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Coulthard has his doubts that Hamilton will leave Mercedes

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‘I’ve never felt that Lewis was ever going to go anywhere else (than Mercedes).’

Former Formula One racer David Coulthard expects Lewis Hamilton to resist the allure of Ferrari and stay with F1 champions Mercedes for some years to come.

Ferrari bosses confirmed last month that Britain’s six-time world champion, whose Mercedes contract expires at the end of 2020, had met their chairman John Elkann at a couple of social events.

They said they were flattered by the Briton’s interest in a possible move.

Coulthard, who finished overall runner-up to Ferrari’s seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in 2001 while with McLaren, doubted a move would really happen.

“I’ve never felt that Lewis was ever going to go anywhere else (than Mercedes),” the Scot, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and also a commentator for Channel Four television, said.

“I’m sure he is talking to Ferrari but he’s only ever been with Mercedes. Why go and break that,” Coulthard said at the Autosport International Show where he was promoting the all-female W Series ahead of its second season.

“Some people want that European twist to their life, but I think Lewis is quite happy in English-speaking territory. Britain and America. America for his play time, Britain for his racing.

“I don’t think he needs the huggy, cuddly, emotional ride that would come with Ferrari. And I don’t believe that Ferrari badge is etched on the inside of his mind since he was a wee kid. So why do it? Money? He’s got plenty of that.”

Hamilton, who won his first title with McLaren in 2008 and joined the Mercedes team in 2013, has always driven F1 cars powered by the German manufacturer’s engines.

The 35-year-old is on course to break Schumacher’s record 91 career wins this year, when he can also equal the German’s title tally.

Coulthard said he felt up until the US Grand Prix in Austin last November, when Hamilton won his sixth title, that the Briton could walk away at any point but that had changed.

“I have a much stronger feeling that he’s in it for another few years. So it does set us up for what could be an absolutely golden era of Formula One,” he said.

Reuters