Lewis Hamilton has said that he has given up on his “dream” of driving for Ferrari for the duration of Sebastian Vettel’s new contract with the team.
Hamilton has called himself a “big fan of Ferrari” but confirmation of Vettel’s new three-year deal means that Hamilton is highly unlikely to be able to make the switch until 2021 at the earliest.
Speaking to Sky Italy at last weekend’s grand prix Hamilton said, “It’s definitely a dream for every driver, including me. Whether or not l will ever be there…I guess definitely not in the next four years or whatever it is, three years.”
He said that Vettel wouldn’t want him as a teammate as he “wouldn’t be in the position he is now in his team, in terms of how the team operates”. He added that the team is very loyal to their drivers and that the only opportunity drivers are likely to have to take a spot will be when Kimi Raikkonen retires.
Raikkonen’s deal lasts until the end of next year so there may be a vacancy at Ferrari in around 18 months’ time. Daniel Ricciardo is a possible replacement as he will become a free agent at the end of next season.
However, Ricciardo has said that it is too early to think about, “When I do get asked the Ferrari questions, I feel it’s more coming from fans and the media but not necessarily from Ferrari”.
He went on to say “that nothing will probably happen anyway until 2019, it feels too far away to start thinking. We will see.”
At the same time Mercedes has done its best to avoid speculation about a new deal with Hamilton. Team boss Toto Wolff said, “this is not a topic we want to be taking on now. It’s an intense last third of the season. We will get that over the line and then have that discussion.”