On the eve of the Tuscan Grand Prix, long-running rumours were confirmed when Racing Point – to be re-branded as the Aston Martin F1 Team in 2021.
Speaking in the press conference at Mugello, Hamilton said he thought it was a great move for both Vettel and the Silverstone-based team, who use the same Mercedes power units as the Briton.
“Honestly,” he said smiling, “I thought that was the ideal direction that he was going to go in, so I thought it was going to happen, and I was really pleased to hear it.”
Hamilton added that he believed Aston Martin would benefit greatly from his old sparring partner’s experience.
He’s a four-time champion that can help steer that team even further in a better directionLewis Hamilton on Vettel joining Racing Point
“That team has new ownership, has already taken a huge step forward in its performance and it can continue to grow,” he said. “I think it’s really – maybe I’m biased – but I believe that experience counts for a huge amount.
“Obviously, he’s had a difficult time [recently] at Ferrari but he is a four-time champion that can help steer that team even further in a better direction, in terms of car development.
“I think you should never take that for granted, so I think that’s a great move for the team. Of course, I’m sorry for Sergio but he’s a great driver and I’m sure hopefully he’ll have other options…”
Vettel has won 14 Grands Prix with Ferrari, making him their third-most successful driver in that regard (one behind Niki Lauda) and has the third-most podiums for the Scuderia – one behind Rubens Barrichello’s tally of 55.