British F1 icon sends message to Lewis Hamilton amid Ferrari links

British F1 icon Johnny Herbert has suggested that Sir Lewis Hamilton should consider leaving Mercedes for Ferrari.

Hamilton’s future has been the subject of much speculation since before the start of the season, with his contract at Mercedes expiring at the end of the year.

Though the seven-time world champion has repeatedly said he plans to continue with the Silver Arrows, a new deal seems to be making slow progress, while rumours claiming that Ferrari star Charles Leclerc could take his seat are growing.

Several F1 pundits have already tipped Hamilton and Leclerc to swap teams for next season and Herbert has now joined them, telling Ice 36: ‘Lewis hasn’t signed his extension and that enables him, if he is still motivated, to look elsewhere. And why wouldn’t he?’

‘Ferrari has to be the option. He is not going to go to Red Bull, that isn’t going to happen. He is not going to go to Aston Martin either.

‘I know Ferrari have not quite been able to achieve what we all expect Ferrari to achieve, but they certainly have the potential to be able to do it. That’s for sure. They have got closer over the past couple of years but it hasn’t quite worked out.

‘Maybe he wants to hold on to see which direction Mercedes has gone and what they do, which is not very positive, and then maybe put the feelers out for somewhere else. The red car makes the most sense. If it happened, then the one who would suffer would be Carlos Sainz as Charles Leclerc is already concreted in.

‘Hamilton and Sainz at Ferrari would be a wonderful pairing, to be honest. The young and the experienced, fighting it out in a Ferrari that hopefully, with the whole ability that Lewis has, to draw in the right people to be able to produce a car and take it to Red Bull as it is at the moment.’

With Red Bull way out in front and Mercedes battling Ferrari and Aston Martin to be best of the rest, it would seem to be a sideways move for Hamilton to trade the Silver Arrows for the Prancing Horse.

But Herbert rightfully points out that the 38-year-old made what was seen as a backwards step a decade ago by leaving McLaren for Mercedes before going on to dominate the sport for the seven years.

‘As a racing driver I don’t see why he would not have the motivation, especially for that 8th title. He is still good enough. I know what it means for him,’ the three-time grand prix winner and former Sky Sports pundit added.

‘George Russell is doing a cracking job but Lewis has still got what it takes to win races. He is not comfortable with the car, but that happens. Every single driver I know has moments when they feel uncomfortable with their car and complain. 

‘It is unfair to criticise Lewis for that. The motivation for the 8th is still there. But it has to have the right ingredients – like he did when he went from McLaren to Mercedes when a number of people, including myself, thought he was mad to do it. Mercedes at that point were nowhere.

‘What Niki Lauda and Ross Brawn were able to present to him excited him. That’s why he went. Ferrari have got to do a similarly big selling job.’

Hamilton is currently fourth in the standings and will be aiming to move into the top three this weekend at the Miami Grand Prix.

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