Lewis Hamilton says Sebastian Vettel doesn't want to be his Formula 1 team-mate
"I know Seb doesn't want to be my team-mate," says Hamilton of his title rival; F1 back in action at this weekend's Belgian GP
By Jonathan Green at Spa
Last Updated: 28/08/17 11:08am
Lewis Hamilton says world championship title rival Sebastian Vettel doesn't want to be his team-mate in Formula 1.
Vettel has yet to sign an extension on his Ferrari contract, which expires at the end of the season, while Mercedes are yet to confirm that Valtteri Bottas will remain Hamilton's team-mate next year.
But Hamilton does not see himself and Vettel being in the same team in the future.
"I think it's highly unlikely that [Seb] will be here," said Hamilton. "I don't think he wants to be my team-mate."
Hamilton has repeatedly stressed in the past that he would never seek preferential status over a team-mate and, without specifically referencing Kimi Raikkonen's dutiful reluctance to challenge Vettel in last month's Hungarian GP before the summer break, made a point of stressing the equality of his union with Valtteri Bottas.
"I'm always game to race whoever it is," he said. "The team is in a very, very good union. The last race shows just how good the team is.
"It works [with Valtteri] so I don't think any of the bosses or any individual in the team is unhappy with what is currently in place so I find it hard to believe they would change that.
"I know Seb doesn't want to be my team-mate. He wouldn't be in the position he is now in his team, in terms of how the team operates, if he was here."
Ferrari confirmed ahead of this weekend's Belgian GP that Raikkonen had been retained for 2018 but their announcement made no mention of Vettel.
Hamilton ready for second-half charge
Hamilton, who is yet to lead this season's Drivers' Championship at any stage so far, says he is out for 'blood' in the second half of the season as he looks to claim his fourth World Championship.
The Briton trails Sebastian Vettel by 14 points ahead of the Belgian GP but Spa represents an opportunity to close the gap with the circuit appearing to play to Mercedes' strengths.
"The one thing for sure for the second half of the season, the most prominent [thought] for me is 'I'm here for blood'," Hamilton, who is set to make his 200th Grand Prix start on Sunday, said.
"I'm here to win. I'm here to stay. My commitment to the team - you would think after 200 races that your passion or desire to win might fade but it's stronger than ever. That's exciting."
Asked by Sky F1's David Croft if he feared unreliability could hamper his title bid, Hamilton said: "I don't.
"I can't control what's going to happen. I do know we are the best equipped as we've ever been to deal with a scenario like that. Mentally I'm ready for whatever comes and the team have shown, particularly in the last race, just how unified we are."
He added: "Ferrari have been the most consistent this year and it's why they lead. We need to turn that around and make sure that we are not just consistently finishing but are consistently finishing ahead of them and out-performing them.
"That's really the goal now, throwing every bit of energy towards it. On my side, in the first 10 races there were probably a couple of races where performance could have been better and I want these next nine races to be 10s."