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Lewis Hamilton already in contact with Charles Leclerc ahead of Ferrari switch

Lewis Hamilton has already been in contact with soon-to-be Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc – as Carlos Sainz, the driver forced to make way for the seven-time world champion, revealed the shock switch came out of the blue.

Hamilton, 39, will leave Mercedes at the end of this year after agreeing a blockbuster move to Ferrari in 2025 – the biggest transfer in Formula One history.

Hamilton is set to make his first public appearance since news broke of his decision to quit Mercedes when the Silver Arrows unveil their new car at Silverstone on Wednesday.

Hamilton will appear alongside team principal Toto Wolff and fellow Brit George Russell.

On Tuesday, Ferrari took the wraps off the contender they hope will allow them to challenge Red Bull and Max Verstappen when the new season starts in Bahrain next month.

But it was Hamilton’s name which dominated proceedings – despite the Ferrari PR machine attempting to restrict questions about their star signing.

Hamilton will partner Leclerc at Ferrari after the Monegasque signed a new long-term contract, understood to run until 2029, just days before the British driver’s move was announced.

“This kind of deal is not finalised overnight, and I was aware of those discussions (with Hamilton) before I signed my deal so it did not come as a surprise,” said Leclerc, 26.

“Obviously, Lewis is an incredible driver, the most successful in history, and he brings a lot of experience to the team.

“I had discussions with Lewis, especially when everything was announced and official. We texted each other.

“He is a great champion with so much success. It is always interesting to have a new team-mate, because you learn different ways of driving and working, and even more so when my new team-mate is a

Read more on independent.co.uk