Lewis Hamilton-Charles Leclerc rivalry analysed ahead of F1 2025: “On a Sunday…”

Damon Hill gives his view on Ferrari's intra-team rivalry in 2025.

(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes…

1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill has described Ferrari’s decision to place Lewis Hamilton alongside Charles Leclerc in 2025 as “an interesting social experiment”.

The sporting world was shocked when Hamilton’s move to Ferrari was announced ahead of the new campaign.

It will bring an end to Hamilton’s long term alliance with Mercedes, having driven for the team since 2013.

In Hamilton and Leclerc, Ferrari will have the strongest pairing on the F1 grid, and while that is a positive thing, it could lead to an intense rivalry.

Speaking during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Hill gave his view on what to expect between Hamilton and Leclerc next year.

“I think that, what happens over time, is that you start off young, blindingly fast, lightning fast reflexes,” he said on Sky Sports. “But you don’t have the experience or perhaps confidence.

“[Leclerc] talked about Lewis’ championships. He hasn’t got that.  He’s also got incredible race skill, Lewis. In races he seems to find an extra gear when he needs it.

“The pair of them, it will be an interesting social experiment! To see those two put together in what is really Charles’ home team. They have nurtured him, brought him on. He sees himself as part of the family. Now this guy is moving in - a big star, a big name.

When pressed on an answer on who is better currently, Hill added: “On Saturdays, Charles has the edge on sheer speed. On a Sunday, I would never discount Lewis at all.”

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day. -
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10,…

Former IndyCar star Danica Patrick believes Leclerc has a “great attitude” but perhaps lacks the outright confidence.

“It’s clear that it’s arguable Charles is one of the very fastest on the grid,” she added.

“Incredible qualifying, sheer speed. It’s interesting how they can develop the car together moving into 2026 with new regulations. What happens when the new regulations come around is that, a lot of the time, a team shines above all. Will that be Ferrari because of Lewis being there?

“Charles has a great attitude but maybe not the confidence. But he’s calm, open-minded, wants to learn. If someone lacks confidence then they are insecure in those situations. It will be really interesting how it all plays out. Charles has an incredible opportunity to look very shiny, next to him.”

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