Racing

Mercedes chief: No drama if Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari

Scenario has been discussed, but world champion has not asked for a move

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have discussed the possibility of the five-time Formula One champion one day racing for Ferrari and such a move would be no drama, said team boss Toto Wolff.

Hamilton, 34, has a contract with Mercedes until the end of 2020, when he could have equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s unprecedented seven titles and broken other records.

“You have to simply acknowledge that probably it’s in every driver’s head to drive at Ferrari one day,” Wolff told reporters before yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix, which Hamilton won to return to the top of the world championship standings.

Hamilton also took an extra point for the fastest lap of the race while teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second to ensure a fifth consecutive one-two finish for Mercedes.

Max Verstappen finished third for Honda-powered Red Bull, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Wolff added that Ferrari is the “most iconic, historic Formula One brand out there” and he would totally respect it if a driver wants to be with them.

“Even within the team, we have discussed it and, with Lewis, we have discussed it and we have agreed on the topic,”added the Austrian.

OPEN-MINDED

“We had the discussion when we negotiated the last contract and I think that you just have to be open-minded and understand that drivers will explore opportunities that exist and benchmark themselves...

“And if one day ways part, it will be very positive and each of us will try to achieve success with a different set-up. So no drama.”

Wolff said there was no suggestion at present that the Briton wanted to move as long as they provide him “with a car that is capable of achieving his objectives”.

Hamilton has won four of his titles with the German manufacturer after his first, in 2008, with McLaren.

Ferrari last won a drivers’ title in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.

Asked about any Mercedes interest in Ferrari’s four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, Wolff said: “Why not Sebastian? I think you need to consider there are probably six or seven drivers out there that have the skill and the intelligence to deserve to be in a race and championship- winning car.

“Two of them are with us and I hope it goes forever.”

Wolff himself has been talked of as a possible replacement for Formula One chairman Chase Carey post-2020. – REUTERS

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