Lewis Hamilton believes he is unlikely to race alongside Sebastian Vettel in his Formula 1 career but jokes that the pair would dominate Le Mans if they raced in the same car.
While Vettel has a contract in place at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen’s deal runs out at the end of the season and the Finn’s future is annually a topic of speculation. Hamilton himself has yet to sign a new deal with Mercedes and is out of contract at the end of the year, and while he is expected to stay put he insists he would take on any driver in the same car.
“I’m down to race with whoever,” Hamilton said. “I am racing against him in a pretty competitive car, which is always exciting. I think for any driver you always want to go up against the best.
“History shows it can often be difficult when there’s two incredibly strong alphas within a team but it seems to kind of work with him and Kimi. But, if you really look, you can honestly say that Kimi can’t be too happy because there’s certain scenarios that don’t work out for him.
“It’s always difficult but I love racing against the best drivers because it pushes you to the limit. Racing against Fernando [Alonso] and Jenson [Button] and some of the top drivers that I’ve raced with, it’s just been… It brings the good and bad out of you, it pushes you to the limit.
“But I feel like the setup I have right now within the team, Valtteri [Bottas] is driving exceptionally well – he’s pushing me to the limit and I’m still getting that but there’s still a great harmony within the team and there’s respect when one driver does better than the other.
“It’s not always the same when you have different characters so it’s really dependent on the characters that you are with. But I don’t anticipate that we would be driving together in our time unless we do Le Mans together, which we’d probably just murder…”
Hamilton maintains there is no reason to doubt he will stay at Mercedes despite contract talks having been ongoing for a number of months without final resolution.
“There isn’t any sticking points there’s just been no rush. I told you at the beginning there’s no rush to do it and I’ll do it in my own time. There’s no discussion with anyone else, there’s no consideration of anybody else I’m just taking my time. I don’t see the need to rush. I still have a contract in place, I’m enjoying racing, it’s nice to keep you guys guessing what’s happening.
“There’s not really much more to say. It’s a great process that you go through with a contract but I just tell my people there’s no rush. If it’s not ready next week, or the week after, or the week after then there’s no stress. I’m not going to stress out about it.”