Hamilton unfazed by Leclerc Mercedes rumours
By Mat Coch
Thursday 27th April, 2023 - 10:32pm
Lewis Hamilton has rejected the suggestion that rumours linking Charles Leclerc to Mercedes could influence his contract negotiations.
Hamilton is in the final year of his current deal with Mercedes but has indicated he is likely to continue with the team.
The British driver has won six of his seven world titles with the Brackley-based operation and has remained publicly committed to it despite a downturn in results since the start of 2022.
On the other hand, Leclerc is growing impatient at Ferrari despite holding a contract through to the end of next season.
He led the 2022 championship in the early stages, only to see that quickly evaporate through a combination of reliability and driver issues.
Three races into the current campaign, he’s again experienced reliability issues.
It has sparked suggestions the Monegasque driver could replace 38-year-old Hamilton at Mercedes next year.
“I think maybe some of the drivers have different relationships with different [team] bosses and stuff,” Hamilton said of the rumours.
“I like where I am. I love my team, and I’m grateful for the journey we’ve been on and what we’re working on moving forward.
“Doesn’t have an impact,” he added on whether the Leclerc Mercedes links would expedite contract discussions.
Hamilton is the second oldest driver on the grid, behind only former team-mate Fernando Alonso.
At 41, the Spaniard has demonstrated that drivers can remain competitive far longer than has traditionally been the case in Formula 1.
It’s a point not lost on Hamilton.
“The talent clearly hasn’t left him, and I don’t believe it does leave us,” he said.
“I think it’s also up to your worth ethic. He’s clearly in great shape, and he’s doing an amazing job.
“Racing’s really in our DNA and in our blood, and we don’t put less work in now than we did when we were younger,” he added.
“There’s more information out there on how to be fit and healthy; you see it with greats; LeBron [James] and Tom Brady.
“So I think there’s probably even more focus nowadays than ever before from an athlete’s perspective on how to get absolutely everything out of our mind and your body.
“Still hungry as ever. Clearly, Fernando is too.”
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