The Formula 1 community is abuzz with speculation over Ferrari’s groundbreaking decision for its 2025 driver lineup, featuring the monumental pairing of Lewis Hamilton with Charles Leclerc. The move, which sees Hamilton replace Carlos Sainz, has reportedly unsettled incumbent Leclerc, according to Corriere dello Sport. This development has sparked a debate among F1 pundits and former drivers about who will emerge as the biggest beneficiary of this high-profile partnership.
Felipe Massa, a former Ferrari driver who shared the team with the legendary Michael Schumacher, believes Leclerc has nothing to fear. He encourages Leclerc to focus on his performance, suggesting that Hamilton’s presence will only serve as added motivation. “Hamilton’s determination and work ethic are an important factor that will influence the atmosphere in the team,” Massa told La Gazzetta dello Sport. He further added, “But this will also give Charles additional motivation, because beating Lewis while driving exactly the same car is a very interesting challenge.”
The question of who will be considered Ferrari’s ‘number 1’ driver between the 40-year-old Hamilton and the much younger Leclerc remains open. Ralf Schumacher expects Hamilton to assert himself but acknowledges Leclerc’s advantage of familiarity with the team. “Hamilton will try to be number 1. But I think he will have to fight for it because Leclerc has been there for a long time,” Schumacher shared with Sky Deutschland.
Jacques Villeneuve, son of Ferrari icon Gilles Villeneuve, views Hamilton’s move as relatively low risk, given Ferrari’s recent performance. “It’s at a time in history where the team hasn’t won in a very long time,” he remarked, suggesting that failing to win with Ferrari might be more palatable than a lack of success with Mercedes. Yet, Villeneuve questions Hamilton’s readiness for the unique pressures of Maranello, pointing out the intense scrutiny and historical challenges faced by Ferrari drivers.
Contrastingly, Hans-Joachim Stuck believes Hamilton has much at stake, warning of the potential career implications should Leclerc outperform him. “If Leclerc beats Hamilton, it would be a bad end to his (Hamilton’s) career,” Stuck expressed to Eurosport Deutschland. He highlights the adjustment Hamilton will need to make within the Ferrari system, emphasizing the intense media spotlight and the cultural shift awaiting Hamilton at Ferrari.