "I've always said, 'Is it skill or is it luck?' 

"You look at Fernando versus Lewis, Fernando seems to have made the wrong decisions at the wrong times. Lewis has made the right decisions and stepped forward. 

"Mercedes have lost out because it was unexpected, and if you look at what's been promised to Lewis from the Ferrari side, he's going there with a belief that they're going to do it.

"With how it plays out, I think the early days are going to be key to how successful it will be."

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