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Lewis Hamilton: Could seven-time world champion leave Mercedes for Ferrari? The Sky Sports F1 Podcast discusses

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Sky F1's Simon Lazenby questions whether Lewis Hamilton might think his best chance of winning an eighth world title would be with Ferrari.

Could Lewis Hamilton really leave Mercedes to join Ferrari?

Hamilton's current Mercedes contract expires at the end of the season and Ferrari have reportedly offered him a £40m deal to continue his pursuit of a record eighth world title with the Italian team.

On the latest edition of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, which you can listen to in the player below, Sky Sports F1's Simon Lazenby, Ted Kravitz and Naomi Schiff discussed if Hamilton would swap the Silver Arrows for the famous red car.

Why would Hamilton leave now?

Hamilton is fourth in the drivers' championship after the opening five races of the 2023 season, 63 points behind leader Max Verstappen but 12 points and 22 points ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc respectively. Mercedes are also a place and 18 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' championship.

Lazenby questions why Hamilton would want to join a team that is currently further away from championship contention than he is at the moment.

"Having looked at the first five races of the season, I just think why would he bother moving at the moment?" he said.

"It's not like anybody else, apart from Aston Martin, have made gains. Christian Horner was saying post-race in Miami 'where are the others?'.

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"I understand the lure of Ferrari, but when you look at them for the last 15 years they have been serial underachievers - they've been a team in constant transition. Whereas Mercedes have the pedigree, they made one philosophical mistake and now they're in transition - maybe that transition period will take last year, this year and they know they're already a year behind if these upgrades get them to the point where they're on a track that they can play development war with Red Bull from the start of next season.

"It's almost Hobson's choice for Lewis - why not stay with the team that brought you all that success rather than risk it just to say 'I was a Ferrari driver' for one point of your career when really they have a quick car on a Saturday and they don't on a Sunday."

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Sky F1's Naomi Schiff is excited by the thought of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton potentially moving to Ferrari.

Schiff echoed those thoughts, saying that while the prospect of Hamilton in red overalls is an exciting one she does not think he will be seriously considering a switch to the Italian team.

"I'm quite excited about the prospect of Lewis considering Ferrari. I don't think it will happen but every young driver grows up wanting to be a part of the Ferrari team because it has such an incredible legacy. Just thinking about Lewis in a red suit - he's been at the same team for so long and change is always exciting.

"But why would he do it now? Collectively the two drivers are further back in the championship with Ferrari than they are at Mercedes.

"I think at this point he is probably not considering it at all. He's also been very vocal about he also wants to also leave his legacy with Mercedes much like Niki (Lauda) did so that is also potentially a reason why he might end his Formula 1 days with Mercedes as a driver and there is potentially an opportunity for him to be part of the team not as a driver going forwards as well."

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is optimistic Lewis Hamilton will remain with the team beyond this season

Ferrari making 'low-ball' offer

Kravitz feels the reported £40m contract offer from Ferrari undervalues Hamilton and does not think the 38-year-old would leave Mercedes until he had claimed an eighth title with them.

"Firstly I think the £40m offer is a bit of a low-ball offer for Lewis Hamilton - it's probably £5m less than what he's on at the moment - and is something Mercedes are going to offer as part of not only the remainder of his driving career but also a longer-term association with the Mercedes brand which is valuable to Lewis.

"Number two, I think Ferrari are offering everybody a job for anything at the moment. Everyone is on Ferrari's shopping list because Fred Vasseur says he is going to put together a crack team of amazing people around Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to make them realise this is incredible. They offered Adrian Newey a job with big money! They are after the best and the biggest in Formula 1 at the moment as they seek to rebuild so it shouldn't be a surprise if they offer Lewis Hamilton everything. If it was £80m that John Elkann had said then that would get people's attention.

"I don't think he's likely to go, maybe if he wins the elusive eighth at Mercedes once they get the car right eventually then potentially he might go and see if he can win another one with Ferrari but he may be into his 40s by then."

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Sky F1's Ted Kravitz thinks Lewis Hamilton still believes he can win a record eighth world title in Formula One.

Mercedes' progress with upgrades key to Hamilton's decision?

Mercedes will be bringing their first big upgrades to the W14 at this weekend's Monaco GP which will feature a new bodywork, new floor and new front suspension.

The Silver Arrows have been counting down to this updated package after a difficult start to the season which saw team boss Toto Wolff saying the team had to abandon their 'zero-sidepod' concept after the opening qualifying session of the season in Bahrain.

Lazenby feels Hamilton has been waiting to see what progress Mercedes' new parts bring before committing to an extension with the team.

"I think a lot of Lewis' decision about his future depends on this upgrade set," he said.

"When you look back to what happened last year, the hopes for the W13 coming out of the simulator was that it was going to blow the rest of them away, it was going to blow Red Bull away and it was going to blow Ferrari away.

"The correlation between what happened there and reality, well we all know the story - Red Bull went with the undercut sidepod philosophy which everyone has moved towards whereas Mercedes had this exposed floor and then the porpoising happened, they had to stiffen the floor and couldn't raise the rear ride height enough and it turned into bouncing.

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Monaco Grand Prix

"All of this year's problems have come from the fact that I think they were just tantalised by those figures which said 'we are going to completely and utterly destroy the field, let's stick with it'. We get into this year and all of the limitations that were created by having to try to solve those problems, including keeping Lewis further up front in terms of his seating position so he doesn't feel the rear of his car, they just had to have a reset and a complete rethink of their philosophy.

"If they've got it wrong this time, what happens with the no-blame culture then?"

Schiff added: "I don't think he's considering it but if these upgrades don't live up to what [Mercedes] are hoping that they will and potentially let's talk about next season and they start poorly again then he will be considering in what manner he wants to end his career in Formula 1 - does he want to be struggling for fourth or fifth place or does he want to be back at the front, and then I guess Red Bull."

Would Hamilton transform Ferrari?

Schiff does think though if Hamilton did opt for a change to Ferrari that his experience could help them end a title drought that stretches back to 2007.

"Yes [he could make Ferrari a championship-winning team]. He's a seven-time world champion, he's been in the sport for almost two decades and if you compare that to Charles and Carlos, they're still wet behind the years," she said.

"Maybe someone like Lewis would be more likely to take the reins and maybe put a bit more pressure on from the driver's side."

Kravitz added: "If they do get the right people in the team then they can build themselves into a new group of race winners and championship winners."

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Formula 1 now heads to the streets of Monaco for the sixth Grand Prix of the 2023 season - watch all the action on Sky Sports F1 from May 26-28. Get Sky Sports

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