Lewis Hamilton is Formula 1’s most successful driver with the most victories, pole positions and podiums.

He is currently level with Michael Schumacher on seven titles apiece, and with Mercedes’ difficult start to the 2022 season, eclipsing the German has got off to a bad start. 

Hamilton’s current contract runs out at the end of 2023 leading to potential retirement questions or whether he'd consider moving teams should the Mercedes fail to rediscover its form from recent years.

Even at 37, there's no sign that Hamilton is slowing down and he remains in top form, evidenced by his performances against Max Verstappen at the end of last year.

While he currently sits behind new Mercedes teammate George Russell in the drivers’ championship, Hamilton remains one of F1’s best drivers and every team would be keen to sign him, not only from a racing standpoint but also commercially, given Hamilton's worldwide status.

Realistically, Hamilton will see out his career with the team that has aided him to unprecedented success, but a switch to F1’s greatest-ever team could move him clear in the GOAT conversation.

Lewis Hamilton: Driving for Ferrari in F1 ‘A dream for anyone’

Many F1 drivers, including Hamilton, have described driving for Ferrari as 'a dream'.

The iconic Italian team is F1's most successful with 15 drivers' and 16 constructors' championships to its name.

Besides its success in the sport, Ferrari is the only team to have participated in every season since F1's inception in 1950.

Ferrari's prestige and heritage make it a big pull for any driver.

“For many years, when I came to Monza, walking next to the fans... I could hear them saying 'Come to Ferrari!',” Hamilton previously told Sky Italia.

“This warmed my heart, but it's pretty amazing that I've never driven for Ferrari in so many years. Because it is a dream for anyone, a goal to be achieved.”

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 ahead of last year’s Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton admitted that a move to Ferrari - so far at least - has ‘never really been on the cards’.

"Of course I look at the colour and the red, it's just... it's still the red,” he added. "I have a couple of Ferraris at home, so I do get to drive a Ferrari, just not the one!

"For everyone that's a dream position to be in. It was just never really fully on the cards for me. I'll never know fully exactly why, but I wish them all the best and I'm going to spend the next bit of my time stopping them from winning the championship!”

Hamilton has often been a foe of Ferrari, going up against Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in 2007 and 2008, while he stopped Sebastian Vettel from winning the 2017 and 2018 titles.

Could he stop Charles Leclerc in 2022?

Mercedes’ F1 struggles 

Hamilton has endured his worst start to a season since 2009 with Mercedes struggling for performance relative to Ferrari and Red Bull. 

Its no sidepod concept appears to have exacerbated the porpoising issue that has plagued Mercedes’ outright performance, forcing the eight-time champions to run a compromised setup and thus lose outright performance. 

Mercedes will no doubt turn it around but it might be too late for Hamilton to mount a serious title charge given Ferrari and Leclerc’s form in the early part of this season.

Two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen has made a bold suggestion that Mercedes’ underwhelming form may lead to Hamilton ‘sulking’.

“For Lewis, this is a disaster,’ Hakkinen said, as quoted by the Metro. “And with George being ahead, it’s even worse. I wonder how Lewis behaves in the team meetings – I bet he’s sulking. I can imagine the sulking. There’s lots of complaining and whining.

“And now starts the natural thought process of drivers. ‘Should I go somewhere else?’ It’s a fact. He’s been at Mercedes for years and won multiple championships. Now that things are not going well, he’ll start thinking of switching teams.”

Does Ferrari even need Lewis Hamilton?

While there’s no doubting Hamilton’s quality and experience, Ferrari already has its own star in Charles Leclerc.

The lightning-quick Monegasque has dominated the early part of the 2022 campaign, winning in Bahrain and Australia, giving him a commanding lead in the championship standings heading into this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Ferrari believes in Leclerc and that was very apparent when it handed Leclerc a five-year contract extension at the end of his first season with the team.

A clear sign of intent from Ferrari, particularly when it dropped Sebastian Vettel ahead of the following season, putting the team’s focus on Leclerc.

Leclerc is best placed to give Ferrari its first title since 2007.

Should he be successful then Ferrari simply has no need to sign a driver of Hamilton’s calibre. 

If Ferrari’s title drought goes on, Hamilton could write his name in Ferrari’s folklore with a triumph of his own.

Will it happen?

Historically, Ferrari has often put its eggs in one driver’s basket, think Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa or Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Ferrari tends to have a clear team leader, and right now, Leclerc is that man.

A potential move for Hamilton to Ferrari is an unlikely scenario but one which would capture the sporting world’s attention.

Unrealistic? Perhaps. But could you have imagined Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona or Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United in football? 

Anything can happen in sport but Hamilton ending his F1 career with Mercedes is the likeliest scenario.