Lewis Hamilton addresses threat of Charles Leclerc replacing him

Charles Leclerc has been linked with a move to Mercedes, while Lewis Hamilton has been floated as a potential contender for a seat at Ferrari.

With Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expiring at the end of 2023, speculation has been rife about his future in Formula 1.

Whether Hamilton moves to another team, reaches a deal with Mercedes or leaves Formula 1 all together is yet to be seen but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill spinning out of control.

As Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes could become available, Italian media has reported that it’s an “open secret” that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is in talks with the Silver Arrows team principal Toto Wolff.

When questioned about the media reports, Leclerc failed to rule out a move to Mercedes, simply stating that it’s not on the table “at the moment.”

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Hamilton himself addressed the suggestion he could be about to abandon his team by claiming that he is not fazed by media reports.

“No, not really, I think maybe some of the drivers all have different relationships with different bosses and stuff,” Hamilton said, when asked about Leclerc potentially replacing him.

“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 forwards.

“So, it doesn’t have any impact, no.”

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The challenging 2022 season marked the first season in his Formula 1 career where Hamilton failed to secure a win.

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Hamilton has now gone over 500 days without a victory, as his last P1 finish came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

While it’s not yet known why Hamilton is delaying the signing of a new contract, it has been speculated that he is waiting to see whether Mercedes can address its performance problems, as he targets a record-breaking eight world title.

That, of course, will be unlikely at Mercedes if the team remains far off the pace of Red Bull and behind Aston Martin.