Charles Leclerc has added further intrigue to Lewis Hamilton’s future by revealing he would welcome Britain’s six-time world champion to join him at Ferrari.
Hamilton’s next move was the subject of intense speculation at the final round of the campaign in Abu Dhabi after Ferrari admitted for the first time that they want to sign the Englishman.
Hamilton, whose STG 40 million ($A76 million)-a-season Mercedes contract expires at the end of next year, did little to play down Ferrari’s flirtatious advances by refusing to rule out a move to the famous Italian team.
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Leclerc, 22, enjoyed a strong first season with Ferrari, scoring more points, more wins and more pole positions than his teammate, the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
And if Ferrari continue their pursuit of Hamilton, 35 next month, it will surely be as a direct replacement for the German, rather than Leclerc who is viewed as the team’s man for the future.
“Of course I would welcome Lewis,” said Leclerc, who finished third at Sunday’s season-concluding race in the desert.
“We are in Formula One and we want to fight against the best.
“I have had a big opportunity to have had Seb next to me who is a four-time world champion and I have learnt a lot from him so you can always learn from these types of champions.”
Hamilton will have time to ponder what could be the last contract of his Formula One career over the winter break with Toto Wolff revealing Mercedes’ attempts to convince him to stay will not begin until the end of January.
Wolff’s own future will be a factor in Hamilton’s decision-making process with the Mercedes team principal, who has overseen five of Hamilton’s six world championships, courted by owners’ Liberty Media to run the sport.