Hamilton was 'never really close' to joining Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton says he did not come close to signing a deal with Ferrari despite holding initial talks to understand what might be possible with the Italian team.

Hamilton is expected to continue at Mercedes next under a new contract, but a meeting with Ferrari chairman John Elkann at the end of the 2019 season led to speculation he could join the famous Italian team.

In a recent interview with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport, Hamilton said the two sides sounded each other out but the talks did not progress beyond the very basics.

"[It was] never really close," he said. "We talked on occasion, but we didn't go beyond understanding what options were on the table and they weren't the right ones. "

Hamilton added that the timing of a move to Ferrari did not match his own contract situation.

"Our positions have never aligned, I think timing matters and things happen in the end for a reason. In recent seasons my contract always expired in years different from that of all the other drivers. In the end it went like this."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told the BBC earlier this week that he expects contract negotiations with Hamilton to get underway now that both the constructors' and drivers' championships are secure.