Hamilton claims rivals want to join Mercedes

Hamilton claims rivals want to join Mercedes

Hamilton claims rivals want to join Mercedes

Dutchman Verstappen, victor of three races this year and third overall, is seen as a champion of the future and very much on Mercedes' radar.

Speaking on Friday in Paris before this evening's 2019 FIA prize giving event, Hamilton addressed the whirlwind of conjecture.

Hamilton has suggested that Verstappen may be in a number of drivers to have already sought out Wolff to discuss replacing Hamilton, but the Silver Arrows boss remains focused on keeping his star man in place. "The amount of calls that Toto gets from drivers - including the one that was up here just recently - asking to come, everyone's thing [is] to leave their team to come to where we are".

"I've been with Mercedes since I was 13".

Queried on Friday once again about that prospect, he reiterated his sentiment.

"I love where I am, I love the people that I work with, so it's really hard to walk away from something that you love as much as I do". The team, the organisation, all the way through to the bosses.

"I've been with Mercedes since I was 13 so it's really hard to imagine myself anywhere else".

"The season as a whole was as strong as the last I can remember. I don't think it's a stressful thing at the moment".

"It's not something that has just come overnight, and other teams don't now have the togetherness that we have in place".

"To come into a sixth year, to have fought for a world title at the front and sustained the performance we have collectively I think has been fantastic".

"Would it be the same without Toto? I don't think so", he said. But he's got to do what's right for him. "I'll be best prepared and hope for the best season there's been".

Wolff, who joined Hamilton on the stage in Paris, warned that no quick decisions regarding the future were in the cards.

"This is a process that is going to take a little bit of time, but I don't see any surprises actually as it stands", Wolff said.

"It's good that over the winter these talks happen, but at the same time the two of us talk all the time about it".

"There's been lots of great races, the last few years have been intense with Ferrari, but having another team [Red Bull] up there in the loop has made it more challenging for us all".

He added: "In terms of the silly season, it's normal: You guys [the media] drop us little grenades, sometimes we pick them up and they explode in our hand and it's part of the narrative". There have never been any surprises; when things come out in the press, it was weeks or months that we knew about each other what our thinking was.

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