Lewis Hamilton gives up on Ferrari 'dream' after Sebastian Vettel contract extension
But Mercedes rule out contract renewal talks with Hamilton this season; Ricciardo distances himself from Ferrari rumours
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 29/08/17 6:05pm
Lewis Hamilton has given up on the 'dream' of driving for Ferrari - at least for the duration of Sebastian Vettel's new contract with the Scuderia.
The Mercedes driver has previously described himself as a "big fan of Ferrari" but confirmation of Vettel's new three-year deal has all-but shut the door on Hamilton at Maranello until 2021 at the earliest.
"It's definitely a dream for every driver, including me," Hamilton told Sky Italy at Spa. "Whether or not l will ever be there…I guess definitely not in the next four years or whatever it is - three years."
Hamilton had previewed confirmation of Vettel's extension, only signed on the Friday night of the Belgian GP, by ruling out any prospect of the pair driving together at Mercedes.
"I know Seb doesn't want to be my team-mate," Hamilton said. "He wouldn't be in the position he is now in his team, in terms of how the team operates, if he was here."
Sky Sports has been told that while Vettel's previous contract included a clause which enabled him to veto the team re-signing Fernando Alonso, his new deal carries no such stipulations.
"They're very loyal to the drivers they have," added Hamilton.
"For all us other drivers, and particularly those that aren't in a Mercedes or a Ferrari, there's one opportunity that might come up in the future because Kimi [Raikkonen] is not going to keep going on forever. So I'm sure they'll be working hard to try and get that spot."
Raikkonen's latest deal only covers 2018, meaning a vacancy could emerge at Ferrari in 18 months' time. While Red Bull are adamant Max Verstappen is under binding contract for both 2018 and 2019, Daniel Ricciardo will become a free agent at the end of next season.
But the Australian, who beat Vettel during their single year together at Red Bull in 2014, says it's too early to consider a future career in red.
"When I do get asked the Ferrari questions, I feel it's more coming from fans and the media but not necessarily from Ferrari," Ricciardo said.
"I think maybe some people want to see it, but the people that matter I'm not sure if they do. If I'm really honest, knowing that nothing will probably happen anyway until 2019, it feels too far away to start thinking. We will see."
Mercedes, meanwhile, have quelled speculation they have opened talks with Hamilton about a new deal from 2019 in the wake of Vettel's extension.
"Our relationship is very good and each of us appreciates what he has in the other one," said team boss Toto Wolff. "But this is not a topic we want to be taking on now. It's an intense last third of the season. We will get that over the line and then have that discussion."
Sky F1's transfer market analysis
"What is certain is that the music has stopped quite early and Sebastian Vettel has sat down first. That now takes away a negotiating position for Lewis and others" - Martin Brundle.
"The big thing for me that stands out is that Lewis would fear Max coming into the team and Sebastian would fear Max coming into the team but Max wouldn't fear about going up against any of them. He just wants to get into a car that is quick enough."
"Max wants wins on merit. Can Red Bull give him that? I'm not sure they can at the moment. He is getting itchy already" - Paul di Resta.
Watch the Italian GP LIVE ONLY on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Sunday's race at F1's fastest track starts at 1pm. Want to watch but not a subscriber? Get a NOW TV day pass for £6.99!