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Steiner: Hamilton has made right decision to join Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton looks to have made the “right decision” to join Ferrari and could win an eighth Formula 1 world championship with the Italian team, according to former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.

Hamilton stunned the sport during the off-season by deciding to leave Mercedes after 12 years to join Ferrari in 2025.

The early signs are that the move will benefit the seven-time world champion’s chances of adding to his record haul of 103 race victories, with Ferrari comprehensively outperforming Mercedes during the opening three races of the season.

Carlos Sainz, who Hamilton will replace at Ferrari, led a one-two from team-mate Charles Leclerc at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, while Mercedes suffered a double DNF to leave them 68 points back from the Italian team in the constructors’ standings, with leaders Red Bull a further four points clear.

“It looks like he is making the right decision,” Steiner, who is an ambassador for May’s Miami Grand Prix, told Sky Sports News. “He did it when he left McLaren to go to Mercedes, so maybe he got this one right as well.

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Lewis Hamilton reports an engine failure and retires from a chaotic Australian Grand Prix!

“But I think for him it’s more about the new challenge. He has been at the team for 11 years, won six championships, good relationships there.

“I think it’s just the last step of his career he wants a new challenge. And obviously, your last challenge being Ferrari, it’s a nice thing to have the opportunity to do.”

Hamilton is chasing a record eighth drivers’ title, and Steiner believes an overhaul of F1’s current regulations in 2026 could give him the chance to make history.

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Carlos Sainz produces an incredible performance to win the Australian Grand Prix for a Ferrari 1-2, while George Russell crashes out on the final lap for a Mercedes double DNF

“I think nothing is impossible,” said Steiner, whose eight-year tenure as Haas team principal came ended last season.

“In 2026 there are completely new regulations engine and chassis wise, so the cars are being redone then.

“And if he gets a little bit luck and is in the right place, if Ferrari produces a good car, it could be possible that he gets his eighth championship.”

‘If Max goes anywhere, it will be Mercedes’

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Max Verstappen vented his frustration at the Red Bull mechanics after a brake issue meant he only lasted three laps at the Australian GP

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen has been linked with a move to replace Hamilton at Mercedes amid uncertainty over his Red Bull future.

Verstappen is a heavy favourite to claim his fourth successive drivers’ title this year, but with continued off-track turbulence at Red Bull following the conclusion of the investigation into team principal Christian Horner, which resulted in the grievance against the team principal being dismissed, speculation has been rife as to whether Verstappen will actually see out a deal that ostensibly runs to the end of 2028.

There were the explosive comments made about Horner by Max’s father, Jos, at the Bahrain GP before speculation at the Saudi Arabian GP around the future at the team of Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor who the Verstappens have long been close to.

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On the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, former F1 strategist Bernie Collins says she’s surprised there were no data warnings to indicate an issue with Max Verstappen brakes that led to a fire and DNF

However, there was a notably calmer atmosphere around Red Bull in Melbourne, with the team’s off-track issues largely staying out of the headlines.

“I think it has calmed down lately, what is going on there,” Steiner said. “So I think getting out of the contract would be not easy for him. We don’t have insight to the contract but I think it’s also a good team to drive for at this moment.

“In Max’s own interest, he likes the car there, he likes the team so if there is not anything really disturbing him personally, I think he doesn’t really want to move. He’s won so much with that team, the team gave him the opportunity in the beginning to get into F1, so I think if they get the personal relationships going again, he will be staying.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that he would “love” to acquire Verstappen’s services, and Steiner sees the Brackley squad as the most likely destination for the Dutchman.

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Toto Wolff responds to the rumours that Max Verstappen could potentially join Mercedes if he were to leave Red Bull

“I think everyone in Formula 1 at the moment is interested in Max Verstappen,” Steiner added. “It’s more about where he wants to go.

“It could be Mercedes, who obviously have got a free seat with Lewis going to Ferrari. Aston Martin as well is a possibility, but I think if Max goes somewhere, I guess he would go to Mercedes.”

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 from April 5-7. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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