Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton told F1 Magazine that he’d be open to a better ride if the possibility and circumstances allowed. Asked by readers if he’d be willing to be teammates with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the world champ said he’d take on any driver, at any team at any time. I don’t doubt that for a second. Hamilton is a fierce competitor and I have never gotten the sens that he’s easily intimidated by another driver. His first year at McLaren with Fernando Alonso taught us that.
As for an opportunity at another team? Ferrari has an appeal and it’s not uncommon as Vettel has said much the same thing. Hamilton said:
“At the moment I can’t see myself anywhere else because I’m really happy where I am,” the Briton insisted.
“But what I can say is that throughout my racing career and through karting and everything Ferrari have always been one of the top teams and it’s always a desire for any driver to drive for them.
“So anyone who gets that chance, no matter where you are or what car you drive, you look at a Ferrari and think: “That’s pretty cool.’ But like I said, at the moment I’m really happy where I am and I hope Mercedes keep me for even longer.”
The caveat is always, “I’m happy where I am” but every driver knows that things change in Formula One. Contracts change and on the heels of his screed about wasting away and not winning titles, one wonders if he isn’t even more receptive to an exit from Mercedes than he’s willing to admit.
Ferrari have decisions to make of their own. Fernando Alonso has stated that he sees himself retiring when his time at Ferrari is over and this leaves a gap for a top tier driver but many have placed Vettel there already. The German has just extended his contract with Red Bull until 2015 so that’s not going to happen any time soon. Would Alonso be willing to leave after the 2015 season? If so, would Vettel make the best choice or could Hamilton be a factor?