Lewis Hamilton responds to Charles Leclerc and Mercedes talk rumours

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton congratulates Charles Leclerc. Bahrain March 2022

Lewis Hamilton gives Charles Leclerc a pat as he congratulates the Ferrari driver. Bahrain March 2022

Lewis Hamilton isn’t fazed by rumours linking Charles Leclerc to his Mercedes seat, the Briton adamant he doesn’t feel pressurised to get a new deal signed off.

Suggestions Leclerc is Mercedes’ number one pick to replace Hamilton when he eventually calls time on his Formula 1 career have continued to gather momentum this season.

With neither Ferrari nor Mercedes able to take the fight to Red Bull, at least not today, it has been speculated that Hamilton and Leclerc could make a straight swap in the hope of reinvigorating both teams or that Hamilton could retire, Leclerc taking his seat.

However, given that Leclerc has another season left in his current Ferrari deal, it’s more likely that Hamilton could re-sign for the 2024 season with Leclerc then replacing him come 2025.

But given that very few contracts come without an escape clause, for the team and the driver, there is still the prospect of Leclerc calling time on his Ferrari career a year early and swapping over to Mercedes.

That was put to Hamilton in Thursday’s press conference ahead of the Azerbaijan weekend, the Briton asked if he felt pressure to get a new deal over the line.

He replied: “No, not really.

“I think maybe some of the drivers will speak or have relationships with different bosses and stuff.

“No, I like where I am, I love my team and I think I’m grateful for the journey we’ve been on and what we’re working on moving forward so…. doesn’t have any impact, no.”

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As for Leclerc, the Monégasque driver created a headline or two when he said “not yet” when asked if he was engaged in any contract talks.

“No, not yet,” he said of any contract talks beginning before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “Not for the moment.”

But, he added: “I’m fully committed to Ferrari and I love Ferrari.”

Pressed as to whether there was any truth to the rumour he’d been speaking with Toto Wolff, the five-time grand prix winner said: “No. Zero. Zero. Really zero. You all smile because you don’t believe me, but I promise.

“For now, I am fully focused on the project I am in today, which is Ferrari, and I fully trust and am confident for the future. Then we will see, but I am fully confident for the project of Ferrari.”