Sebastian Vettel is yet to sign a new deal with Ferrari for next season, and Lewis Hamilton doesn’t think he’ll join him at Mercedes
LEWIS HAMILTON has taunted Sebastian Vettel by insisting he couldn’t hack it being his team-mate.
Vettel is out of contract at Ferrari this winter and is remaining coy about his future with the Italian team, who are understood to have a contract offer on the table.
The German says he is not expecting any news about his future “within the next two weeks”, despite it being Ferrari’s home race at the Italian GP next week.
That has stoked paddock rumours that he could join Mercedes as a replacement for Valtteri Bottas, who is also out of contract.
Mercedes would love to have a German driver in their team and the team’s boss Toto Wolff attended Vettel’s 30th birthday party in a further intriguing twist.
However, Hamilton launched a thinly-veiled dig at Vettel but insisting he couldn’t cope alongside him and he would not enjoy the same No.1 status as he does at Ferrari.
He said: “I think it is highly unlikely that he will be here, and I don’t think he wants to be my team-mate!
“Without stating the obvious, I know he doesn’t want to be my team-mate. He would not be in the position he is now in his team in terms of how the team operate if he was here.
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“I am always game to race whoever it is and racing against the best drivers is always a great thing.”
Vettel enjoys being Ferrari’s golden boy at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen, who himself has been rewarded with a new one-year deal for playing a subservient role.
And Hamilton has set his sights on beating his rival to the title in the remaining nine races this season.
He added: “I want to be ahead of him in every single race from now on. That is my goal. No games, I am here to win. I want it just as much if not more as everyone else this year.
“Ferrari have been the most consistent this year, that’s why they are leading, we need to turn that around, we need to be consistent in finishing and in finishing ahead of them.
“That’s the goal now and that’s what we are putting every bit of energy towards.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton has urged Mercedes’ chiefs to stick with Bottas, rather than consider a move for former Red Bull driver Vettel.
He said “Coming into this season I haven’t changed a single thing that I do, but there is another new element in the team and it works.
“I don’t believe any of the bosses or any of the individuals within the team is unhappy with what is currently in place, so I find it hard to believe they will change that.”