Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton could be tempted by a move to Ferrari before the end of his Formula 1 career, despite the reigning world champion being on the verge of signing a new deal with Mercedes. 

Hamilton and Mercedes are currently negotiating a contract extension, which the Briton hopes to have agreed in time for this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix. 

With his current deal set to expire at the end of 2018, Hamilton is understood to be close to penning a new two-year extension, having claimed three of the last five drivers’ world titles with the reigning F1 world champions since switching from McLaren at the end of 2012. 

But Mercedes boss Wolff admits that while he hopes Hamilton will choose to end his career with the Silver Arrows, he would not be surprised if a move to Maranello appealed to Hamilton before retirement. 

“Lewis is the best driver of the modern generation,” Wolff is quoted as saying by The Daily Mail. “So of course, I'd like to keep him with us for as long as possible.

“But I think he has at least one more contract in him after this next one and Ferrari remains an attraction for every driver.”

“He is happy,” Wolff added. “Our relationship has gone from strength to strength. But of course, during a season things can become tenser.”

Hamilton heads into the upcoming campaign looking to seal his fifth drivers’ title, a feat which would see him move level with Juan Manuel Fangio in second place on the all-time list of world champions, behind only seven-time winner Michael Schumacher

Mercedes is looking to equal Ferrari’s F1 record of five consecutive world championships, won between 2000-2004 with Schumacher. After a strong pre-season test - in which Mercedes once again racked up the most mileage of any team - Wolff is in a confident mood heading into the new season.

“Even though I'm afraid to say it because I'm superstitious, I feel better now than last season. We had a solid testing. Last year our car was a bit unpredictable but this year she did what we expected.

“She appears to be less of a diva. We wanted to keep the character traits of the beautiful lady but not have her as capricious.

“It seems almost surreal to think what we've achieved in the last four years. But every year is like climbing Mount Everest and at the start of the season I feel myself in base camp.”

 

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