Hamilton plays down Ricciardo-to-Mercedes rumours

Lewis Hamilton has batted away speculation that Mercedes is planning ahead for the seven time world champion’s retirement.

Rumours at Monza are strongly linking McLaren refugee Daniel Ricciardo, who seems unable to secure a race seat for 2023, with the reserve role at Mercedes for 2023.

“No comment,” the Australian grinned ahead of the Italian GP. “Just kidding!

“The truth is I’m keeping every option open, not only for next year but for the future. So yeah, there’s obviously many talks or thoughts about next year and beyond that.”

When asked about Ricciardo’s reserve driver link, Hamilton said the 33-year-old is “far too talented” to have to effectively sit out next season.

“But of course, if he’s a part of our team that would be great,” he added.

Where Hamilton did draw the line, however, was when faced with rumours that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff could see Ricciardo as the perfect teammate for George Russell in 2024.

“For years we’ve been going around, up and down with stories of retirement for me, but I love what I’m doing and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” Hamilton, 37, said.

“Sorry buddy!” he told Ricciardo. “I feel like I can race for quite a bit longer.”

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