Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton denies Ferrari move talk, says new contract with Mercedes is close


Lewis Hamilton has quashed reports of a move to Ferrari, and said he is close to agreeing a new contract with Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion is in the final year of his current commitment, and rumours have swirled as to his future with the team.

The waters were muddied when it was reported that Ferrari had approached him about a move to the team for the 2024 season.

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Hamilton has denied receiving any approach from Ferrari, and that his representatives are close to thrashing out fresh terms with Mercedes.

“Naturally, when you are in contract negotiations there will always be speculation and ultimately unless you hear it from me then that’s what it is,” Hamilton said.

“My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] and we are almost at the end of having the contract ready.”

Asked if there had been any approach from Ferrari, Hamilton’s one-word answer was unequivocal: “No.”

Since winning his seventh title in 2020 and going agonisingly close in 2021, Hamilton and Mercedes have been well off the pace of Red Bull.

Hamilton denied that the poor performance on the track was playing a part in the protracted negotiations.

“No, it doesn’t have a bearing because we are still a championship-winning team,” he said. “It’s just we have the wrong car, there have been some decisions that have been made over the past two years that have not been ideal and we are working our way through that.

“I have got a great team in the background that are doing all the [negotiating] work so I can focus fully on the job at hand. I say what I want and that’s what we are working towards, hopefully in the coming weeks.”

Hamilton will be back in action at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

The 38-year-old is fourth in the drivers’ standings, 63 points adrift of leader Max Verstappen.

Mercedes are set to unveil their car updates in Monaco, and Hamilton is hoping to see improvements in the weeks ahead.

“It will be difficult to see just how it works at this kind of track, but I’m hopeful that it puts us a little bit closer to these guys,” Hamilton said of the changes. “I don’t think we’ll be fighting for a win necessarily, but hopefully we’ll be more in the fight.”

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