Mercedes star George Russell admits he "doesn't care" whether Lewis Hamilton stays or leaves at the end of the season.
The seven-time world champion will see his contract expire at the end of 2023 and so far there is no sign of an extension. Hamilton has been at Mercedes since 2013, winning all but one of his titles with the Silver Arrows, but doubts are swirling around his future.
Russell became Hamilton's team-mate last season, winning the team's only race at Brazil. The Brit has long been tipped as a star of the future and is not bothered who is in the seat alongside him as he believes he has the talent to topple whoever it is.
He said: "I don’t care at all whether Lewis stays or Lewis goes, because I believe I can beat anyone on the grid."
Hamilton, now 38, has remained coy on his future but this week links regarding a move to Ferrari surfaced. The Scuderia are among the most attractive sports outfits to be involved with and are looking to end a wait for a title that dates back to 2007.
Having Hamilton come over to the Italian outfit and claim a record-breaking eighth title - surpassing Michael Schumacher in the process - would be a fairytale storyline for the sport, but Martin Brundle doubts there is any legs to the rumour and admits he knows how it was planted.
He told Sky Sports : “With my Sky F1 cap on and my F1 cap on, I would love to see Lewis in a Ferrari,” he said ahead of practice. “Him going there and trying to win a championship like Michael Schumacher, I think it would be a wonderful story for next year. I even know where the rumour came from, it’s all been a bit mischievous but I can’t tell you that. But it makes no sense for him to step away from Mercedes at this time.”
He added that the presence of Russell means that the loss of Hamilton would be easier to take for Mercedes, given their hopes for the youngster: “Things are a bit different at Mercedes now because they’ve got George [Russell], who is a potential world champion of the future."
Both Russell and Hamilton could be in for a difficult weekend in Monaco this weekend, although the presence of new upgrades provide an extra boost as Mercedes look to close on Red Bull and Ferrari.
He said: "I think you always need to go into a circuit like this with a degree of respect and you need to build up to it. But I trust in the team and I don't think there's going to be anything that's scary with regards to this new update, that totally throws us off-piste.
"I'm glad that we are sort of proceeding with the update this weekend because you always want to put as much performance on the car as possible and it would have been a demoralising weekend for all of us had we known we've got a bit of performance on the table just sitting there in the factory."2023-05-26T21:52:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd