Leclerc’s diplomatic answer to whether he’d welcome Hamilton as Ferrari teammate
Earlier this week, there were reports that Ferrari had approached Hamilton with a £40m offer to make a sensational switch from Mercedes and drive for the Italian team instead.
The subject was a hot topic on the eve of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, particularly with Leclerc and Hamilton finding themselves alongside each other in Thursday’s press conference.
Asked what he looks for in a teammate amid speculation Hamilton could join him at Ferrari, Leclerc chuckled before looking to his right at the seven-time world champion and saying: “Hello Lewis!”
Leclerc continued: “A fast teammate. We are in Formula 1 and we love to be fighting against the best. But that’s not to say that my teammate is not fast. Carlos [Sainz, Leclerc’s current teammate] is an extremely fast driver.
“But considering that, I’m not the person who makes the choices. So let’s see.”
Pressed on whether he would welcome Hamilton as his teammate at Ferrari, Leclerc replied: “If I say yes I imagine it being the title of every newspaper!
“Lewis is such an incredible driver and has achieved so much in the sport. I think anyone on the grid would love to have Lewis as their teammate as everyone would learn a lot from him.
“But again, I’m happy where I am and with Carlos it’s a great relationship too.”
However, the rumours were quickly rubbished by Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur, who denied his team had offered Hamilton a contract.
Hamilton, meanwhile, said he has not been in contact with Ferrari and revealed he is close to agreeing a new contract to keep him at Mercedes beyond the end of the current season.
Leclerc yet to hold renewal talks with Ferrari
Reports also emerged this week in Italy claiming that talks between Leclerc and Ferrari over a contract renewal were underway.
But Leclerc, whose current Ferrari deal runs until the end of 2024, stressed the reports were wide of the mark.
“No talks have been started on my renewal for now,” he said.
“I speak with John regularly about the season and the vision for the future, but not yet about my contract situation.
“There is still a year and a half before the end of my contract so still a lot of time.”