Lewis Hamilton sees “no harm” in discussions with Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton knows that he will be back with Mercedes in 2020 after winning his sixth championship this past season. But it doesn’t hurt to begin looking at his options for the year after and beyond.
Through the past couple of weeks, there have been rumblings about Hamilton meeting with Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto on a couple occasions. When he was asked about that following his victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the six-time champion said it’s all about keeping his options open.
“I think for many, many years I’ve never ever sat down and considered other options, because we’ve been just driving straight ahead into the path that we’ve been on and the journey that we’ve been on,” he commented. “To be honest, I still think we’re on that path and I think there’s very little that’s going to shift it from that but I think there’s no harm in.”
Hamilton went onto say that he is awaiting to see which direction Toto Wolff chooses to go moving forward before making any concrete decisions.
“I love where I am so it’s definitely not a quick decision to do something else,” he continued. “But of course I think it’s only smart and wise for me to sit and think of what I want if it is the last period or stage in my career. Actually I want to keep winning. I want to keep being able to fight with these guys as well. I can’t really tell you what else is going to happen moving forwards.”
The relationship between Hamilton and Wolff dates back with them both joining Mercedes in 2013, which has resulted in a friendship and “a lot of trust” per the team principal on Friday. While Wolff may have his thoughts on the future direction, he notes they are both “part of a wider organization” that may have other objectives.
“I think for him to say that is nice,” Wolff said. “I’d also like to know where he goes or if he stays in the future. And we are having those discussions about the future and I think it is very important between the two of us, like between many others that have played an important role within that team.”
The contract discussions are nothing new for Hamilton, who likes to believe he’s a “relatively good negotiator.” of course, currently pegged as the best driver on the circuit certainly makes that easy.
However, he still says it’s like going into a wrestling ring due to the “intense conversations about terms” that will be had. Though while it may take time to iron out details, it is not something Hamilton is going to worry about once a decision is made.
“As soon as we decide we are going to continue on together, we’re kind of joined at the hip. All that small detail can take it’s time. It’s no real stress,” he commented. “Our word is our bond, and has been all these years – Mercedes, since I was 13, have always stood by our word. And vice-versa. It’s not that bad, but you need to set some time aside to think about – where are we? What is the next goal? What else are we planning? Ultimately, it rolls over to the future – and that in itself can be time-consuming.”
If Hamilton was to leave Mercedes and drive for Ferrari, the decision would certainly shock many as nobody could picture the pair racing against each other after the success they have built together. But if it does happen, Binotto says he would welcome Hamilton easily.
“Knowing that he’s available in 2021 can make us only happy,” he commented. “But honestly it’s too early for any decision, so we are happy with the driver’s we’ve got at the moment and I think certainly at one stage next season we will start discussing and understanding what to do.”
Those sentiments were reflected in Charles Leclerc’s comments following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“At the end, we are in Formula One and we want to fight against the best,” he said. “I’ve had a big opportunity this year to have Seb (Sebastian Vettel) next to me who is a four time World Champion and I’ve learned a lot from him and you can always learn from this type of champion so yeah, of course.”
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