Grand prix

Charles Leclerc blasts “voices from the outside” linking him with Lewis Hamilton swap | F1

Both drivers have endured a dreadful start to 2023 – Leclerc will begin the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from 12th after an engine penalty, Hamilton from a lowly seventh.

Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of this year, while Leclerc’s Ferrari deal runs until the end of 2024.

Asked if he and Hamilton might swap seats, Leclerc told Sky: “It’s the first time I’ve heard all these voices from the outside since I’ve been at Ferrari. 

“Maybe someone wants to destabilise us. 

“But I wear red and I want to win again with this team.”

Leclerc’s title challenge was relatively short-lived last season and ended amid reliability issues, which reared their ugly head in the 2023 season-opener in Bahrain causing him to retire.

Ferrari have already changed his power unit meaning he came to Jeddah knowing that he would face a 10-place grid penalty, which will start him from 12th after his qualified second-fastest.

“I want to recover with overtaking and merit,” Leclerc said.

“Not because of the Safety Car or other things.

“It’s not the start of the season we expected, but we’ve already figured out some things and we’re already reacting.”

Leclerc has also been forced to deny this weekend that, after his retirement in Bahrain, he demanded a meeting at Maranello with Ferrari president John Elkann.

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