Hamilton: Verstappen, Alonso want to replace me at Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton hinted that Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso has pounced on recent reports of the world champion joining Ferrari by trying to convince Mercedes boss Toto Wolff that they should replace him.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and driver Charles Leclerc have both talked up Hamilton joining the Maranello outfit recently, while the 34-year-old has not denied reports that he met the Scuderia’s president John Elkann twice this year to discuss a sensational 2021 switch.

Hamilton was officially crowned Formula 1 world champion for the sixth time at the FIA’s prize-giving gala on Friday.

The Briton addressed media after Verstappen and Alonso had spoken on stage to mark the Dutchman’s third-place in the F1 drivers’ championship and Alonso’s World Endurance Championship title, dropping in a strong suggestion that one of them had started to make their own plans for 2021.

Hamilton said: “It’s an interesting time because there are lot of drivers who are seeking positions everywhere. The amount of calls that Toto gets from every driver – including the one that was up here just recently – asking to come, everyone’s trying to leave their team to come to where we are.

“It is an understandable thing because everybody wants to win and everybody wants to be a part of a winning formula.

“I don’t think it’s a stressful thing at the moment, there’s always been a clear pathway of communication between myself and Toto, there’s never been any secrets so that won’t change.”

Like Hamilton’s Mercedes deal, Verstappen’s contract with Red Bull expires at the end of the 2020 season as does Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel‘s, while Alonso has made regular noises about returning to F1 under the new regulations in 2021, having quit McLaren at the end of 2018.