Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is pretty much the most sought-after driver in Formula One. As he enters the final year of his contract, the British driver knows that his Mercedes seat will be pounced on by opportunistic drivers.
Now, he is stirring the pot himself with claims of his rivals being interested in a Mercedes seat. One notable name dropped was Red Bull star Max Verstappen, who Hamilton claims, has reached out to team boss Toto Wolff.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton himself is set to enter contract negotiations with Mercedes F1. What hasn’t helped his case are the growing whispers of a possible move to Ferrari. That gained a lot more steam when it transpired that Lewis Hamilton recently met Ferrari president John Elkann.
At the FIA Gala in Paris, the subject was broached to Hamilton ahead of receiving his sixth world championship trophy. The 34-year old suggested that Max Verstappen is one of the drivers hoping to benefit from his move away from Mercedes. Verstappen himself had just finished his own interview at the Gala.
“It’s an interesting time because there are lot of drivers who are seeking positions everywhere,” Hamilton mused. “The amount of calls that Toto gets from drivers — including the one that was up here just recently — asking to come, everyone’s thing [is] to leave their team to come to where we are. Which is an understandable thing, because everybody wants to win and everybody wants to be a part of a winning formula.”
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Earlier this year, he also admitted that his future partly hinges on the future of team boss Toto Wolff. He continued, “Would it be the same without Toto? I don’t think so. But he’s got to do what’s right for him. And just like I’ll know what’s right for me when I have to make that decision, he has to make the right decision for him and what’s best for him and his family and his future. Change is also sometimes a good thing.”
Speaking of Wolff, he admitted that the process could take a little bit of time, but he does not foresee any surprises. The Austrian affirmed that he and Lewis Hamilton trust each other, and went through difficult times together and came out stronger. He also divulged that there are others in the team, who form part of their inner circle.