Lewis Hamilton interested to see how Vettel–Leclerc relationship evolves

Hamilton, Leclerc and Vettel

Lewis Hamilton says it will be interesting to watch how the relationship between Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc evolves over the next five races and into the 2020 season, where he expects they'll be fighting at the top with Mercedes.

The relationship between the two wasn't a major issue prior to the summer break as Ferrari weren't in a position to challenge for race wins, however following that break, the Italian outfit has very much been at the front of the field, winning three of the four races since – and ultimately should have scored a 1-2 in Russia had it not been for reliability.

Leclerc has also emerged as the team's number one driver, taking four pole positions in a row and being in contention for all four wins, whilst Vettel has struggled until he rediscovered his form in Singapore where he won for the first time in more than a year.

But their ability to challenge for wins has started to put a strain on their relationship, with Vettel ignoring team orders in Russia to let Leclerc through after the Monegasque driver stuck to a pre-race strategy to give the four-time champion a tow at the start of the grand prix.

Whilst both insist they trust one another, cracks are starting to form and although Hamilton wants Ferrari at their best next year, he's interested to see how the relationship evolves.

"I don't think we [Mercedes] need help," he said of the issues it might cause at Ferrari. "That's not the way that I look at things. We want them to be at their best so we can challenge them at their best and ultimately if we can beat them at their best then it just makes it feel better.

"I think there's been a lot of noise made over the last race. From the outside it looks a certain way.

"I think they are a formidable force and are doing an incredible job at the moment and they are going to be very hard to beat at the remaining races.

"Over these next five races, it will be interesting to see how that relationship evolves."

Asked if he thought it was an advantage or disadvantage of having two top drivers in a team, Hamilton added: "Over the course of history you've seen world champions in the same team and there's always going to be friction in a racing team because you've got this conflicting target.

"There's the team but it's also an individual target between the two drivers. So you are constantly trying to balance that confliction. It's all about trying to find the balance and how it's managed from the top down. It's just about respect and how it's managed.

"Communication is key and there are different philosophy's up and down the paddock. I think probably mostly just between these two teams in particular and over the following years we will see if it works or it doesn't.

"It hasn't worked for a long time over there [at Ferrari] and most likely won't work going forwards either, but that's not bad for us."