Hamilton and Leclerc will become teammates next year when the seven-time world champion will complete his shock switch from Mercedes to Ferrari.
The move came as a surprise to nearly all within the motorsport community, including the driver Hamilton will replace at the Scuderia: Carlos Sainz.
Leclerc, who recently penned a new long-term contract with the Italian team, has now finally broken his silence on the matter as he spoke to the media following the launch of Ferrari’s 2024 car: the SF-24
The Monegasque racer claims that he was made aware of the move ahead of the announcement on February 1st, saying: ‘This kind of deal is not finalised overnight.
‘It takes time and I was aware of those discussions before signing my deal, so it didn’t come as a surprise after signing.
‘Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history and with a lot of experience as well which he will bring to the team and obviously to myself, which is a good thing.
‘But Carlos has been great and we’ve got one more year together to try and do the best job possible.’
This contradicts previous reports that claimed that the 26-year-old was ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Hamilton’s arrival as it could disrupt his No.1 status at the team.
Leclerc is hoping to become Ferrari’s first champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 but will now face stiff competition from the most successful driver in the sport’s history.
The five-time race winner went onto reveal that he has been in touch with Hamilton since the transfer went public, adding: ‘We’ve had discussions with Lewis, especially when everything was announced and official.
‘We texted each other of course. He is a great champion with so much success.
‘It is always interesting to have a new teammate as you learn different ways of working and driving – even more so when my new teammate is a seven-time World Champion.’
The new F1 season gets underway on March 2nd with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
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