Ferrari already had Hamilton in mind for 2024: ‘The problem was that Sainz had a clause in his contract’

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Ferrari already had Hamilton in mind for 2024: 'The problem was that Sainz had a clause in his contract'

Giedo van der Garde thinks that Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc will form a fantastic driving duo. The former Formula 1 driver thinks that both drivers can have each other in certain places and that they will be treated equally by Ferrari. However, this driving duo should have been on the grid earlier if it had been up to the Italian racing team. Carlos Sainz was only in charge for 2024, Van der Garde believes.

There was a lot going on within Ferrari after the end of the previous season. The team was busy with contract negotiations for the drivers, but talks with Sainz failed. After all, in the background John Elkann, the CEO of Ferrari, was busy trying to bring Hamilton to Maranello. The seven-time world champion will come from Mercedes in 2025. Sainz has to look for a new challenge, but the Spaniard is not disappointed.

Sainz said he already saw Hamilton’s arrival coming. Van der Garde does not find this surprising, as he knew that Ferrari wanted to bring the Briton to the team in 2024. “The problem was that Sainz had a clause in his contract to extend before 2024,” the former driver says in DRS: The Race Show. ‘Ferrari actually wanted to get rid of him. However, the option lay with Sainz. He thought about that option: Listen, I’ll stay at Ferrari, because I’m in the right place and I’ve had a great year.’

Van der Garde sees an excellent duo in Leclerc and Hamilton

Now Ferrari will drive with Leclerc and Hamilton in 2025. Leclerc signed a long-term contract with the Italian racing team in January. Hamilton’s move to Maranello is therefore criticized. Ferrari seemed to make it clear with the contract extension that Leclerc is the number one driver, but that Hamilton will not accept this. Van der Garde expects that things will turn out well. ‘I think they’ll be evenly matched. The experience that Hamilton brings will also be a boost for Ferrari.”

“It will be a tough battle, but because it is so tough, it will have a positive effect,” the Dutchman continues. Van der Garde sees that both drivers clearly have certain strengths. The difference between the drivers can therefore have a positive effect. ‘If you look at Leclerc’s qualifications, he is incredibly fast; he can get the most out of the car. In the races Hamilton is very good with the tires and in terms of setup he can put a very good car in for the race. I think they can help each other a lot.’

Who is in pole position at Mercedes?

Mercedes will be without a second driver in 2025 and Sainz without a seat. However, Van der Garde does not think that both parties will choose each other. ‘I would put Albon in pole position. Otherwise you’re going to look at a rookie, for example Kimi Antonelli. It may be too early, but if he becomes Formula 2 champion this year and he has already shown that he is really a cannon of a driver, then you have Russell and Antonelli. How cool is that?’, concludes Van der Garde.

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