Hill is certain: ‘If Lewis felt that an eighth title was possible, he would have stayed’

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Hill is certain: 'If Lewis felt that an eighth title was possible, he would have stayed'

Former champion Damon Hill is sure that Lewis Hamilton would have stayed at Mercedes if he had felt he could win his eighth title there. The Briton suspects that the seven-time world champion wanted to breathe new life into his last seasons in Formula 1, and then it will not really matter to him whether it goes wrong or not.

The scenario in which Mercedes and Hamilton would part ways seemed almost impossible. The Brit has achieved so much with the German racing team, and he stated several times that he wanted to be part of the Silver Arrows forever. Hamilton signed a multi-year deal in August, but exercised his exit clause in time. “If Lewis honestly felt he could win his eighth championship at Mercedes, or if there had been a fifty-fifty chance that it was possible at Mercedes, he would have stayed,” Hill said firmly on Sky Sports.

“He’s probably gotten to the point where he’s heard the same song too many times at Mercedes and has started to think he needs to breathe new life into his final seasons in F1,” the Brit continues. ‘Is there a better way than driving for Ferrari? If things go wrong, he will think: at least I tried.’ Hill thinks back to the switch from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013. Many did not understand what he was doing there, but a year later Mercedes became a dominant team. “Lewis has taken charge of his own career,” says the former champion. “It’s not like Mercedes told him they wanted to replace him.”

Switch provides ‘proof that Ferrari is working on a competitive package’

In the opinion of the 1996 champion, there is more to the transfer than ‘breathing new life’, as Hamilton exchanges his familiar surroundings for a completely new one. “We understand the well-known benefits of the Ferrari brand, including its romance and rich history. Yet I believe there is more to it, that there is evidence that Ferrari is working to create a competitive package,” says Hill. “They have started integrating the components and are starting to see results. If you had the choice between Mercedes, which offers similar equipment, and Ferrari, I would choose Ferrari to try something new.”

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