Lewis Hamilton says loyalty will play a “very key part” in whether he wants to end his Formula 1 career at Ferrari and make the switch from Mercedes.

Hamilton, who has claimed four of his five world championship titles with Mercedes since joining the German manufacturer in 2013, has been regularly linked with a move to Ferrari before the end of his career.

The Briton has repeatedly reiterated his allegiance to Mercedes, which has played a significant role in Hamilton’s career from his junior days as well as his time at McLaren when the Woking squad was powered by Mercedes.

Asked if there is anything that could ever tempt him to drive for Ferrari ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know if it’s about being tempted. I think if it’s about whether it’s part of the game plan.

“I was just asked the question upstairs, how would you feel if you ended your career without being at Ferrari, and honestly, when you’re part of Mercedes, you’re part of a family for a lifetime, provided you stay with them obviously.

“If you look at Stirling Moss, even Fangio is still honoured within the family. You’re part of their history, and they look after you for the rest of your life. That is important to me. Loyalty is a very, very key part.

“But if there’s a point in my life where there’s something I want to change, then that could potentially be an option. I don’t know if that is at the moment."

After its victory at the Belgian Grand Prix last time out, Mercedes has already labelled Ferrari as the overwhelming favourites in Monza, but Hamilton is hoping for a close on-track battle throughout the weekend.

“It’s going to be very, very hard this weekend,” Hamilton explained. “The weather is going to be up and down, so that might make it easier or harder.

“I hope that we have a close race like we did in the last one - not getting close right on the last lap, but during the race I hope we get to have some kind of battle.

“But sometimes you come into the weekend and the team predict that we’re going to be ahead, and then we end up behind.

“Some weekends we predict we’re going to be behind and we end up ahead. So I really don’t quite know until I get out there and we start to see the times coming up.”

“Some races, I’ve been in the past able to do more with the car than it has particularly wanted to do,” he added. “That’s what I enjoy.

“I arrive at these tracks and I’ve got this experience where we’re not the quickest like the last race, and I was able to make a subtle difference to the race forwards.

“I just approach it the same, trying to outdrive the car, even when there are scenarios like the last race where we weren’t particularly as quick as the Ferraris, but we could outdrive a little bit and put it in close range with the car that is fastest.”