Mercedes in no rush to consider Hamilton alternatives amid Ferrari rumours

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff won't consider any alternative options to Lewis Hamilton before he has made his decision regarding 2021.

Over the weekend in Abu Dhabi, speculation started to fly linking the six-time world champion to Ferrari following reports he made contact twice with chairman John Elkann, which Lewis all-but-confirmed.

Previously, Wolff has stated he does have several drivers on a list that he would consider viable replacements for the Briton, but any thought of looking at a post-Hamilton future at Mercedes is still premature.

“I think that the values within the team are that loyalty and integrity are absolutely number one on the list,” the Austrian said at Yas Marina.

“Understanding Lewis’ position and objectives will be key for any decision that we take, so we will not embark on a fishing mission with potential drivers out there before Lewis and us have had this discussion.

“That hasn’t taken place because we wanted to wrap up the season, and then we’ll see how that goes, and because we’re having a consensual relationship, we need both sides to be happy.”

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One man most commonly linked to Mercedes is Max Verstappen, although in recent weeks signs have pointed more towards Red Bull retaining the Dutchman.

This week, George Russell has also been back behind the wheel of a Silver Arrow with the Briton considered the long-term future of the team in F1.

One thing that Wolff was keen to stress though, that any decision for 2021 will be done in the team's own time.

“I don’t think it is particularly damaging not to come to conclusions quickly,” he said. “I know that we want to have the strongest possible line-up in 2021 and there’s a full year to go.

“I think the silly season is going to start soon and conversations are going to begin and whether we know our driver line-up in April, July or October is not important.”