Lewis Hamilton breaks silence on Charles Leclerc replacement rumour

Italian media has reported that it’s an “open secret” that Charles Leclerc is in talks over a move to Mercedes

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has been linked to Mercedes, with reports claiming discussions have already begun between the Monegasque and the Silver Arrows.

It’s no secret that Leclerc was disappointed in Ferrari’s failures last season, as the Italian team effectively threw away a shot at their first championship since 2008 and his maiden Driver’s title with poor strategy calls.

The 2023 season hasn’t proved anymore promising for Leclerc, as two DNFs in three races has left him P10 in the Drivers’ Standings and Ferrari in P4 in the Constructors’ race.

With Lewis Hamilton in the last year of his contract, there is a possibility that a seat could open up at Mercedes, opening the door for Leclerc to make the switch to the iconic team.

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When asked directly about the rumours ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Leclerc failed to rule out a future move away from Ferrari, simply claiming nothing concrete was on the table right now.

“No, there is nothing at the moment,” Leclerc said. 

“I’m focused on the project I’m currently working on.

“I didn’t have any conversations with Toto Wolff. 

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“You do not believe, but later you will see it for yourself.

“I love Ferrari and am fully committed to the team. 

“As I have already said, I have full confidence and I am confident for the future,” he added.

This speculation of a seat swap has been fuelled further by Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, who recently claimed that Leclerc might be able to leave Ferraro early due to the team’s poor performance.

“These performance clauses are common,” Marko said.

Even Hamilton himself failed to play down the speculation over the future of the Mercedes seat, accepting that, given his delay in signing and extension, it’s not surprising team principal Toto Wolff might speak to other drivers.

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

“But 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.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur recently admitted that Leclerc is “frustrated” over a “disaster” of a start to the season but didn’t believe that was cause for concern with regards to the Monegasque’s future at the team.

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“Frustration is good,” Vasseur said. 

“I’d be disappointed if Charles wasn’t frustrated.

“We had a discussion to understand what should be corrected and we improve every weekend. 

“You can’t blame Charles for being disappointed.”