Charles Leclerc responds to speculation linking him to Mercedes; Ferrari driver on rumoured talks: “No, not yet. Not for the moment”; Lewis Hamilton insists speculation does not impact his contract extension talks; Watch the Azerbaijan GP live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend
By Jonathan Green and Sam Johnston in Baku
Last Updated: 27/04/23 1:27pm
Charles Leclerc has denied reports in Italy claiming he has held talks with Mercedes about replacing Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton’s current contract with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the season and the 38-year-old is yet to agree an extension, despite he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff suggesting over the winter it would be somewhat of a formality.
A report in Italy claimed it was “an open secret” that Leclerc was speaking to Mercedes following Ferrari’s difficult start to the 2023 season which has included two DNFs for the Monegasque driver.
But Leclerc, who is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2024, insists no talks with Mercedes have taken place.
“No, not yet. Not for the moment,” Leclerc told the media in Baku.
“For now, I am fully focused on the project I am in today, which is Ferrari and I fully trust and am confident for the future. Then we will see, but I am fully confident for the project of Ferrari.
“I’m fully committed to Ferrari and I love Ferrari.
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“It has always been a dream for me to be in this team and my main priority is to win a world championship with this team. So it’s not something in my mind.”
Asked directly if he had had a call from Wolff, Leclerc said: “No. Zero. Zero. Really zero. You all smile because you don’t believe me, but I promise.”
Hamilton was later asked if the Leclerc speculation had any impact on getting his new deal at Mercedes over the line.
The seven-time world champion responded: “No, not really, I think maybe some of the drivers all have different relationships with different bosses and stuff.
“I like where I am, I love my team, and I’m grateful for the journey we’ve been on and what we’re working on moving forwards.
“So, it doesn’t have any impact, no.”
More to follow…
Source : https://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12040/12867561/charles-leclerc-denies-holding-talks-with-mercedes-as-lewis-hamilton-says-speculation-doesnt-impact-contract-talks?rand=3094