By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Monte Carlo
Lewis Hamilton denied he has been offered a contract by Ferrari and expects to sign a new Mercedes deal “in the coming weeks”.
Hamilton’s future in the sport is under the spotlight with just six months to run on his current £40million-a-year deal.
It was reported the build-up to this week’s Monaco Grand Prix that Ferrari are preparing a bid to land Hamilton in a blockbuster transfer.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 25, 2023
But when asked on Thursday if the Italian giants had been in touch, Hamilton replied: “No. When you are in contract negotiations there is always going to be speculation, and unless you hear it from me that is all it is.
“My team is working closely behind the scenes with [Mercedes team principal] Toto [Wolff], and we are almost at the end of having a contract ready.
“This is the first time that I have not been negotiating myself. I have a great team in the background that does the work and I focus on the job on hand.
“I say what I want and that is what we are working towards so hopefully in the coming weeks [it will be decided].”
Hamilton, 38, will get his first taste of a major Mercedes upgrade in practice on Friday which the seven-time world champion hopes will haul him up the grid.
Hamilton qualified 13th at the last race in Miami before driving well to finish sixth, but he is already 63 points behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the championship standings.
However, Hamilton insisted Mercedes’ dethroning as kings of the Formula One road will not impact his decision to re-sign with the Brackley side.
“We are still a championship-winning team,” added the British driver. “We have just had the wrong car, and there have been decisions that have been made over the past two years that have not been ideal. We are working our way through that.
The long-awaited upgrades have arrived for Mercedes 🙌
What can we expect to see from the W14 in Monaco? 👀#F1 #F1Unlocked #MonacoGP
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 25, 2023
“We have a new upgrade this weekend. The team have worked incredibly hard to bring this upgrade to this race after we decided that was the direction we wanted to take.
“Although this is not the best track to see it come to fruition, we will hopefully get a better experience of that at the next race.”
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are under contract with Ferrari until the end of next season.
Addressing the speculation surrounding Hamilton, Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur said: “We are not sending an offer to Lewis. We didn’t do it, and we have not had discussions.
“Every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage, and it would be bulls*** to not say something like this.
“But if I have had discussions with Hamilton, it is because I have had discussions with him for the last 20 years.
“I have discussed things almost every single weekend with Hamilton, and I don’t want to have to stop having discussions with him because you are chasing me (about a contract offer).”