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Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton leaves Mercedes to join Ferrari in surprise team switch

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-Benz are coming to the finish line, with the seven-time Formula One champion and the German automaker announcing the coming season will be their last. The British driver is joining Ferrari next year.

Hamilton signed a two-year agreement with Mercedes in the summer, but activated a release option in the contract, making this season his last driving for the Silver Arrows, according to a statement by Mercedes-AMG Petronas. 

Scuderia Ferrari confirmed the development, announcing Thursday that Hamilton would be joining the team in 2025 on a multiyear contract. 

"The news brings to an end to what is currently a 17-year relationship in F1 with Mercedes-Benz and an 11-year-long partnership with the works team," Mercedes said in the statement.

A race for diversity in Formula One 06:54

Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013, winning half a dozen of his seven world titles with the team by 2020. 

"Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13 years old. It's a place where I have grown up, so making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make," Hamilton, 39, stated. "I am 100% committed to delivering the best performance I can this season and making my last year with the Silver Arrows one to remember."

The only Black driver to race in F1, Hamilton has been outspoken about increasing diversity in the sport. 

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