Le­clerc: I’d love Lewis to join me at Fer­rari

Scottish Daily Mail - - Racemail - By JONATHAN McEVOY

CHARLES LE­CLERC says he would wel­come Lewis Hamil­ton, Bri­tain’s six-time world cham­pion, as a team-mate at Fer­rari. Talk of Hamil­ton’s fu­ture dom­i­nated the fi­nal round of the For­mula One sea­son in Abu Dhabi as Fer­rari ad­mit­ted they were open to the idea of sign­ing the sport’s big­gest star. Hamil­ton’s £40mil­lion-a-year Mercedes con­tract ex­pires next sea­son, and he re­fused to dampen the sug­ges­tion that he will one day drive in the famed red car. Le­clerc, 22, in his first sea­son with the Scud­e­ria, has outscored and out­per­formed team-mate Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and he is likely to stay there for the long term, with or with­out Hamil­ton. ‘Of course, I would wel­come Lewis,’ said Le­clerc, who fin­ished third in Sun­day’s race in the desert, which was won com­mand­ingly by Hamil­ton. ‘We are in For­mula One and we want to fight against the best. ‘I’ve had a big op­por­tu­nity to have Seb next to me. He is a four-time world cham­pion and I have learnt a lot from him. You can al­ways learn from these types of cham­pi­ons.’ Hamil­ton, 35 next month, is weigh­ing up his op­tions ahead of what is likely to be the last con­tract of his ca­reer. Pre­lim­i­nary talks with Mercedes have started and one fac­tor un­der con­sid­er­a­tion is whether Mercedes them­selves will stay in the sport be­yond 2020. The chances are that they will, but they haven’t yet signed up to the new Con­corde Agree­ment. An­other fac­tor in Hamil­ton’s thoughts is the fu­ture of Mercedes team prin­ci­pal Toto Wolff, who is be­lieved to want to run the whole sport. ‘There are so many fac­tors you need to con­sider in your ca­reer,’ said Wolff, 47. ‘What makes you happy and what gets you out of bed on the dif­fi­cult days. ‘Still, af­ter eight years, this job is what gives me that strength and at the mo­ment I can­not imag­ine a bet­ter place to be.’

GETTY IM­AGES

Ital­ian job: Le­clerc (right) could soon be Hamil­ton’s team-mate

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