Vote now: Should Lewis Hamilton leave Mercedes and join Ferrari at the end of 2023?

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes contract expires at the end of 2023, and he has been linked to a swap with Charles Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton has been a massive talking point following the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with the seven-time world champion having vented his frustration with his team after admitting that they “didn’t listen” to him.

After an abysmal 2022 campaign, Mercedes were expected to bounce back at the Bahrain International Circuit and prove that last season was a blip.

In actual fact the complete opposite happened, with the Silver Arrows having slipped to fourth in the pecking order, behind their customer side Aston Martin.

It was a moment of realisation for Mercedes and arguably for Hamilton, with their poor result having been proof that the Germans truly aren’t the side they once were in the turbo-hybrid era.

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Some can argue that their downfall is due to the new aerodynamic issues, whilst others might say that they’ve simply been caught, but one thing that can be agreed on by everybody is that Mercedes aren’t the fastest anymore.

By not being the fastest, Hamilton’s position at the team has to be questioned, given that the current likelihood is that the Brackley-based team won’t be able to supply him with a car good enough to pursue an unprecedented eighth world championship.

Hamilton and Mercedes have always appeared to be in an unbreakable relationship, but occasionally relationships do break down, and result in each party going in their separate ways.

There is absolutely no doubt that Hamilton doesn’t want to leave the Silver Arrows, with the 38-year-old having claimed so much success with the side.

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But if things don’t improve in the next few rounds then he may need to ask himself an important question; what’s more important, remaining loyal, or winning another title?

He is, of course, approaching the end of his current contract, and whilst an extension has been speculated, nothing has been signed just yet.

Some have questioned if he’s waiting to see if Mercedes improve before agreeing to a new deal; however, he’s firmly denied this.

In order to sign a new deal, Hamilton will presumably want to feel like he’s being listened to by the team, something he slammed the side for not doing in regard to the W14.

“Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car,” Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Chequered Flag podcast after the Bahrain GP.

“I’ve driven so many cars in my life. I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about accountability.

“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work.’

“We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team. That’s what we do.

“We’re still (multiple) world champions, you know? Just haven’t got it right this time. Didn’t get it right last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards.”

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If he decides that leaving Mercedes is the right option at the end of 2023 then the likelihood is that only one option will be on the table.

He’s previously expressed how much he’d like to drive for Ferrari and actually Charles Leclerc has been highlighted as a possible target for Mercedes in the past.

Whether the duo could swap seats remains to be seen, but for now Hamilton is a Mercedes driver, whether that’s the right thing for him or not going forward.