Lewis Hamilton defends decision to remain at Mercedes amid Ferrari interest

Lewis Hamilton wasn't interested in leaving Mercedes for Ferrari after not feeling "ready" to live in Italy.

Lewis Hamilton has stressed that he’s committed to helping Mercedes return to the top of Formula 1, following the signing of his new contract.

It was confirmed ahead of the recent Italian Grand Prix that after months of negotiating, the seven-time World Champion had finally agreed to a new deal with the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton signed a two-year extension keeping him at Mercedes until at least the end of 2025, the year before the new power unit regulations are introduced.

His contract saga was one of the biggest talking points right up until he finally put pen to paper, given how big a name not only he is, but how huge a seat would’ve been available had Hamilton opted to go elsewhere.

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It was widely expected that the 103-time race winner would remain with Mercedes, the side he joined back in 2013 but has had ties to since he was a teenager.

However, there were reports linking him to Ferrari, with the Maranello-based team’s chairman John Elkann having supposedly offered the 38-year-old a deal to join the Italians on the same salary he’s currently on prior to his new deal coming into effect.

Contrary to the rumours, Hamilton has insisted that there was “never” an offer on the table from the Italians, with only a “few casual conversations” having taken place.

Even had a concrete offer from Ferrari arrive, Hamilton admits that he doesn’t feel “ready to move to Italy”.

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“Not really,” Hamilton told Blick when asked if he’d thought about leaving Mercedes.

“Never. Okay, we’ve definitely had a few casual conversations [with Ferrari]. I know a lot of good people there. But I never felt ready to move to Italy.”

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Hamilton’s full focus is on helping Mercedes dethrone Red Bull, something they’ll have to wait until at least 2024 for, given that the Austrians have already claimed the 2023 Constructors’ Championship.

The Stevenage-born driver is eager for the Germans to pull out all the stops to catch Red Bull, even if it means introducing yet another concept.

For now, Hamilton will help Mercedes defend second in the standings for Ferrari, in what will at least mark a sign of progress compared to 2022 if they can keep the spot.