Charles Leclerc teases ‘hello Lewis’ in midst of contract talk questions

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc in a press conference with Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly. Monaco May 2023

Charles Leclerc in a press conference with Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly. Monaco May 2023

Charles Leclerc threw in a teasing “hello Lewis” when asked what he wants from a team-mate, before quickly talking up his current Ferrari partner Carlos Sainz.

Hamilton and Leclerc have been the subject of many a rumour of late, both drivers linked to the other’s race-seat in what could potentially be a straight swap.

Hamilton, though, has made it clear time and again that he’s committed to Mercedes while Leclerc has often spoken of his love for Ferrari – and still the rumours continue.

Leclerc was asked in Thursday’s driver press conference for the Monaco weekend what he looks for in a team-mate and decided to cheekily throw a bit of fuel on that fire.

“Hello Lewis!” he replied with a laugh.

Moving onto the serious stuff, he added: “I mean, a fast team-mate, as everybody. We are in Formula 1, and we love to be fighting against the best.

“But that’s not to say that my team-mate is not fast. Carlos is an extremely fast driver.

“But yeah, considering that, I mean, I’m not the person who makes the choices. So yeah, let’s see.”

Asked whether he’d welcome Hamilton, a seven-time World Champion, to Ferrari, Leclerc responded: “If I say yes, I imagine it being the title of every newspaper.

“But I mean, Lewis is such an incredible driver, has achieved so much in the sport. So, I think anybody on the grid will love to have Lewis as a team-mate, as everybody will learn a lot from him.

“But yeah, again, I’m happy where I am. And with Carlos, it’s a great relationship too.”

However, it seems Hamilton won’t be heading to Ferrari – contrary to the rumours – with the Briton revealing he’s closer than ever to securing a new deal with Mercedes. recommends

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“My team are chatting, having discussions with the team in the background, and we’re almost there,” he revealed.

As for Leclerc, who still has a year to run on his Ferrari deal, he says he’s yet to begin speaking with president John Elkann or team boss Fred Vasseur about a new deal.

“No, no talks has been started on my renewal for now,” he said. “I speak with John regularly about the season and the vision for the future but not yet about my contract situation. There’s still a year and a half before the end of my contract, so still a lot of time.”