Charles Leclerc has admitted he would welcome Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari with open arms amid speculation regarding a switch for the current Mercedes driver.
Hamilton’s Formula 1 contract with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the 2020 season, with the Brit having won five drivers’ titles in the last six years with the Brackley-based outfit.
Reports emerged over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend claiming that Hamilton had met Ferrari president John Elkann, leading to suggestions that the 34-year-old is contemplating a switch to Maranello for 2021.
When asked if he would welcome Hamilton as a teammate at Ferrari, Leclerc replied per Eurosport: “Well of course!
“At the end of the day, we are in Formula 1, and we want to fight against the best.
“I’ve had a big opportunity this year to have Seb [Vettel] next to me who is a four-time world champion and I’ve learned a lot from him.
“You can always learn from this type of champion, so yeah, of course.”
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is quietly confident of retaining Hamilton’s services beyond 2020, but conceded that anything could happen.
“When Lewis left McLaren for Mercedes everyone said he was making a mistake,” Wolff said.
“But he proved them wrong. So I won’t make the mistake of underestimating Ferrari’s potential.”
The 47-year-old Austrian is seen as a candidate to take over the running of F1 and Hamilton admitted the decision Wolff makes may influence his own.
“I know Toto is also looking at his options and only he will know what is the best thing for him and his family,” Hamilton said.
“So, I’m waiting to see what he’s doing with that.”
Ferrari incumbent Sebastian Vettel was also asked about the idea of Hamilton joining Scuderia, to which he replied with a wry joke.
“I think he is already a Ferrari driver, no? No change,” Vettel said, referring to Hamilton’s Ferrari road cars.
Hamilton currently earns £40 million per season and Ferrari must be willing to break the bank to lure the six-time world champion to Maranello.News Now - Sport News